Music  |  Lists

8 Great Free Music Festivals

July 11, 2011  |  9:37am

In a down economy, it’s hard to fork out the money to attend huge music festivals with big price tags.

Even artists must spend more time touring to make up for lost album sales. But good news for both groups are the following eight awesome festivals that won’t burn a hole in your pocket.

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8. ComFest – Columbus, Ohio
The Community Festival has been taking over Columbus since 1972. Called a “Party with a Purpose,” the weekend event hosts hundreds of bands and vendors supporting a common theme of acceptance and unity in a non-corporate environment.

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7. The 4Knots Music Festival – New York
New York knows how to do free festivals. The city’s notable free paper, The Village Voice, kicks off its event this week on July 16. The 4Knots festival isn’t the first Voice-supported festival,but this year is the first year it will take over for former Voice-event, The Siren Music Festival. Acts include Titus Andronicus and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

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6. The Creators Project – Brooklyn
A funky, entrepreneurial artist’s haven, The Creators Project holds events all over the world. Last year, they featured an interactive art, film and music show at Milk Studios in New York. Sleigh Bells, Die Antwoord and Interpol were just some of the bands in attendance. The successful N.Y. event launch has spawned another feature in Dumbo, Brooklyn, Oct. 13-16.

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5. Celebrate Brooklyn
The Celebrate Brooklyn free summer concert series holds over 20 arts events each summer. The Brooklyn-based concert series has featured everyone from Animal Collective to Justin Townes Earle.

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4. Chicago Blues Festival
Grant Park isn’t just home to Lollapalooza. It’s also the stomping ground of the world’s largest blues festival. Taking over the center of the city for a few days in early June, the Chicago Blues Festival brings in the key players of blues tunes. Past artists include Bo Diddley and Etta James.

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3. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival – San Francisco
Don’t be fooled by the name. The festival in Golden Gate Park hosts a slew of artists each year not entirely restricted to the roots genre. The previous lineup included Okkervil River, Dr. Dog and Neko Case.

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2. Virgin Mobile FreeFest – Columbia, Md.
Catering to the sonic needs of broke music fans, Virgin Mobile launched their first ever free festival in 2009, held at the acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavilion. Past artists include Girl Talk, The National, Franz Ferdinand, LCD Soundsystem, Ludacris and more. With a limited number of tickets, and a consistently impressive lineup, the festival usually “sells out” in less than 10 minutes. The third annual free fest lineup was just announced, featuring The Black Keys, TV On The Radio, James Murphy and Okkervil River.

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1. The Twilight Concert Series – Salt Lake City, Utah From July 8 – Aug. 26, Salt Lake City’s Pioneer Park hosts a fantastic lineup of independent music each week. This years artists include Bright Eyes, Kurt Vile and No Age.

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