When Wayne Rouse launched Country Stampede in Manhattan in 1996, most people were used to going to a concert, seeing an opening act and one headliner perform, then going home.
“When we first did it, it was still a fairly unique concept: hang out with friends, go to concerts all day, have fun camping and then get up the next day and do it all again,” said the founder of what is likely the largest music festival in Kansas. “Now music festivals have become more of a lifestyle. People who have gone to a festival like this get hooked on it and go to at least one every year.”
More than 32 million people will attend at least one music festival this year, and the average festival-goer travels 903 miles to attend a festival, according to a Nielsen Music study.
This summer, music fans will find thousands of music festivals to choose from: in urban settings or remote locations, some focusing on one genre and others offering something for every taste, and with ticket prices ranging from free to several hundred dollars per ticket, even reaching thousands for VIP options.
The 22nd annual Kicker Country Stampede is June 22-24 at Tuttle Creek State Park north of Manhattan. Grouse, still the president and general manager of the festival, expects about 90,000 people over three days, including nearly 15,000 who will stay on-site in tents or RVs at one of four camp areas (general, family, platinum and premier).
Chris Stapleton, Alan Jackson and Thomas Rhett will each headline one day and will be joined by other well-known country acts; a total of 50 different acts will perform on the festival’s four stages. One-day ($89) and three-day ($150) general admission passes are on sale at countrystampede.com and by calling 800-795-8091. Primitive campsites are an additional fee (starting at $150, depending on how close to the main stage you want to camp) and often sell out. There also are reserved seating and VIP passes available.
Two new music-camping festivals are debuting this summer: Dam Music Festival (July 28-29) at El Dorado Lake and Wichita Vortex Urban Camping and Music Festival (Aug. 4-5) on the grounds of the Mid-America All-Indian Center.
If you’re willing to travel Nielsen’s average distance, Kansans can reach two of the country’s largest and most well-known summer music festivals: Bonnaroo, June 8-11 on a farm in Tennessee, and Lollapalpooza, Aug. 3-6 in downtown Chicago.
If you want to stay closer to home, we’ve rounded up additional options in Kansas and the surrounding states.
2017 summer music festivals
May 31-June 3, Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival, Sedalia, Mo.: 2017 headliners include Ed Berlin, David Reffkin and David Thomas Roberts. scottjoplin.org
June 1-3, Rock N’ Country Festival, Winfield: 2017 headliners include Kelly Blue Band, Two Way Crossing, Sam Grow Paramount, The Banned. rockncountryfest.com
June 1-4, Riverfest, Little Rock, Ark.: 2017 headliners include Wiz Khalifa, Justin Moore and Cage the Elephant. riverfestarkansas.com
June 2-3,Old-Time Music Ozark Heritage Festival, West Plains, Mo.: 2017 headliners include Junior Brown and The Colbert Brothers. oldtimemusic.org
June 3, Rockfest Kansas City, Kansas City, Kan.: 2017 headliners include Godsmack, Sammy Hagar and Volbeat. rockfestkc.com
June 8-11, Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa: 2017 headliners include World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Shades of Blue USAF Jazz Band, Lady Luck Trio, Blue Beginners. glennmiller.org
June 10, Cow Creek Bluegrass Festival, Pittsburg, Kan.: 2017 bands include Fiddle & Banjo, Frosty Morning Trio, The Workman Bluegrass Band , Pork Rind Brothers, Southern Tradition Bluegrass Band, Signal Ridge and Borderline Bluegrass. cowcreekbluegrassfestival.com
June 15-17, G Fest Muskogee, Muskogee, Okla.: 2017 headliners include Needtobreathe, Blackberry Smoke and Creedence Clearwater revisited. gfestmuskogee.com
June 15-18, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, Colo.: 2017 headliners include Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley with The Travelin’ McCourys and Brandi Carlile. bluegrass.com/telluride
June 15-18, Colorado Country Jam, Grand Junction, Colo.: 2017 headliners include Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean. countryjam.com
June 16-17, Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival, Raymond, Neb.: 2017 headliners include Aaron Lee Tasjan, The Cactus Blossoms, The Railsplitters, Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery. nebraskafolkandroots.com
June 16-17, Bands in the Backyard, Vineland, Colo.: 2017 headliners include Billy Currington and Thomas Rhett. bandsinthebackyard.com
June 22-24, Country Stampede, Manhattan: 2017 headliners include Chris Stapleton, Alan Jackson and Thomas Rhett. countrystampede.com
June 29-July 2, Highberry Music Festival, Eureka Springs, Ark.: 2017 headliners include The Floozies, Dark Star Orchestra, Funky Meters and Dopapod. highberryfestival.com
June 29-July 1 and Sept. 14-16, Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festivals, Conway, Mo.: 2017 headliners include Lonesome River Band, the Gibson Brothers, the Bluegrass Martins, the Grascals and Little Roy & Lizzy. starvycreek.com
July 1, Saturday in the Park, Sioux City, Iowa: 2017 headliners include Joss Stone, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue and The Revivalists. saturdayinthepark.com
July 7-8, 80/35 Indie Music Festival, Des Moines: 2017 headliners include The Shins, MGMT, Action Bronson, Elephant Revival. 80-35.com
July 8-9, The Ride Festival, Telluride, Colo.: 2017 headliners include Beck and Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals. ridefestival.com
July 27-30, Underground Music Showcase, Denver: premier indie festival with 400-plus acts. theums.com
July 28-29, Dam Music Festival, El Dorado: 2017 headliners include Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd, Gretchen Wilson and Bobby Bones & The Raging Idiots. dammusicfest.com
July 28-29, Tumbleweed Outlaw Country Music Festival, Sugar Creek, Mo.: 2017 headliners include Jamey Johnson and Cody Jinks. tumbleweedcountry.com
Aug. 4-5, Wichita Vortex Music Festival, Wichita: 2017 headliner is Dwight Yoakam. wichitavortexfest.com
Aug. 4-5, Hinterland, St. Charles, Iowa: 2017 headliners include alt-J, Ryan Adams, Gary Clark Jr. and The Head and the Heart. hinterlandiowa.com
Aug. 19, Southwest Country Fest, Hardtner: 2017 headliners include Joe Diffie and Stoney LaRue. southwestcountryfest.com
Aug. 19, Maha Music Festival, Omaha: 2017 headliners include Run the Jewels and Belle and Sebastian. mahamusicfestival.com