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Leafly’s Cannabis Roadmap to the Best Summer Music Festivals in 2016

Published on May 26, 2016 · Last updated July 28, 2020

Spring is in high gear and summer is fast approaching, which means we're about to dive headfirst into one of the greatest times of the year: music festival season! We put together all the best summer music festivals happening from Memorial Day weekend through the first few days of fall, plus some cannabis strains and dispensaries to hit up while you're there. Don't miss this diverse lineup — we skipped over the mainstays like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, and the Governor's Ball in favor of some more unique offerings.

How to Survive Summer's Cannabis-Friendly Music Festivals

Going to be at any of these summer festivals? Keep your eyes peeled for Leafly and come say hello! In the meantime, be sure to stock up on rolling papers, sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and some stylish shades for maximum festival comfort and enjoyment. Now what are you waiting for, click on an event below to find out more about it!

May 27-30: Sasquatch! Music Festival in Washington State

Big Grams at Red Rocks (photo via Julio Enriquez)

Big Grams (photo via Julio Enriquez)

Why we love this festival:Sasquatch takes place at the Gorge Amphitheatre in eastern Washington, and the venue is easily the most breathtaking on this list (and quite possibly the world),. In addition to enjoying the many acts performing at this summer festival, you can also hike nearby and swim in the Columbia River.

Acts we're excited about:M83, Big Grams, Børns, Tacocat

Strain pairing:Monster Cookies are what we imagine Sasquatch eats (and smokes).

Dispensary shout outs:Ellensburg's "cutest rec shop," Cannabis Central, is also the closest to the Gorge Amphitheatre. Its super friendly service is worth the pit stop.

Festival tips:Bring sunscreen, a big hat, and a good canopy for your campsite. The Gorge is located in high desert, so things start heating up as early as 6:30 a.m. If you want to class up your festival, head just south of the campgrounds for a tasting at Cave B Winery, which has air conditioning (a hard-to-find luxury in Washington).

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Event details:Sasquatch

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May 28-30: Movement Detroit in Michigan

Matthew Dear at Oya Festival (photo courtesy of Concert Photos)

Matthew Dear (photo via Concert Photos)

Why we love this festival:Pay tribute to electronic music history and the scene that changed it by checking out the three day Movement Detroit. There are some big hitters on the lineup, but make sure to attend the official after parties to really get the full experience.

Acts we're excited about:Matthew Dear, The Black Madonna, Heidi, Caribou

Strain pairing:Really get your groove on with the Euforia cannabis strain.

Dispensary shout outs:The ever classy Jazz Club is not only music themed, its building is super unique, making it a tourist stop on its own!

Festival tips:While this summer music festival is outside, it isn't a camping festival. Rather, it takes place on the Detroit waterfront, which means you have the opportunity for some urban exploration and as much sightseeing as you can manage. Movement: Detroit has offered up discounts with Metro Cars as well as Uber to get around while you're in town. Also, did you know that as you look across the river while you're cutting a rug, you're staring at Canada? Wave to our friendly northern neighbors!

Event details:Movement Detroit

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May 29-30: Boston Calling in Massachusetts

Courtney Barnett at Rough Trade East (photo via Aurelien Guichard)

Courtney Barnett (photo via Aurelien Guichard)

Why we love this festival:We feel like this festival has been flying under our radars, delivering an east coast sneak attack of amazing headliners. What Boston Calling lacks in underground bands, it makes up for with everyone knowing at least one song by every act on the summer music festival lineup. There's also a large number of ass-kicking female headliners each day — woo hoo!

Acts we're excited about:Courtney Barnett, Robyn, Haim, Battles

Strain pairing:Don't miss the tangy East Coast Sour Diesel cannabis strain.

Festival tips:This day festival prohibits large backpacks, so pack smart and come prepared with our Leafly drawstring bag.

Event details:Boston Calling

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June 4: Roots Picnic in Philadelphia, PA

The Roots at Panamania (photo via Tibor Kovacs)

The Roots (photo via Tibor Kovacs)

Why we love this festival:The Roots Picnic is basically exactly what it sounds like: the Roots get together a bunch of really amazing musician friends (like Usher) and play one of the best summer music festivals. Talk about some hometown love!

Acts we're excited about:The Roots (obviously), Leon Bridges, Ibeyi, Blood Orange

Strain pairing:The Flo cannabis strain will help get the good vibes, well, flo-ing.

Festival tips:This is where we don't offer advice on the best Philly cheese steak, since there is no unanimous decision on that topic. Sorry if that was the tip you wanted.

Event details:The Roots Picnic

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June 17-20: What the Festival in Dufur, OR

Claude VonStroke (photo via Keisuke Shingu)

Claude VonStroke (photo via Keisuke Shingu)

Why we love this festival:If you like Burning Man but prefer less dust and more budding SoundCloud artists, What the Festival is for you. Enjoy the magic in the woods of central Oregon with the best summer festival for spash parties and lots of delightful food choices. If you're coming from Portland or Seattle, hop on a Wolf Runner bus and find some camping friends before you even arrive!

Acts we're excited about:Claude VonStroke, FKJ, Motez, Pomo

Strain pairing:The Dance World cannabis strain will get your legs moving.

Dispensary shout outs:Make a quick stop in Hood River at Gorge Greenery and be sure to enjoy the scenery.

Festival tips:Be ready to enjoy nature, eating, and moving around. Don't bother doing a pre-fest grocery store run — there are at least 23 food vendors offering everything from kombucha to poutine to a solar-powered shaved ice vendor. Also, take the capoeira class (it's free!) and bust out your new dance-fighting moves on the dance floor later (just don't actually fight anyone).

Event details:What the Festival

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July 6-10: Taste of Chicago in Illinois

Elle King (photo via Bruce)

Elle King (photo via Bruce)

Why we love this festival:Music and food are some of our favorite things, and both are in abundance at the Taste of Chicago. This isn't your average "Taste" event, as it features a killer lineup and the iconic Chicago food scene. Rumor has it you can even get chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick!

Acts we're excited about:Elle King, The Decemberists, The Isley Brothers

Strain pairing:Fill both your lungs and tummies with Cherry Pie while you rep a Leafly Cherry Pie cannabis strain tee.

Dispensary shout outs:Dispensary 33 is a intensely beautiful location that provides all the medical info you'll need.

Festival tips:Come hungry. The fare is the best for this summer festival, with food trucks and pop up restaurants in addition to amazing tunes. For $45, you can attend a three-course celebrity chef dinner. That's basically free compared to what you'll pay in Vegas for the same thing.

Event details: Taste of Chicago

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July 15-17: Northern Nights in Garberville, CA

Gorgon City (photo via Steven Pisano)

Gorgon City (photo via Steven Pisano)

Why we love this festival:When given the option, we prefer to enjoy music while also floating along a lazy river, so Northern Nights’ river stage is one of the best summer festival stages in existence. Better yet, become one with some of the highest beings of all while camping among the redwood trees of northern California.

Acts we're excited about: GRiZ, The Knocks, Dawn Richard, Gorgon City, NoMBe

Strain pairing:Get down with the GRiZ Kush cannabis strain.

Dispensary shout outs:This fest is in the middle of the forest, so make sure to come prepared. Coming from the north? Arcata’s The Heart of Humboldt has a fantastic and knowledgeable staff. Heading up from the south or east? Check out NorCal Med2You in Chico for your medical needs.

Festival tips:Don't forget some floaties! We recommend you and your camping buddies get a bunch of blow up pizza slices for a floating pizza party. You'll make friends, we promise.

Event details:Northern Nights

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July 22-24: Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle, WA

MØ performing (photo taken by Morten Jensen)

MØ (photo via Morten Jensen)

Why we love this festival:This festival takes over one of the busiest spots in Seattle. The urban outdoor festival gives you access to restaurants, tattoo parlors, bars, and clothing stores all while inside the festival. Get your crew together, get some cheap hot dog tattoos, and enjoy some tunes.

Acts we’re excited about:NAO, CHVRCHES, MØ

Strain pairing:Have a great time with some uplifting Seattle Cough.  

Dispensary shout out:Hit up Ruckus, the only rec shop technically in the neighborhood. It may be small but it packs a great selection!  

Festival tips:This festival packs a lot of people into a small area, so leave your large backpacks at home – you’ll just piss off your fellow concert goers as you slam them with your bag while dancing your face off to many of the great acts on the lineup.

Event details:Capitol Hill Block Party

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July 22-24: Divide Music Festival in Winter Park, CO

Cold War Kids (photo taken by Nan Palmero)

Cold War Kids (photo via Nan Palmero)

What we love about this festival: Divide is a new music festival with a seriously fun and eclectic lineup happening at an off-season ski resort.

Acts we’re excited about: Saint Motel, Blondie, Cold War Kids

Strain pairing: Treat yourself to some deliciously fruity Rocky Mountain Blueberry.

Dispensary shout out: One of the big last stops out of town, make sure to hit up LivWell Lakewood on your way to the festival.

Festival tips: Bring lots of sunscreen – you’re up in the mountains, putting you and the sun really close together. Also, enjoy some extra adventures like hiking, zip-lining, fishing, yoga, and mountain biking.

Event details:Divide Music Festival

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July 22-24: Panorama Festival in Randall's Island, NY

LCD Soundsystem (photo via Emanuele Rosso)

LCD Soundsystem (photo via Emanuele Rosso)

Why we love this festival:Taking place on the same grounds as the Governor's Ball, this will be the inaugural Panorama Music Art & Technology Festival. The Coachella-does-the-east-coast summer festival is zeroing in on the tech scene, so there will be no shortage of great interactive art and fun festival gadgets.

Acts we're excited about:LCD Soundsystem, Holy Ghost!, FKA Twigs, AURORA

Strain pairing:The NYC Diesel cannabis strain tastes like taxis smell.

Festival tips:First-year fests are always a gamble, but we have faith in this one thanks to its festival parents (the same folks behind Coachella). Be prepared for some hiccups and come with some patience, an open mind, and a good attitude.

Event details:Panorama Festival

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August 5-7: Arise Music Festival in Loveland, CO

Ziggy Marley and his band (photo via Bruce Tuten)

Ziggy Marley (photo via Bruce Tuten)

Why we love this festival:Arise, which proclaimed itself to be "Colorado's Best Music Festival," is the only one on the list that's serving up reggae, hip hop, and electronic music on the same bill. Plus, trying saying Punchy Drunk Munky Funk three times fast.

Acts we're excited about:Jurassic 5, Del the Funky Homosapien, Dirtwire, Ziggy Marley

Strain pairing:The Lamb's Bread cannabis strain will get you in touch with your roots.

Dispensary shout outs:If you're coming from Denver, stop by the Native Roots in Longmont on your way out of town. The wait will likely be shorter, and you're still guaranteed high-quality service. If you're coming in from the north, hit up Organic Alternatives in Ft. Collins, which also happens to be sponsoring the cannabis-friendly summer festival!

Festival tips:Remember, Colorado summers aren't exactly known for having "predictable" weather, so make sure you pack a good rain jacket if there is even the slightest chance in the forecast (and maybe even if there isn't).

Event details:Arise Music Festival

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August 6: Time Festival in Toronto, ON, Canada

Run the Jewels (photo via Treefort Music Fest)

Run the Jewels (photo via Treefort Music Fest)

Why we love this festival:Even though the Time Festival is only a day long, it packs quite a lineup.

Acts we're excited about:Run the Jewels, TOKiMONSTA, Kehlani

Strain pairings:You'll forget to stop dancing with the Timewreck cannabis strain, a perfect pairing for this short but sweet summer festival.

Dispensary shout outs:Hit up Toronto's only female-owned dispensary Queens of Cannabis.

Festival tips:The Toronto fashion scene is fantastic, so don't think that people are going to dress down for an all day event. Accessorize with some phenomenal Jane West jewelry, or check out our Leafly gear.

Event details:Time Festival

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August 26-28: MusicFestNW Presents Project Pabst in Portland, OR

Ice Cube (photo via Eva Rinaldi)

Ice Cube (photo via Eva Rinaldi)

Why we love this festival:We like to keep it simple, so no longer having to choose between the two best summer festivals in downtown Portland is a big plus. With their powers combined, MusicFestNW and Project Pabst have booked what might be the most eclectic lineup of the summer.

Acts we're excited about:It's the only fest on the list where you can see Duran Duran, Ice Cube, and Andrew WK in the same place. Talk about eclectic!

Strain pairings:Make sure to smell like you belong in Portland courtesy of some Oregon Diesel cannabis.

Dispensary shout outs:Visit our friends at Bridge City Collective's southeast Portland location — they're wicked friendly and are just across the river from the festival grounds.

Festival tips: Make sure to buy your Night Show tickets early! You don't need to be a festival ticket holder to get access to tickets, and some of the showcases are really cool. We'd hate for you to miss out on someone like David Bazan or Digable Planets.

Event details:MusicFestNW Presents Project Pabst

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September 30-October 2: Austin City Limits in Texas

Bomba Estereo (photo via Clement Caron)

Bomba Estereo (photo via Clement Caron)

Why we love this festival:It gets a gold star for featuring the best lineup on the list. While Austin City Limits does the two weekend summer festival thing, it does vary slightly by weekend and feels like a more sincere outreach to bring great music to the residents of Austin. They don't call it the live music capital of the world for nothin'!

Acts we're excited about:Bomba Estereo, Die Antwoord, Foals, and, of course Willie Nelson

Strain pairings:Show Willie Nelson some respect (the cannabis strain, although our advice extends to the legendary musician as well).

Festival tips:Buy your tickets sooner rather than later, as it's bound to be a completely sold-out fest. Seriously. Also, do more to support the Austin community and peruse the wares at the Art Market. You can also hit up Hatbox: A Modern Haberdashery and get a new festival hat for next year!

Event details:Austin City Limits

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Leafly Staff
Leafly Staff
Leafly is the world’s largest cannabis information resource, empowering people in legal cannabis markets to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs. Our team of cannabis professionals collectively share years of experience in all corners of the market, from growing and retail, to science and medicine, to data and technology.
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