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Summer officially begins next week. Leave town. It’s hot here and there’s always track work on the weekends and it’s not that difficult to find a way out. Go. Go to a music festival or Renn Fest or testicle fest or bats under a bridge fest or rib fest. Whether you’re looking to damage your hearing, your weight, your self-esteem or just really want an entire month of spa treatments, we’ve found your reason to leave DC.


Firefly Music Festival – Delaware, June 19-22, $49-699

Launched in 2012, Firefly bills itself as the East Coast’s premier music festival. And with acts like Foo Fighters, Outkast, and Jack Johnson headlining, who’s to say it’s not? 95 bands are booked for 2014, so there should be something for just about everyone. Held in Dover, Delaware, Firefly is a manageable 2 hour drive from DC – by far the closest festival of this caliber. Tickets can get pricey – especially if you plan on staying all weekend – but day passes can be had for about $100 or less. If the lineup doesn’t sell you, the rest of the festival’s vibe should. Firefly teams up with Delaware locals Dogfish Head Brewery to quench your festival thirst (there’s even a Firefly specific micro-brew). And when you factor in an arcade tent and wine bar, it’s not a bad day for around $100. Check out the full lineup here, preview the schedule here, and grab your tickets here. -Trent Burns


Mermaid Parade – Coney Island, June 21, free admission

Why should you wear a suffocating plastic costume and march around in that notoriously scorching NYC heat? The answer is five words: young de Blasios in swimwear. Dante and Chiara de Blasio, formerly the children of the mayor and now King Neptune and Queen Mermaid, will be the face for the annual Mermaid Parade. -Heidi Zheng


RC-Moon Pie Festival – Bell Buckle, Tennessee, June 21, free admission

Reminiscent of the good ol’ days that you hadn’t been born to witness? Come down to Bell Buckle, Tennessee, where the first fast food meal – RC cola and moon pies – was invented. Join the King and Queen of Moon Pie Kingdom for a 10-mile fun run, then loads of games, food booths, country music, and synchronized wading, a tongue-in-cheek musical skit performed in a wading pool. -Heidi Zheng

Lavender Festival Lite – Fairfield, Pennsylvania, June 21-22

This is a festival devoted entirely to lavender, lavender fields as far as the eye can see. And since lavender is supposedly such a relaxing scent I assume the bulk of this will involve laying down and taking a delicious nap. – Jenn Tisdale

NYC Pride Week — June 24th-June 29th

If you missed DC’s Pride Week, or just can’t get enough, head on up to New York and check out one of the nations largest LGBT pride events. There’s a rally, a march, a family night, and dance parties for days. Many events are free, like the family friendly outdoor movie screening on Pier 46 and the ever-powerful march from 36th street/5th avenue to Christopher/Greenwich Streets (major LGBT history right there). Other events, like the dance part on pier 26 or the VIP Rooftop Party (because the only thing better than partying is partying on a rooftop), will cost you. Getting to New York from DC is easy. Check out the schedule of events here. -Trent Burns


Summerfest – Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 25th-July 6, $11-$42

I saw my first concert at Summerfest in 1997. Kids in 2014 will see their first concert on the shores of Lake Michigan in the great city of Milwaukee in the great state of Wisconsin. Neon Trees, Arctic Monkeys, Lady Gaga, Tegan and Sara, Girl Talk, and a lot of acts you’ll find at horrible state fairs will perform. Lots of nice people, lots of food that will take multiple years off your lifespan. -Brandon Wetherbee


San Francisco Pride Celebration – June 28th-29th

The largest Pride celebration in the U.S., the San Francisco Pride Celebration features 200 parade contingents, 20 stages, and 300 exhibitors. The parade is on June 29th, with Ross Mathews and Janet Mock as the celebrity grand marshals. -Sarah Guan


Flying Dog Summer Series – June 28, July 19, August 23, September 27

Perfect for the indie/country/blues rock fan that doesn’t really want to go very far. The Frederick, Maryland brewery puts on outdoor summer shows every year and they’re much, much better than any of the free but closer outdoor shows. Highlights this year include Lucero on July 19 and J Roddy Walston and the Business on August 23.



National Tom Sawyer Days – Hannibal, Missouri, July 3-5, free admission

America is turning 238 but is still young at heart. And there is no better way to celebrate Independence Day in the spirit of the most famous American boy right in the American heartland. The childhood home to Mark Twain, Hannibal, MO will be hosting a Tom Sawyer-themed festival, featuring fence painting and frog jumping contests and live music. -Heidi Zheng

Roswell UFO Festival – Roswell, New Mexico, July 3-6, free admission

Covert things had always happened in New Mexico long before Breaking Bad. In 1947, a flying disk was allegedly crashed then recovered by the Roswell Army Air Field. Since then, the town became the UFO-central of the US. During the four-day festival, there will be family friendly events such as the Alien Chase run/walk, costume contests for kids (with cash prizes!), as well as rocket building and a light parade. -Heidi Zheng


Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest – New York, July 4

If you want to watch skinny people eat a ridiculous amount of hot dogs then this is the event for you. It is held annually on Coney Island – and shown nationally on ESPN2. You can enjoy entertainment prior to the competition. -Sarah Guan


Lincoln Center Festival — New York City, July 7th-August 16th

If you like theater and dance you should go to this. Focusing on acts from all around the world, you can see Kabuki theater, the Bolshoi ballet, and works choreographed by celebrated contemporary dance choreographer Anne Teresa De Keermaeker. -Sarah Guan

Taste of Chicago – Chicago, July 9-13

Food, music, and more food. Taste of Chicago features five days of food in Grant Park. You can eat at food trucks, and pop-up restaurants. If you are feeling a bit fancier you can also enjoy a sit-down, multiple course meal for $45. There is also music, with performances by AWOLNATION, Janelle Monáe, Jeff Tweedy, The Wailers, and others. -Sarah Guan


Windy City Smokeout – Chicago, July 11-13, tickets $25-$300

There’s no real need to go to this but if you happen to be in Chicago for Taste of Chicago and/or the Chicago Comedy Exposition, it’s an excuse to eat smoked meat outdoors. Every weekend in Chicago is an excuse to eat smoked meat outdoors. -Brandon Wetherbee

Chicago Comedy Exposition – Chicago, July 11-13, shows prices vary from free to $20

AKA Bentzen Ball 2016. The 3 day festival features 50+ stand ups from across the country. All of them good, most of them not very club friendly, which means you’ll most likely like them. Headliners Andy Kindler, Aparna Nancherla and Brooks Wheelan give you a good idea the style of the fest. Most of the lineup will probably end up at future Bentzen Balls. Full disclosure, I’m performing on the festival and BYT has written about 10+ comics on the festival. -Brandon Wetherbee

The Hudson Project 2014 — Saugerties, New York, July 11th-13th, $225

Summer is the time for music festivals. With a lot of the major festivals already sold out, it is the perfect time to check out all the other festivals. The Hudson Project is headlined by Kendrik Lamar, Bassnector, The Flaming Lips, and Modest Mouse. There are four stages and 85 bands. Also, you can check out the interactive art installations, carnival rides, and workshops when you need a break from the music. -Sarah Guan


The Wayne Chicken Show – Wayne, Nebraska, July 11-13, free admission

Move over, Duck Dynasty, it’s chicken time. Why? According to the Wayne Chamber of Commerce, proud sponsor of this annual event, chickens “can be considered with humor.” (Louis C.K. concurs.) That, and they are pretty tasty. So come grab a bite and catch some costume shows. Go here to see the schedule, history and some killer vids from the past years. -Heidi Zheng

Just for Laughs – Montreal, July 12th – July 26th, $99-$199

Just for Laughs is the biggest international comedy festival in the world. Seth Rogen, Andy Samberg, Russell Peters, Don Rickles, Amy Shumer, and Jim Gaffigan, are all hosting galas. There are also themed shows, club shows, and various other events to go to during the festival. -Sarah Guan

Lower Keys Underwater Music Festival – Pine Key, Florida, July 12-19, $10 if reserved by July 9and  $15 at the door

Torn between lying to the beach and moshing at a gig? This Florida underwater music festival would be your best bet before Newport Jazz Fes. Beside a visually supplemented performance by local artist August Powers, you can also snorkel, scuba, or rent out a boat to explore our nation’s only living coral barrier reef. Check out more pointers about the town here. -Heidi Zheng

PCC Natural Markets Seafair Milk Carton Derby – July 12, Seattle, Washington, July 12, $250 for groups and commercial entries, free admission for the rest

Trapped on the not-best coast and won’t make it to Florida? Fear not, there will be some on-water action for you happening on the exact same day. Families, military members, and companies will compete on homemade milk carton watercrafts in the Green Lake Park. More information on the entry categories and prizes can be found here. -Heidi Zheng

The Joy of Sake – Honolulu, Hawaii, July 18, $95

If you needed another reason to visit Hawaii how about sake tasting? -Sarah Guan

Pitchfork Music Festival — Chicago, July 18-20, $60-130

The best outdoor music festival in the U.S. No camping, no $100+ per day tickets, no massive crowds. A 18,000 attendance cap, excellent, affordable craft beers, located in a city in a central location with solid public transportation and a great mix of bands BYT loves (Deafheaven, Sharon Van Etten, Twin Peaks) and bands everyone has loved for over a decade (Beck, Neutral Milk Hotel). Also, a chance to see St. Vincent should never be denied. -Brandon Wetherbee


Artscape 2014 – Baltimore, July 16th-20th

Just a quick trip out of D.C., Artscape is America’s largest free art festival. It takes over 13 blocks of Baltimore and features at least 150 artists, fashion designers, and craftspeople. You can watch live music, participate in dance parties, and enjoy performances. -Sarah Guan


Merge Records Fest – Durham and Carrboro, NC, July 23rd-26th, $35-$65

Merge Records is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Thursday and Friday shows are sold out. However, you can still see Mount Moriah and William Tyler in Durham, NC on the 23rd. Or you can enjoy the outdoor party on the 26th featuring performances by Neutral Milk Hotel, Caribou, Teenage Fanclub, and more. -Sarah Guan


Lumberjack World Championships – Hayward, Wisconsin, July 24th-26th, $18-$63

It’s an international lumberjack competition. Do I need to say more? -Sarah Guan

36th Annual Garlic Festival – Gilroy, Ca, July 25-27, $18-$20

If you have an affinity for garlic then you really should check this festival out. You can get garlic fries, garlic bread, calamari, stuffed mushrooms, and tons of other food cooked with garlic. Also, you can get free garlic ice cream. If you don’t like garlic and still want to go to the festival they have garlic-free foods too. -Sarah Guan

Maine Lobster Festival – Rockland, Maine, July 30-August 3, $5-$30

If you prefer lobster over garlic then you should head to Maine. During the festival you have a chance to eat over 20,000 pounds of lobster, along with shrimp, mussels, and clams. Watch the international crate race or the parade as you eat. There is also live music, headlined by Johnny Winter. -Sarah Guan


Testy Festy – Clinton, Montana, July 30-August 3, $17 general admission

Hey there, male interns on the Hill, what is it that Hillary Clinton has and you don’t? Balls. Clinton has tons of balls, like, literally. Every summer, this testicle festival is one hella feast of dishes made out of bull testicles, affectionately known as “Rocky Mountain oysters.” Other ballsy events include a wet T-shirt contest and underwear-only tricycle racing. -Heidi Zheng

Miami Spa Month — Miami, July 1st-August 31st, $99 deals at premier Miami spas

The Miami Spa Month actually takes place over two months so you have ample opportunity to take advantage of fancy spa treatments. Because after a night of partying why not spend the day getting pampered? -Sarah Guan


Musikfest – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, August 1-10, free w/ prices varying for headlining acts

If you want to go to a music festival but don’t want to pay a ridiculous amount of money then you should head to Musikfest. It is free(ish). You can see Weezer, Sheryl Crow, Keith Urban, the Avett Brothers, the All-American Rejects, ZZ Top, and more. Those shows are not free though. But you can see a lot of other, local artists for free! -Sarah Guan


Newport Jazz Festival – Newport, Rhode Island, August 1-3, $40-$350

The Newport Jazz Festival is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Check out the first day to see emerging artists. Check out the other two days for artists like Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Bobby McFerrin, and David Sanborn. -Sarah Guan

Lollapalooza – Chicago, August 1-3, $3,600 (cheaper tickets are sold out)

Don’t pay for this festival. Someone you know has an in. My friend got me in one of the cabana side view VIP blah blah blah when Pearl Jam headlined and I sang along to ALL OF THE PEARL JAM SONGS except the stuff on Ten and screamed during all the Ten songs about how Ten is overrated. There was free alcohol. -Brandon Wetherbee

Osheaga – Montreal, August 1-3, $250

So this seems to be the only festival where you can still get cheap(ish) passes. The lineup looks great (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, OutKast, Lorde). It’s sponsored by Virgin Mobile (cool?). And Montreal is really nice in the summer. You can actually visit without freezing your ass off. Plus you will be in a different country. So that’s an adventure (just pretend that going to Canada is a big deal). -Sarah Guan


Festival of Fools – Burlington, Vermont, August 1-3, free admission

Stop fooling yourself and embrace your inner goop, sorry I meant goof in Burlington, Vermont, where you can have tons of laughs at annual street theater festival. Programs include circus arts, block party, film screening, and all sorts of silly stuff. -Heidi Zheng

Rhode Island International Film Festival – Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, August 5th-10th, $15-$250

If you are a film buff you want to check this festival out. You can see the U.S. and World premieres of numerous films, network with filmmakers and those in the industry, and attend workshops. -Sarah Guan

The 127 Sale – August 7-10

The world’s longest yard sale. It stretches 690 miles, from Addison, Michigan to Gadsden, Alabama. Make a road trip out of it, enjoy the countryside views, and be overwhelmed. -Sarah Guan

New York International Fringe Festival — New York, August 8th-August 24th, $18-$24 for individual shows, $85-$500 for passes

If you couldn’t get enough of the D.C. Fringe Festival you can head up to New York City to attended the largest Fringe Festival in North America. Watch over 200 companies perform over the span of 16 days across 20 venues. That’s about 1,200 performances. If you are bored at this event you should be ashamed of yourself. -Sarah Guan

The National Lentil Festival – August 22-23, Pullman, Washington, free admission

Having chugged down so many beers and all sorts of grilled meats, you might be considering a super food cleanse to wrap up the summer (and the 5 newly gained pounds). May we suggest lentils, then? Beside tons of lentil dishes for all three meals and all palates, there will also be, of course, fun runs and rides. -Heidi Zheng

Bat Fest 2014 – Austin, Texas, August 23, $10

You can see almost 1.5 million bats fly off into the night at this festival in Austin. In celebration of this annual event, the city hosts live shows , arts and crafts vendors, food, a bat costume contest, and other bat-related activities. -Sarah Guan


Maryland Renaissance Festival – Crowsnville, Maryland, August 23rd – October 19th

Every weekend for 8 weeks Crownsville, MD becomes the most MAGICAL PLACE IN THE WORLD. Get on ye old horse and head down to the Maryland Renaissance Festival for some questionable giant turkey legs,  jousting (Maryland’s state sport), and of course that 16th century fried mac n’ cheese. If you’re lucky you’ll actually go back in time, not to the 1500’s but to 1994, and see a 14 year-old me manning the milk and cookies booth. Dear God it’s glorious! – Jenn Tisdale


U.S Open Tennis — New York City, August 25th-September 8th, single match tickets starting at $70

If you have any interest in tennis then you have to be at the U.S. Open. Watch all the biggest stars of tennis play in New York City and enjoy the spectacle. -Sarah Guan

Burning Man – Black Rock Desert, Nevada, August 25th-September 1, $380

Possibly the World’s largest counterculture festival, during Burning Man 50,000+ people flock to the Nevada desert to form a community dedicated to art, self-expression, and self-reliance. -Sarah Guan

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race — Atlanta Motor Speedway, August 31st, $22.25-$103.75

If you enjoy cars going in circles really fast then you should head down to Atlanta and see this race. Tickets start at $22.25. Make the most of it and go camping before the race. -Sarah Guan