10 Fall Music Events to Cure Your End-of-Summer Blues


Fall may not officially begin until late September, but we all know that summer unofficially ends Labor Day weekend, as temperatures plummet and kids head back to school. It’s an especially sad time for live music fans, with the Coachellas and Bonnaroos and Lollapaloozas but a distant memory. Thankfully, though, there are more incredible autumn audiophile events than you might guess. After the jump, we round up 10 of our favorite upcoming happenings from around the country. Add your suggestions in the comments.

All Tomorrow’s Parties New York

September 3-5; Monticello, NY

No matter what costume you choose to wear, All Tomorrow’s Parties is sure to appease your inner record collector. Now in its third year stateside, this British import does things differently: The three-day fest caters to a comparatively small (~3000) crowd, takes place at Kutsher’s — a charmingly shabby Catskills summer resort complete with pond, creepily dangerous playground, and retro bars galore — and is completely devoid of corporate sponsorship. Each installment features its own high-profile Sunday curator, and 2010’s is art-house hero and downtown legend Jim Jarmusch, whose selections include Sunn0))) and Boris, Fucked Up, Kurt Vile, and various Wu-Tang Clan members. The ATP-selected Saturday line-up, with Sonic Youth, The Breeders, The Books, and more is no slouch, either. Oh, and did we mention Iggy & the Stooges are playing Raw Power on Friday night? We have attended ATP NY every year since its 2008 debut, and we can honestly say its among our favorite events, full of intimate encounters with beloved musicians. Last year, we sat in rapt silence as Bradford Cox played acoustic guitar outdoors for a tiny crowd. We can’t wait to find out what 2010 will bring.

Watch: Boredoms perform Boadrum 9 at ATP NY 2009 (part 1 of 13)

Top photo of The Flaming Lips at ATP NY 2009 via lizstless on Flickr

FYF FEST September 4; Los Angeles, CA

Hungry for an awesome music festival experience but don’t hundreds of dollars to spend? This impolitely named Los Angeles event might be for you. Featuring an indie rocker’s dream line-up of Panda Bear, The Rapture, Sleep, Local Natives, Lower Dens, The Mountain Goats, Ariel Pink, and many more, its $30 entrance fee would be a bargain at twice the price. If that’s not cheap enough for you, FYF FEST is also running a “back-to-school special”: buy four tickets by 5pm Monday, August 30th and get the fifth free.

Watch: Matt & Kim at FYF FEST

Sónar Chicago September 9-11; Chicago, IL

This year, Spain’s top-notch electronic and experimental music festival — which has previously set up camp in Washington and New York — makes its Chicago debut. Oval, Kid Koala, Martin Messier and Nicolas Bernier, and Martyn are some of the boldface names on this progressive line-up. Film screenings, lectures, and a more intimate club night fill out an ambitious weekend-long schedule. If you’re still not sold, maybe you’ll be swayed by the price tag on the Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center events: $0.

Watch: Plastikman at this year’s Barcelona event

Pop Montreal September 29 – October 3; Montreal, Quebec

Make sure you’ve got a valid passport, because one of the fall’s biggest music events takes place north of the border. Montreal’s eight-year-old mega-fest sprawls out over 50 venues, bringing over 400 acts to our favorite French-speaking city in North America, for a week that also includes a film festival, visual art, and a DIY convergence and craft fair called Puces Pop. While Pop Montreal features many more Francophone artists than you’re likely to see in the U.S., there are also plenty of familiar names on the schedule: Holy Fuck, Les Savy Fav, Bear in Heaven, Danielson, Liars, Macy Gray, Shonen Knife, Marnie Stern, and Twin Sister are only a few of the excellent bands set to perform.

Watch: A mini-documentary on Pop Montreal 2006

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival October 1-3; San Francisco, CA

What could be better than a three-day music festival stacked with top acts that will cost you exactly nothing? True to its name, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass may be a roots music mecca, but its 10th anniversary installment is bound to have appeal beyond the bluegrass faithful. The line-up features both outlaw country legend Steve Earle and his talented son Justin Townes Earle, Bonnie Prince Billy, Richard Thompson, Patti Smith, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, Elvis Costello, Emmylou Harris, Jonathan Richman, Exene (as in Cervenka, of X), Jenny & Johnny… need we go on?

Watch: Elvis Costello at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Culture Collide Festival October 7-10; Los Angeles, CA

FILTER magazine’s Culture Collide is a newcomer to the festival scene, bringing four days of music to venues around L.A. and culminating in a Sunday block party. As its name suggests, Culture Collide takes an international focus, with headliners representing the U.S. (Black Lips) and U.K. (Klaxons) and a line-up that includes artists from Spain, Israel, The Netherlands, Scandinavia, Canada, and Poland. Although many acts are still largely unknown to Americans, you’ll surely recognize The Bronx, Phantogram, Tokyo Police Club, and Casiokids.

Watch: Klaxons’ “Echoes” music video

Austin City Limits Music Festival October 8-10; Austin, TX

The eighth annual City Limits Festival, held in Texas’s coolest city, features over 130 bands. Headliners include The Strokes, Muse, and M.I.A., along with dad-rock staple The Eagles and stoner faves Phish. But the savvy music fan should know that a festival is best judged by its opening acts, and City Limits is packed with great ones, from NINJASONIK and The Flaming Lips to The Very Best, LCD Soundsystem, and Beach House. Unfortunately, we’re not the only ones excited for the event: All tickets for the three-day fest are sold out. If you simply must go, you can pay through the nose on Stubhub or make a deal on Craigslist.

Watch: Neko Case at City Limits

The Treasure Island Music Festival October 16-17; San Francisco, CA

Now entering its fourth year, this festival — partially put together by the folks behind SF’s legendary Noise Pop — is a must for Bay Area indie and electronic music fans. 2010’s Best New Music-worthy line-up features LCD Soundsystem, The National, Deadmau5, Belle and Sebastian, Die Antwoord, Kruder & Dorfmeiser, Four Tet and She & Him. Get there early, because some of the best acts (Monotonix, Phantogram) are fairly far down on the bill. An advance two-day pass will run you about $120.

Watch: Dan Deacon at Treasure Island

CMJ Music Marathon October 19-23; New York, NY

Equal parts college radio convention, music fan’s dream week, and industry clusterfuck, this stalwart event has been going strong since 1980 and has helped to launch everyone from R.E.M. to The Arcade Fire. This fall, a staggering 1100 acts will converge on 75 New York venues to rock the boroughs, court the press, and try to land a record deal. While CMJ has yet to spill the beans on this year’s line-up, we know it’s bound to be big. Aside from live music, the event also features daytime panels and a film festival. Even if you don’t shell out for a badge, which could run you anywhere from $275 to $750, it’s a great week to be in New York, with lots of promoters throwing unofficial parties — including your pals at Flavorpill.

Watch: Atlas Sound at CMJ

FunFunFun Fest November 5-7; Austin, TX

For Austin residents who don’t fancy shelling out half their life savings to barter for tickets to sold-out City Limits — and Northerners who will be ready to party down South come November — FunFunFun Fest may be all its title promises. Weekend passes to this eclectic bash, where Devo, Slick Rick, Deerhunter, and Big Freedia will all be making appearances, will run you $75. And if you want to go the kickoff party — featuring one “Weird Al” Yankovic — that’ll be an extra, totally worth it, $30.

Watch: The Jesus Lizard at FunFunFun