Every March, a 23-block-long mass street baile on Calle Ocho, the city's main Latino thoroughfare, is fueled by such an overload of Latin music - from meringues to boleros, salsa to good ol' rock en español - it might as well change its name to La Bomba.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Four years young and already dubbed the American Festival of Rock, this four-day event, held each June on a 700-acre farm, is jam-band heaven, pulling in 90,000 fans despite a no-advertising policy. Dave Matthews Band and Widespread Panic top the bill with Joss Stone, Ozomatli, and Modest Mouse among the undercards.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The big daddy of modern festivals is a 10-day feast of homegrown heroes (Fats, the Neville Brothers, Branford Marsalis and Ellis Marsalis) spiked with a tasty representation of nonnatives (Isaac Hayes, 50 Cent, Eric Clapton) poured onto 12 stages scattered around the infield of the Fair Grounds Race Course. Small wonder 500,000 fans from around the world make the annual pilgrimage each April.
Austin City Limits Music Festival
A local tradition after just four years, this fall fest features three days of roots rock and countrified rhythms on eight outdoor stages. The acts reflect the kind of fare (Ben Harper, Los Lobos) presented on the PBS series of the same name.
The World's Largest Music Festival, as it says right there in the Guinness Book of World Records, the Big Gig takes over a picturesque 75 acres of festival grounds on Milwaukee's scenic lakefront. The 11-day blowout spotlights everyone from pop stars to polka maestros - whoever's touring tries to route through Milwaukee in July.
A four-day bounty of pop, rock, country, Latino, hip-hop, reggae, roots, classical, ethnic, and opera make for a sublime goodbye to summer each Labor Day weekend. The weather's great, the setting (Puget Sound with Mount Rainier in the background) is gorgeous, and the entertainment is top-shelf (2004 headliners included Nas, Liz Phair, and Bo Diddley).
Chicago Blues Festival
In June, this Grant Park legend pulls upwards of 750,000 fans downtown to witness the biggest annual reunion of Chicago's storied blues players (as well as blues talent from outside of Chicago).
Smithsonian Folklife Festival
This two-week extravaganza on the National Mall each June and July celebrates contemporary American musical traditions and the foreign influences that flavor them.