Whether it’s a favorite new CD, an annual outdoor music festival, or the best new electronic gadget to stream MP3s, we fill the long days and clear starry nights of summer with a soundtrack of music that moves us. Add to the mix a couple of books from legendary rock photographers, a museum dedicated solely to a folk singer, and an interactive app celebrating one of the best guitarists to ever strum a six-string and you have Summer 2012. Here’s what you can look forward to.

VIP Experience
Kenny Chesney
courtesy Sony Music
When buying concert tickets, you can go the usual lawn route or even upgrade to basic reserved seating. But once in a while it’s worthwhile to splurge and get the VIP package and the star treatment that comes with it. Both the Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits festivals offer substantial VIP options. For $1,050, you get all days of the festivals, free food, full bar, and massages. Yep, massages.

For one of this summer’s hottest stadium tours, Brothers of the Sun with Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney, you’re going to want the “Never Wanted Nothing More” package offered by Ticketmaster. For the additional charge you get: a super premium reserved
ticket with early admission, premier parking pass, access to the official “pre-game tailgate party” (with full buffet of Kenny’s favorite foods and drinks), Kenny Chesney T-shirt, and a whole lot more.

Concert promoter Live Nation has many different options when you’re thinking about upgrading a ticket for a first-class experience. Depending on the venue and the artist, such VIP packages available for purchase (for the Beach Boys, for instance) include early entry, meet-and-greets with the musicians, access to soundcheck, and exclusive merchandise.

All Access: The Rock ’n’ Roll Photography of Ken Regan
Mick Jagger
© Ken Regan/Camera 5
Acclaimed music photographer Ken Regan lived rock history. He witnessed the Beatles step foot on American soil, was called to go on tour with Mick Jagger as the Rolling Stones crisscrossed the globe, and granted intimate access to Bob Dylan. In the book, his stories are as interesting as his images. Armed with an all-access pass, Regan captured moments like Dylan meeting a young fan named Bruce Springsteen; Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash sharing quiet moments with their families; and the behind-the-stage antics during Woodstock. He’s sweated it out in a gym with Madonna and cruised the streets of Queens with Run DMC, and now he’s sharing those memories and images with you. kenregan.com

The Guitar Collection
In 1949, after escaping a dance hall that was going up in flames, young performer B.B. King rushed back in to retrieve his beloved Gibson guitar that he had left on stage in the chaos. The next day the bluesman learned that a fight between two men over a woman named Lucille had caused the blaze that killed two patrons. Then and there, he named that black Gibson, and every one after, Lucille to remind him never to do something as naïve as run into a burning building or fight over a woman again.

The Guitar Collection: Stories contains a reference to King’s infamous Lucille and many anecdotes behind the guitars that have become culturally important and historically significant in our time. The book is part of a four-piece collection: The Guitar Collection — a limited edition collector’s package that includes The Guitar Collection: An Elite Gathering of 150 Guitars, with more than 670 original photos and expert commentary from the world’s preeminent guitar specialists; The Guitar Collection: Stories, with its behind-the-scenes accounts and knowledge of iconic guitars; and a full-color, museum-quality print of one of three guitars signed by noted photographer John Peden. The collection comes in guitar case-styled packaging. theguitarcollectionbook.com

Legendary Demos, Carole King
Preceded by a rerelease of four classic King albums, Legendary Demos is a collection of tunes that traces the singer’s career from young songwriter in the ’60s to a solo career in the 1970s. The release includes original recordings of “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “It’s Too Late” — demos used to pitch songs to other recording artists. The new release coincides with a new memoir from the hit-maker: A Natural Woman chronicles her career from writer to activist.

Korg MicroPIANO
Unlike rock stars, few of us have our own studio, let alone a spare bedroom to fill with amps and instruments. Luckily there’s the compact Korg MicroPIANO; with 61 keys and built-in speakers, it doesn’t require a lot of space or amplification. In fact, all you need is a small table — or, remarkably, even your lap — and you’re a piano man. korg.com/micropiano

BEOLIT 12
High-end electronics company Bang & Olufsen designs beautifully structured electronics that produce digitally on-point acoustics. This year, B&O launched its newest device just in time for summer: BEOLIT 12 is a portable music system that plays tunes (wirelessly) from your iPod, iPad, iPhone, or Mac computer. beoplay.com