Top Four Labor Day Weekend Music Festivals

Top Four Labor Day Weekend Music Festivals

Labor Day weekend is the perennial harbinger of fall and for many a last gasp chance for a weekend summer getaway. As the unofficial culmination of summer, skip the boring barbeques and say goodbye to the warm weather and sunshine at one of the country’s best weekend music festivals. You don’t have to sleep in a tent and sit in the grass to enjoy these celebrations of summer – rent a vacation home for your base camp, and pick up the essential kit at your destination.

1.    Bumbershoot (Seattle) – The Largest Urban Arts Festival in America, Bumbershoot is a celebration of music, film, theatre, dance, comedy, performance, and visual arts. Derived from the British colloquial word for umbrella, the festival name is a soft reminder of that soggy Seattle weather.  It takes place in the heart of the city at the Seattle Center beneath the famed space needle.  This year’s headliners include Ray Lamontagne and rock legends Hall & Oates. Set yourself up in a Seattle apartment rental, and green by renting a bike in town – the venue is easily accessible by bicycle from Seattle’s many great neighborhoods. When you’re not listening to music or watching a performance, make sure to check out the Indie Market equipped with anything from homemade soap to metal sculptures.

2.    Verizon American Music Festival (Virginia Beach)Virginia Beach’s Labor Day weekend means an influx of the sounds of rock, blues, country, and R&B.  The festival has multiple performances simultaneously on different smaller stages along the beautiful waterfront where many local artists perform. It also boasts the grand 60-foot wide and 60-foot high main stage on the beach at 5th street.  This year’s Main Stage Performers are Stone Temple Pilots, ZZ Top, and “Rock of Love Star” himself, Bret Michaels. You can stay near the action with the whole family in a Virginia Beach House.  The music won’t start until the sun goes down, so grab your beach supplies and enjoy a day on one of the most beautiful east coast beaches.

3.    Chicago Jazz Festival – If you’re a jazz lover, then make your way to Chicago for this free, four-day celebration of music, and explore the different sounds of Bebop, Dixieland and Soul.  The Jazz Festival begins Friday evening with the legendary saxophone summit at Millenium Park. The following day the festival moves to the traditional location at Grant Park where four stages will be buzzing with the sultry sounds of trumpets, trombones, saxophones and clarinets. Stay within hearing distance in a Chicago condo rental so that you won’t miss any of this year’s notable performers, including singer, songwriter and producer Cassandra Wilson and Grammy winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove.  If you play, bring your instrument or rent one in town, as performers are usually open to collaboration.

4.    Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival (Aspen) – The Labor Day music festival in Aspen, Colorado takes place in the beautiful Snowmass village. Spend your days hiking, mountain biking or fly fishing in the Rockies and then relax at night while listening to a few tunes.  The village will be filled with different craft beer specialties, delicious food, and crafts at the festival marketplace. This year has a diverse list of performers, including mashup artist Girl Talk, old time rockers Steely Dan, and the smooth country music of the Zac Brown Band. Two festival side stages provide diverse local music samplings.

Daniel Weisman is the blog editor at He is passionate about travel, music, food and enjoying long weekends without breaking the bank. Follow him on Twitter at @flipkey

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One thought on “Top Four Labor Day Weekend Music Festivals

  • Matt Stephenson

    Thanks for writing the great article Dan, hope those who enjoyed a labor day weekend getaway to one of the music festivals around the country had a safe and fun, music filled vacation.