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1. SummerFest – Milwaukee, WI. This self-proclaimed “world’s largest music festival” held annually in Milwaukee boasts more than 800 acts over eleven days. From Stevie Wonder to Keith Urban, the 2015 Summerfest lineup is diverse and the crowds are big with nearly 1 million fans expected to enjoy music, food and yes, family activities. The Kohl’s Captivation Station offers educational and music experiences for kids and families with live theater, hands-on art projects, science experiments and a design lab, hosted by local organizations including the Milwaukee Art Museum, Discovery World, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Little ones will also enjoy the Northwestern Mutual Children’s Theater & Playzone with performances from magicians, dance groups, jugglers, and puppets, and featuring a large outdoor playground.

Dates: June 24-28, June 30 – 5, 2015
Price: Kids 10 & under $7; infants 2 & under free.

2. Lollapalooza – Chicago, IL. Since Chicago became the home for this long weekend festival in 2005, it’s become one of the fastest sellout festivals on the planet, with tickets going in just minutes. And it’s not just the headline acts and celebrity cache like 2015 headliners Paul McCartney and Metallica that make it so popular. Lolla appeals to everyone from college kids to parents with kids. In fact, the family area has become so popular, it has it own name – Kidzapalooza. This fest within a festival is set in its own enclosed area of Grant Park and offers parents and kids the opportunity to catch family-friendly music on its very own stage, including acts such as School of Rock AllStars and Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips. Plus, kids get hands-on music immersion with activities like creating their own music, and arts and crafts.

Dates: July 31 – August 2, 2015
Price: Ages 10 & under free.

Lollapalooza

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lollapalooza

3. Austin City Limits Music Fest – Austin, TX. There’s no better place for a music festival than in the ‘live music capital of the world’, and the ACL Music Fest never disappoints. Similar to Lolla, this major music event has it own kids fest called Austin Kiddie Limits, with a live music stage, creative music-inspired activities and great family necessities such as baby changing stations.  This year’s lineup includes Foo Fighters, Drake, Florence + the Machine, Chance the Rapper, Hozier, Deadmau5 and many more.

Dates: October 2-4 and 9-11, 2015
Price: Ages 10 & under free.

ACL

Photo Credit: Greg Noire 

4. Bumbershoot – Seattle, WA. Labor Day weekend travelers headed to the Pacific Northwest can swing by this Seattle favorite, now in its 45th year, for a full cultural experience including music, theater, comedy, dance, film and visual arts. Families can visit the “Youngershoot” Kids Zone, geared for children ages ten and under, and curated by the Seattle Children’s Museum, for interactive programming, and arts-based activities including painting stations, building and architectural activities, and collaborative recycled art.  This year, festival organizers are also creating a list of programming – that while not specifically directed at children – will be exciting and appropriatefor the entire family to enjoy.

Dates: September 5-7, 2015
Price: Kids 5 & Under admission free; ages 6 & up, same cost as adult tickets.

Gregory Alan Isakov Crowd 2

Photo Credit: Gregory Alan Isakov

5. FloydFest – Floyd, VA. This 5-day festival in late July features big name acts like Grace Potter and Drive-by Truckers, but isn’t just about the music. From the festival you can hop a 45-minute shuttle ride and enjoy a 3-hour trip paddling down the Little River. According to FloydFest, “kids are never an afterthought – they’re a centerpiece,” with a Children’s Universe covering several acres where kids can engage in everything from a Taekwondo class, tetherball match or debut their own act during kids’ Open Mic. The children’s area also features a toddler playground, family-sized sandbox, rock stacking, a huge wooden play arc, and a “mother tent” complete with areas for changing diapers and feeding little ones. And for the slightly older set, FloydFest has a Teen Scene Lounge that includes mixed media workshops and painting parties, ukelele and drumming workshops, jam sessions, chill zones with couches and snacks, and meditation to start the day off right.

Dates: July 22-26, 2105
Price: Ages 6-12 $30 for all five days; under 6 free.

FloydFest

Photo Credit: Courtesy of FloydFest

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Tagged: Family time, Midwest, Top 10 Lists

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Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne Tornatore

Jeanenne specializes in savvy budget travel tips, destination experiences, industry trends and the latest products to make any trip go smoothly. A mother of three, she's seasoned in all things family-travel, from the most kid-friendly beach resorts to navigating Disney Parks. Jeanenne is an avid outdoor adventure seeker, as well as a regular TV and radio content contributor. You'll find her @JMTornatore on Twitter and Instagram.

One thought on “Jammin’ with juniors: 5 family friendly music festivals”

  1. The last Saturday of July is Macon, Georgia’s ultimate summer music festival. This annual event takes place in Macon’s historic downtown, which is about 80 miles south of Altanta near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Interstate 16 (Historic Savannah Parkway).

    The Bragg Jam Festival isn’t just for live-music lovin’ night owls. During the day, Bragg Jam’s Arts & Kids’ Fest hosts a free daytime event where families are invited to create, perform and play in the heart of the city. The event features fun activities, art, food and beverage vendors, live music and community performances.

    Saturday July 25, 2015 is the Bragg Jam Arts and Kids Fest. This free event in Cherry Street Plaza is circus themed. Get ready for fire breathers, jugglers, magicians and much more roaming the streets to entertain and delight.

    Come prepared for the giant water slide, rock wall, animal shows, and youth focused organization with projects for the kids. The Georgia Sports Hall of Fame will open its doors for free admission and music will abound on the plaza.

    Food trucks will also be present. Come prepared to eat and be merry at the Bragg Jam Arts and Kids Fest on July 25 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

    This is a great event for all ages, attracts great bands, and raises money for local nonprofits.

    As the sun goes down, Bragg Jam’s signature Concert Crawl is already geared up, featuring live music performances at a variety of Macon hotspots, with free shuttle service throughout the night. In addition to bars, there are all-ages performance venues that are smoke-free and family friendly.

    Rain or shine, bands spanning all genres take on a variety of stages across the city and put on one unforgettable show after another in a jam-packed, rock, blues, and soul-infused night.

    July 25, 2015 is the date for this year’s Bragg Jam Concert Crawl! The First Wave of Bands has just been announced.

    Go to http://www.braggjam.org to see the list of bands, events, event map, concert tickets, info about moonlight miles, Kids fest and more.

    Come and Join in the fun!

    Pam T

    History of Bragg Jam
    During the summer of 1999, Macon singer/songwriter Brax Bragg was on the brink of something big. He had just recorded a CD with his new band the Buckleys, and they were scheduled to set out on tour. But before hitting the highway with his band, Brax took his baby brother Tate, an accomplished classical guitarist, on a cross-country road trip. While traveling through Texas on July 3, the brothers’ lives were tragically cut short by a car accident.

    Back in Macon, friends were reeling at the news of the brothers’ tragic deaths. Russell Walker, a friend of the family and fellow musician, organized an impromptu jam session of local musicians to celebrate and honor the Bragg brothers’ talented lives. The healing power of music began to perpetuate, and a year later, the jam session resumed. “Bragg Jam” had officially been born. By 2003, it was expanded into a city-wide music festival. Two years later, it was incorporated as a non-profit with a board of directors. Today, Bragg Jam has evolved into a full-scaled community arts festival and Macon’s premier music event.

    What began as an untimely tragedy has found a way to give back to the Macon community. Money raised from Bragg Jam is donated to the Macon’s Ocmulgee Heritage Trail and other local causes in Brax and Tate Bragg’s honor.

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