Top Ten Refined U.S. Music Festivals

Sure, your days of camping at crowded music festivals may be behind you, but that doesn't mean you have to give up the summer music scene altogether. Our solution: Try a more refined festival experience.
Big Sam's Funky Nation, Jazzfest, New Orleans
Big Sam of Big Sam's Funky Nation performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (Zack Smith)

Love classical music and jazz? Summer festivals highlight great orchestras, operas, chamber music, dance, and jazz, with pop star favorites also featured at some. Many are outdoors, with lawn seating and picnics. Choose a festival and build a full vacation in the area by spending a weekend or longer at a hotel or B&B. Some festivals offer special total-access passes and/or packages that cover lodging and other attractions. Here are my ten favorite "refined" summer music festivals.

10. Tanglewood, Berkshire Mountains, Massachusetts
9. Aspen Music Festival, Colorado
8. Santa Fe Opera, New Mexico
7. Ravinia Festival, Chicago, Illinois
6. Wolf Trap, Vienna, Virginia
5. Spoleto USA, Charleston, South Carolina
4. Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, Santa Cruz, California
3. Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, Colorado
2. Lincoln Center Festival & Mostly Mozart, New York City
1. New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Louisiana
Plus: Europe's Best Music Festivals


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