Take it from a seasoned concertgoer, there are some staples that you must not forget when preparing to hit the road.
Ticket. Yeah, duh! But it is the easiest thing to do, and the most obvious to avoid. When you're busy grabbing last-minute items for the car (Cellphone? Check! Potato chips? Check!) your ticket might lie inches away on your desk. Save yourself a panic attack when you're halfway to the venue: Put your ticket in your wallet, bag or car the day before, or whenever the little thought pops into your head. Think it, do it!
Cellphone charger. A 21st-century problem. This is your lifeline. Make sure you know how you'll charge it at the concert.
If you're going to a festival, or a show where you'll be camping, bring a sleeping mat. When you're all worn out from a day and night of celebrating, nothing feels better than crawling into a sleeping bag and actually being comfortable.
Stock up on Emergen-C or coconut water for the morning. Sometimes water doesn't do the trick when you need those extra vitamins and electrolytes; a little boost goes a long way when it comes to feeling healthy.
Bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a shade tent. Yes, we have missed the sun all winter, but if you don't want to spend the weekend with a blistering sunburn, it is best to protect yourself.
Bring games. At a festival or outdoor concert, there is often some downtime in the lineup, and shows tend to begin later than expected. Kickball or cards are an easy way to pass time and bond with your neighbors. One of the most enjoyable parts of summer is being outside; why not combine that with some great tunes and new friends, and pack your bag?
Summertime in Oregon is better than anywhere else in the world. (Seriously! If you disagree with us, meet us behind the barn and we can give you five convincing reasons.) But, the Source will concede that there are a few concerts outside the immediate region. Here are our favorite three in the Bay Area—an easy eight-hour drive or plane tickets under $200 make these affordable weekend music indulgences.
Americanarama Festival of Music—Whenever a living legend hits the road for a tour, it is a good idea to take notice of the scheduled stops. In the case of the just-announced Americanarama Festival of Music, headlined by Bob Dylan, the drive to the Bay Area (Mountain View) doesn't seem so far away. It may be the last time the legendary Dylan will be within a day's drive ever again. Even if Dylan's gravelly voice is beyond redemption for your summertime listening, there are other compelling reasons this concert is well worth shelling out the gas money. Alt-country favorites Wilco, indie bigs My Morning Jacket, and country rock crossover Ryan Bingham round out the lineup with some of the smartest lyrics you'll hear at any concert this summer. Aug. 4, 5:30 p.m., Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival—Free music in Golden Gate Park? Heck yes! Last year, the festival spanned three days on six stages and drew more than 750,000 attendees to hear more than 80 acts, including Emmylou Harris, the Head and the Heart, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe and Les Claypool. Although the purveyor of the festival, banjo-playing venture capitalist Warren Hellman, died in 2011, he left an endowment to continue Hardly Strictly for at least 15 years after his death. Thanks, Warren! No lineup yet, but we'd bet the house it will be filled with excellent bluegrass and otherwise. Oct. 4-6, Golden Gate Park. Free!
Neil Young Bridge School Benefit—Since 1986, Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, have hosted the Bridge School Benefit Concert to support students with severe communication issues and physical impairments. Young has been an advocate for this cause since his son was born with cerebral palsy. This momentous acoustic show has consistently offered an inspired roster of artists, and is curated and designed by Young himself. Last summer, the stage was graced by The Flaming Lips, Guns N' Roses, and Jack White, and we're waiting to hear what's expected to be a star-studded 2013 lineup. This is perhaps one of the greatest but least-known concerts, a who's who of the best living musicians, invariably in the glorious late-summer South Bay golden California sunshine. Oct. 19-20, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California