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Summer Brings Out the Music at US Festivals

A preview of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee, Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, Midsummer Mozart Festival in California and more. Transcript of radio broadcast:


Welcome to THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English. I'm Steve Ember.


And I'm Barbara Klein. This week on our program, we talk about summer music festivals in the United States.

(MUSIC: "Heavy Things")


That was "Heavy Things" by Phish. The newly reunited band is one of the groups to perform this year at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

The festival takes place on a farm about one hundred kilometers from Nashville, Tennessee. This is the eighth year. The four-day event has movies and comedy in addition to music.


This year's music lineup at Bonnaroo also includes the Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails and TV on the Radio. Plus, Bela Fleck, Lucinda Williams, and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.



The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is June eleventh to the fourteenth. Then, four days later, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival brings American musical traditions to the high mountains of Colorado. The festival has four days of concerts, music workshops and songwriting contests.

This year's performers include Elvis Costello, David Byrne and the Yonder Mountain String Band. Here is the Yonder Mountain String Band at the thirtieth anniversary of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival six years ago. The song is called "Too Late Now."



Another summer music festival in Colorado is Blues Under the Bridge. It will take place July twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth in the city of Colorado Springs. Performers this year include the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Bettye LaVette.

Bettye LaVette sang in January at the inaugural celebration at the Lincoln Memorial for Barack Obama. The soul singer has been performing since the nineteen sixties.

Here, from her two thousand seven album "The Scene of the Crime," is the song "Choices."



Fans of classical music have their own outdoor summer festivals. The Midsummer Mozart Festival is July sixteenth to the twenty-sixth in San Francisco, California. This is the thirty-fifth anniversary.

Among the artists this year is flutist Maria Tamburrino, pianist Seymour Lipkin and French horn player David Sprung.

Here now is the Midsummer Mozart Festival Orchestra, with conductor George Cleve and pianist Jeremy Menuhin. The work is Mozart's Piano Concerto Number 13 in C Major.



From the eighteenth century and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart we fast-forward to alternative rock, hip-hop and punk. These can all be found at the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago, Illinois.

Perry Farrell, lead singer for Jane's Addiction, started Lollapalooza in nineteen ninety-one. At first, the show traveled across North America and was meant to be the band's final tour. But since then, Lollapalooza has taken place every year except for a five-year break.

Lollapalooza will run from August seventh to the ninth. The bands this year include the Decemberists and the Killers, as well as new acts like the Virgins and White Lies. Also on the lineup is a reunited Jane's Addiction. Here from the best of Jane's Addiction is "Summertime Rolls."



The first outdoor jazz festival in the United States took place fifty-five years ago in Newport, Rhode Island. Over the years, the Newport Jazz Festival presented greats like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

But in March, producer George Wein announced that the company that sponsored the festival was no longer able to because of the recession.

Still, he promised to save the show for this year at least. He renamed it George Wein's Jazz Festival 55. The festival is planned from August seventh to the ninth with performers including Etta James, Branford Marsalis, Tony Bennett and Mos Def.

We leave you with another act coming to Newport this summer. Here is the Dave Brubeck Quartet with their signature piece, "Take Five."



Our program was written by Nancy Steinbach and produced by Caty Weaver. I'm Barbara Klein.


And I'm Steve Ember. Transcripts and MP3s of our programs are at You can also follow us at Join us again next week for THIS IS AMERICA in VOA Special English.