The 2022 summer music scene will seem practically normal this year after a long, lonely, pandemic-induced drought. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to enjoy some live tunes close to home this year, but why not make an adventure out of it? Give in to the lure of beautiful music in the bright summer sun in exotic (or at least, farther-flung) locales.
These seven musical events are worth the journey. Hit the road (or runway) with your favorite music loving companions and make up for lost concert-going time this summer.
Elton John, Various Locations (July-November)
The much-anticipated “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour is coming to Detroit July 18 (Elton’s only Michigan date), but the tour is your last opportunity to see the sequin-studded, groundbreaking icon rock that fabulous piano in person. If you’re a big fan, get out to see him as many times as you can now! Gather up some road trip companions and follow that yellow brick road to locations like Cleveland (July 30), Chicago (Aug. 5), Toronto (Sept. 7 and 8) and Pittsburgh (Sept. 16).
Randy Rainbow, Grand Rapids (Sept. 10)
If there’s ever a time when we need a little Randy Rainbow in our lives, it’s right about now, when civil rights appear, once again, to be in the crosshairs of a conservative-leaning Supreme Court. Rainbow’s snarky political takes might be dressed up in catchy, musical explosions of satire, but they hit the mark every time. “The Pink Glasses Tour” will also take the stage in a few other select U.S. cities including Kansas City (Sept. 9).
Electric Forest 2022, Rothbury, MI (June 23-26)
Electric Forest is a four-day, multi-genre event held at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, south of Pentwater near Michigan’s sandy west coast. The festival focuses on electronic music and a long list of eclectic, dreamy musical acts like Sylvan Esso, Jake Wesley Rogers, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, The String Cheese Incident and dozens more. Camp (or glamp) for the whole long weekend or pick a day to frolic in the forest amidst one of the most welcoming, community-minded concert scenes you’re likely to find within driving distance of Southeast Michigan.
Northalsted Market Days, Chicago (Aug. 6-7)
America’s first recognized gay village, Chicago’s Northalsted, sets the scene for this two-day urban musical and festival. Over 120,000 festival-goers will celebrate the event’s 40th year in 2022, whooping it up along the half-mile-long event featuring live music on six stages, more than 250 vendors, unique art and craft finds, DJs and dancing and all manner of rainbow-imbued good times. Northalsted Market Days headliners include Trixie Mattel, Todrick Hall, Greyson Chance, Jody Watley, CeCe Peniston and more.
Lady Gaga, Chicago (Aug. 15)
Go west, Little Monsters! The Lady herself will perform just a few hours away this summer when she hits Wrigley Field in Chicago. “The Chromatica Ball Tour” will only play six U.S. cities, so don’t miss what’s sure to be one of the most memorable concert experiences of the summer.
Outloud Raising Voices Music Fest, L.A. (June 3-5)
Looking for a farther flung adventure? Revel in a weekend of Pride-flavored musical delight at the Outloud Raising Voices Music Fest in West Hollywood in early June. The festival features a dizzying array of LGBTQ+ fan favorites, including Marina and the Diamonds, Jessie J, Greyson Chance and Jake Wesley Rogers.
Trixie Mattel, Reykjavik, Iceland (May 24)
How does one describe Trixie Mattel? It’s no easy feat! As Wikipedia tells us, she’s “an American drag queen, television personality, singer-songwriter, comedian and entrepreneur known for her exaggerated, high-camp style and blend of comedy and acoustic pop.” And, sure! She’s all that, but a Trixie Mattel show is SO much more. Her latest tour, “Trixie Mattel: Grown Up,” will feature a full band and plenty of laughs and good-hearted camaraderie, and let’s be real here — she’s worth traveling to Iceland for.
Can’t make the trek to the land of fire and ice? Catch Trixie stateside at the KP X AP Pride Party in Asbury Park, New Jersey on June 4.