March 3-5 AURA MUSIC & ART FESTIVAL  A weekend of art, music, yoga and workshops on the grounds of one of the most beautiful natural amphitheaters in the country set in the midst of 800 acres of Spanish moss, draped oak and cypress trees along the Suwannee River. The Lineup includes Aqueous, Backup Planet, Bedside, Ben Sparaco, CBDB, Bright Light Social Hour, Dank, Disclosure, Broccoli Samurai, Crazy fingers, Fat Mannequin, Fusik, Garrin Benfield, Greenhouse Lounge, Holly Bowling, Jennifer Hartswick, Natalie Cressman, Nunchuck, Particle, Pigeons, Playing Ping Pong, Pink Talking Fish, Roar!., Snarky Puppy, The Disco Biscuits, The Fritz, The Heavy Pets Tribute to the 80’s, The Main Squeeze, The New Deal, The Resolvers, The Werks, Thievery Corporation, Third Nature, Tom Hamilton’s American Babies and Turkauz. The venue also features swimming, canoeing, kayaking, disc golf, biking, a general store, full service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms and water stations. The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www.auramusicfestival.com

March 4-6 OKEECHOBEE MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL Lineup features Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers,  Robert Plant & the Sensational Space Shifters, Grace Potter, Daryl Hall & John Oates, Lettuce, Jason Isbell, Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Bonobo, Dr. Dog, Odesza, Skrillex, Future, Gramatik, Kendrick Lamar,  Miguel, Fetty Wap, Ween, Big Grams (Big Boi & Phantogram), RL Grime, Portugal. The Man, Lotus, Youth Lagoon, Lil Dicky, Nahko & Medicine for the People, X Ambassadors, Hundred Waters, The Oh Hellos, Givers, Booker T. Jones, The Supervillains, Kamsai Washington, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Marian Hill, White Denim, The Soul Rebels, Shabazz Palaces, Post Malone, Dungen, Rayland Baxter, the London Souls, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Brownout Presents Brown Sabbath, Family & Friends, Spam Allstars, Michael Christmas, Swimm, Sunbears! and more. Okeechobee, www.okeechobeefest.com

March 12-13 GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL. The 2016 festival will feature musical acts on several stages and cuisine from the region’s top restaurants. Part of the mission is to support and promote music and education, the organization is involved throughout the year in several initiatives including providing scholarships and instruments to music students. Lineup features Andrew & Polly, Antibalas, Blitezen Trapper, Carlos Varela, Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires, Damon Fowler, David Wax Museum, Diealps!, Dunedin Highland Middle School Pipe Band, Erykah Badu, Fruition, Greensky Bluegrass, Gritt, Gumbi Ortiz & the New Groove City!, Gawn Massive, Houdsmouth, Jackson Davis & the Jackettes, Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers, Mr. Tommy, Ms Mr., Mt. Zion Gospel Choir, New Breed Brass Band, Poetry ‘n Lotion, resonated, Ries Brothers, Samurai Shotgun, Savoy, Seminole Indoor Percussion Ensemble, Serotonic, Sweet Crude, Talib Kwel, The Whiskey Gentry and The Wooly Bushmen. Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Garden Park, downtown Tampa, www.gasparillamusic.com

March 17-20 SUWANNEE SPRINGFEST  Three days of live music on four stages at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. John Prine, Brandi Carlile, Railroad Earth, The Del McCoury Band, Keller Williams Grateful Grass, the Infamous Stringdusters, the Jeff Austin Band, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, The Larry Keel Experience, Jim Lauderdale, Dave & Dave (of Trampled By Turtles), Cabinet, Fruition, Jon Stickley Trio, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Nora Jane Struthers, Mandolin Orange, Della Mae, Rumpke Mountain Boys, The Broadcast, The Virginia Dare Devils, The Applebutter Express, Grits & Soul, Grandpa’s Cough Medicine, Big Cosmo, Habanero Honeys, Quartermoon, Sloppy Joe, Nicki Talley, Steve Pruett, Canary in the Coalmine, Taylor Martin’s Engine, Two Foot Level and The Steppin’ Stones. Primitive and family camping are available. Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www.suwanneespringfest.com

April 10 JEST FEST  Surely you jest? Jest Fest! Is a free, family-friendly event produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department at the Historic Thomas Center. In its 4th season, Jest Fest! features a stellar lineup of international stars, performing some of the world’s greatest comedy/variety and circus acts on five stages. Headliners include The World Famous Flying Wallendas performing daring feats on the high-wire; silent clown Avner the Eccentric, star of Broadway and feature films, mime, juggler and magician, Arsene from Paris who trained with the legendary Marcel Marceau, and Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus star, Johnny Peers & the Muttvile Comix performing dog show. New acts include Charleston S.C.’s Piccolo Spoleto Festival veteran magician Howard Blackwell, touring artist Rick Hubbard’s Kazoobie Kazoo show and the exciting Flying Carrs flying trapeze show! There are even more roving entertainers, food and merchandise vendors and kid’s activities located throughout the gardens. The Thomas Center, 302 NE 6 Ave, Gainesville, 352-393-8746, www.gvlculturalaffairs.org

April 14-16 WANEE MUSIC FESTIVAL The 2016 lineup includes Gregg Allman, Widespread Panic, Melvin Seals & JGB with special guest Karl Denson, Big Something, Billy & the Kids, Bobby Lee Rogers Trio, Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Conspirator, Devon Allman Band, Dumpstaphnk’s Earth, War & Power, Gov’t Mule, Hot Tuna Electric with Steve Kimock, Jaimoe’s Jassz Band, Kung Fu, Les Brers featuring Butch Trucks , Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear, Nigel Hall, North Mississippi Allstars & Anders Osborne Present N.M.O., Oteil & Friends, Souline, the Stanley Clarke Band, The Wood Brothers, Tribal Seeds, Umphrey’s McGee, The Yeti Trio5 and Warren Haynes and the Ashes & Dust Band. Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, www waneefestival.com

April 23 HALIFAX OYSTER & MUSIC FESTIVAL The  7th Annual Halifax Oyster & Music Festival will take place on City Island on the Intracoastal Waterway in Downtown Daytona Beach. In addition to oysters, festival will feature live entertainment with a headlining performance by Big Engine. The Marine Discovery Center will host a Conservation Carnival for kids featuring fun and games that also educate the importance of our waterways and environment. Proceeds will fund the Marine Discovery Center’s mission to restore healthy oyster beds to Volusia County’s Intracoastal Waterway. Adultis $7, children under 10 free. City Island, Daytona Beach, www.halifaxoysterfestival.com

April 27-30 SUWANNEE RIVER JAM Four days of great music with Big & Rich, Big Smo, Chase Rice, Chris Janson, Locash and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Primitive camping and upgraded camping are available. Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, www.suwanneeriverjam.com

May 13-14 SWAMPTOWN GETDOWN MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL The 6th Annual Swamptown Getdown Music and Arts Festival.  Presented by Safe at Home Productions will feature a diverse lineup with 17 acts ranging in style from bluegrass, blues, and Americana to reggae, soul, electronica, funk and jam. Headlining the weekend festival will be Sacred Steel guitar virtuoso Roosevelt Collier, Jacksonville FL’s Parker Urban Band, bluegrass jam band Back From the Brink, and S.P.O.R.E. out of Jacksonville Beach. Waycross will be represented by local artists Copperhead South, Droppers, and The Pine Box Dwellers. Out of town artists on the Getdown stage will feature Athens bands:  dangfly! and Lowdive.  Brunswick/St. Simons:  Conni Laine, Jamie Renee & The Walkers, Space Kittens and Thunderbird.  Jacksonville:  Bonnie Blue and Chillakaya1.  Kingsland:  Milltown Road. Valdosta:  Lazy Lightning.

May 27-29 FLORIDA FOLK FESTIVAL The 63rd Florida Folk Festival is a three-day celebration of the music, dance, stories, crafts and food that make Florida unique. From Irish fiddle tunes and kumquat pie, to the wide varieties of music brought by immigrants, the state’s cultural heritage reflects the lives of generations of Florida families and communities. Over 300 performances will give voice and meaning to Florida’s heritage with artists such as Jim Stafford, Ben Prestage, Frank Thomas and Billy Dean. A full lineup will be announced. Sit with the masters who keep cultural traditions alive in jam sessions, demonstrations and workshops. Try your hand at playing mandolin, telling stories, or making a pine needle basket. Learn how to collect your family’s history, call a square dance, or the importance of native plant and animal species. Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park, www.floridastateparks.org

May 27-29 COUNTRY 500 The best in country music come together over Memorial Day weekend at the Daytona International Speedway. Lineup features Willie Nelson, Brandy Clark, Brooke Eden, Brothers Osborne, Cassadee Pope, Cahrlie Worsham, Chris Stapleton, Clare Dunn, Colt Ford, Craig Campbell, Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, Eli Young Band, Eric Paslay, Florida Georgia Line, Frank Foster, Frankie Ballard, Jamestown Revival, Jamey Johnson, Jason Aldean, Jennifer Nettles, Jerrod Niemann, Joe Diffie, Josh Thompson, Kid Rock, Kristian Bush, Lee Brice, Little Big Town, Lady Antebellum, Luke Bryan, Mac Powell, Marty Stuart, Mo Pitney, Montgomery Gentry, Raelynn, Sara Evans, The Cadillac Three, Trace Adkins and Tyler Farr. The Country 500 camping experience is a unique festival community with a series of neighborhoods populated by some of Country 500’s luckiest fans. Campers can reserve Country 500 infield space and stroll from the campsite to the festival’s stages, food and beverage offerings, and other activities. West Lot Camping patrons just outside the Speedway will also have in-and-out privileges. Camping spaces are limited. Daytona International Speedway 844-500 FEST, www.country500.com

June 4-5 WINGS & ROCK FEST This free, family friendly event offers some of metro Atlanta’s best tasting chicken wings from over a dozen restaurants plus great live music at the new park amphitheater.  Festival goers will enjoy watching the popular wing-eating contest to our kid zone with inflatable amusement rides or simply do some shopping in the local arts & crafts area.  As the third largest chicken wing festival in the country with over 22,000 expected in attendance this year, festival goers can munch on tasty chicken wings from local wing experts like Wing Zone and Wing Stop while washing them down with a cold beverage.  All the participating wing vendors will be vying for plaques and medals for the best wings in a competition judged by local celebrities and the festival attendees. Etowah River Park Canton, GA, www.wingandrockfest.com


About Liza Mitchell