It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that Lollapolooza and Ozzfest were the main, and almost only, large music festivals in the USA. Now there is practically one every 3-4 weeks all across the country, all summer long. Most are 2-4 day weekend destination, eclectic festivals, with Mayhem Fest and Warped Tour sort of going 'old school' with full North American tours. No matter what part of the country you are in, you will be able to hit a major music festival in 2012. But which one is most worth your while? I've got 7 that I would kill to to attend.

I'll start with this one, mainly because...I HAVE TICKETS! The annual 3 day festival in Indio, CA this year will actually be held twice, April 13th-15th and the following weekend April 20th-22nd with the same lineup for each weekend. Definitely the largest of all the festivals in the country this year as far as attendance, main headlining acts will include The Black Keys, Radiohead, and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg. There are a ton of House/Trance/Dubstep/Robot Music DJ and producers billed for the show along with The Shins, Bon Iver, Arctic Monkeys, Manchester Orchestra, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Feist, AWOLNATION, The Dear Hunter, The Sheepdogs, Childish Gambino, At The Drive-In, Florence+The Machine, The Hives, Santigold, and dozens of others. Extremely eclectic grouping of musicians, plus its in California in April. Perfect. Tickets sold out within hours of them going on sale, but if you want to take the risk of buying 3rd party, there are options online.

We are beyond lucky to have The Gorge only a short 1.5-2 hour drive from the Tri-Cities. If you haven't been to the Gorge for a show, you really have to go and just experience the view. Couple that with live music, and it literally feels like heaven on earth. In fact, Dave Mathews calls it 'Heavens Amphitheater'. This year the Sasquatch! Music Festival returns for it's 11th time, and for the 2nd year will be a 4 day festival spanning Friday - Monday of Memorial Day Weekend. Headliners include Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, Pretty Lights, Tenacious D, The Shins, The Roots, Silversun Pickups plus dozens of other music and comedy acts. Tickets are currently available on presale and will be available to the general public this Saturday at 10am through Ticketmaster.

The lineup this year for the 3rd Hangout festival in Alabama is what I was HOPING to see for Sasquatch!, especially with the Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining. Definitely a smaller amount of bands on hand, but the lineup is stellar including The Flaming Lips Performing Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon! Gnarly. Other acts include Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, The String Cheese Incident, Wilco, Skrillex, Chris Cornell, Sound Tribe Sector 9, Gogol Bordello, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Flogging Molly, Coheed & Cambria, Cage the Elephant, Switchfoot, Rebelution and another dozen or so acts. Tickets will be on sale Friday, February 10th at 9am.

Warped Tour has been a staple traveling festival for well over a decade. It has shifted from more of a punk rock scene to a little bit of everything. From Punk, to emo/screamo, some hip- hop/reggae, to all the core (metalcore, hardcore, deathcore) genres. Warped will once again return to The Gorge in August and will again host 50+ bands. Each Wednesday for the last couple weeks another handful of bands has been announced for the tour. Here is a list of bands that have been announced so far that I'm looking forward to seeing. For full lineup and ticket details, check out the Vans Warped Tour website. This is one of the only festivals/tours on the list that you could probably walk up to the gate day of and buy a ticket as I have never seen Warped sell out at the Gorge. Now lets get some Periphery and Parkway Drive announced for this year!

Metallica just announced their own festival earlier this week. The Orion Music and More Festival will be a 2 day festival with 20+ artists held in New Jersey on June 23rd and 24th. Metallica will headline both nights and will play the Black Album and Ride The Lightning in their entirety. Pretty rad. Other acts include Arctic Monkeys, Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse, The Gaslight Anthem, Cage The Elephant, Best Coast, Hot Snakes, Gary Clark Jr., Lucero, The Sword and more. Tickets are actually very reasonable at under $200, that is if you can get to New Jersey. Tickets have already been available to MetClub Members, and will go on sale to the general public Saturday at 7am.

The Mayhem Fest, which has kind of become the replacement for Ozzfest, will return to the Northwest this July and will travel all over the country throughout the summer. Slipknot, who was an original headliner of this tour, will return to the main stage with their first US Tour since the death of Bassist Paul Gray. Joining Slipknot on the main stage will be thrash metal legends Slayer and Anthrax! The Devil Wears Prada, Asking Alexandria, As I Lay Dying, White Chapel, and High On Fire will join the tour to cover the side stage. There will also be another main stage act announced on March 5th. Tickets will be going on sale April 6th through Ticketmaster and you can register for the Presale now!

Last but DEFINITELY not least...Rock On The Range. This is the festival of all festivals for hard rock and mainstream rock 'n roll fans! Taking over the Columbus Crew stadium in Ohio on May 18th, 19th, and 20th will be Incubus, Rob Zombie, Shinedown, Marilyn Manson, Five Finger Death Punch, Slash, Megadeth, Chevelle, Cypress Hill, Mastodon, Theory of a Deadman, Anthrax, Volbeat, Down, The Darkness, Halestorm, Escape the Fate, P.O.D., Lacuna Coil, Adelitas Way, Black Stone Cherry, Cavo, Attack Attack!, Trivium, Bobaflex, Falling in Reverse, Redlight King, Aranda, Emphatic, Otherwise, James Durbin, Black Tide, Kyng, 12 Stones, Soil, Rival Sons, Eve to Adam, Ghost of August, In This Moment and a few other bands as well. Holy. HELL. What a crazy lineup! General Admission Field & Stadium Weekend Tickets go onsale Friday, Feb 10 at 7am.