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The Flavorpill Guide to 2010’s Best Small Summer Music Festivals

While Lollapalooza no longer tours the country, spreading its alt-rock far and wide, it remains one of the granddaddies of summer music festivals, hosting acts like Lady Gaga, Green Day, and Soundgarden in its 2010 incarnation. However, if you’d prefer not to feel like an American Idiot, languishing in a heat-soaked crowd of thousands, we’ve got you covered. After the jump, we bring you up to speed on a baker’s dozen of smaller, more diverse and, in most cases, less overwhelming fests coming up across the country this summer.

Summer Camp Festival
Where: Three Sisters Park in Chillicothe, IL
When: May 28-30
Who: Avett Brothers, Umphrey’s McGee, moe., Gov’t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Hot Buttered Rum… click for more.
Cost: $170 for a 3-day non-camping pass, $50 for Sunday only, $150 and up for on-site camping passes and VIP upgrades.

If your idea of a summer music festival is camping out and listening to rootsy jams, head about two hours southwest of Chicago to the Summer Camp Festival, where you can try your luck at parking your RV on-site. This one’s a bit more kid-friendly than your average event, with a Kids’ Summer Camp going on each day of the festival. Wanna hone your chops? Bring your axe and check out the daily musicians’ workshops. Summer Camp features stages with names such as the “Sunshine Stage” and the “Starshine Stage,” which sound very friendly… but one can only wonder what sort of antics go on at the “Moonshine Stage.” Everclear, anyone?

Watch the Family Groove Company cover “Blackbird” at Summer Camp 2009:

Sasquatch! Music Festival
Where: The Gorge Amphitheater in George, WA
When: May 29-31
Who: My Morning Jacket, Vampire Weekend, The National, MGMT, Band of Horses, Tegan and Sara, Kid Cudi, the New Pornographers, Deadmau5, Broken Social Scene, The Hold Steady, OK Go, Nada Surf, Brother Ali, The Posies, WHY?… click for more.
Cost: Only single-day tickets are available now, for $70 apiece. A camping pass costs $99, and an upgraded camping pass runs you $170.

Named for the mythical Bigfoot said to roam Pacific Northwestern forests, this is the biggest festival we’ll recommend, if only for the stellar lineup. This year’s buzz bands may be calling Pitchfork Festival their summer home, but it’s Sasquatch! that houses the reigning kings and queens of the indie music world. Cheryl Waters of KEXP even went so far as to make a mix for your drive to the festival. You can listen to it here.

Watch Grizzly Bear at Sasquatch! ’09:

Wakarusa
Where: Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, AR
When: June 3-6
Who: The Black Keys, The Disco Biscuits, Widespread Panic, Slightly Stoopid, Dweezil Zappa Plays Zappa, Bassnectar, State Radio
Cost: $159 for a full event pass, and satellite camping passes are still available for $29.

The lineup for Wakarusa is a bit of a hodgepodge, but not many people can say they’ve seen the Black Keys and Dweezil Zappa on a mountain in Arkansas. Why should Chicago have all the fun in the Midwest? Plus, there will be carnival rides, a Silent Disco (it’s exactly what it sounds like, headphones included), costume contests, and morning yoga.

Here’s a video of Matisyahu crashing Les Claypool’s performance at Wakarusa last year: