U.S. Festivals This Weekend: Start August With A Big Bite, And A Swig Of Bourbon

You might think you're ready to throw in the beach towel and barbecue tongs and call it a summer, but things are just heating up on the food, drink and music front. If you've never listened to blues while sipping craft brews or eaten music-inspired party food from San Francisco's top chefs, this weekend presents the perfect opportunity. Plus, Michelin chef Graham Elliot's lobster corndogs might convince you to barter for a last minute ticket to Lolla. Here's to happy ears and stomachs, and your newfound realization that summer is definitely still on the upswing. Phew.

Lollapalooza Chow Town

August 2-4


A music festival that famously caters to dubstep and alt-folk fans alike calls for an equally diverse menu to please all types of palates. Luckily, popular Chicago chef Graham Elliot has curated a list of 35 restaurants to feed this year's musicians and attendees. The food lineup includes James Beard winner Tony Mantuano's Bar Toma (pair Calabrian Licorice Potato Chips with Vampire Weekend) as well as Graham's own sandwich shop, Grahamwich (pair Lobster Corndogs with The Cure.)

SF Chefs

July 28-August 4

San Francisco

The festival, celebrating NoCal's famously innovative (and sustainable) cuisine, supports a number of local food-related charities, such as Meals on Wheels of San Francisco and the San Francisco and Marin Food Banks. The main tent is located in Union Square where chefs, winemakers, brewers and distillers offer classes, seminars, and tastings. More events take place at venues throughout the city. Highlights include an Iron Chef-Style chef face-off and a nighttime party with a music-inspired menu.

Maine Lobster Festival

July 31-August 4

Rockland, ME

The Alexandra Dienesche Calamari arrives at the dock, a flag is raised and the town of Rockland officially rings in the festival celebrating Maine's iconic nautical royalty: the lobster. Food stations open at 12 noon on Friday, offering various versions of the crustacean (lobster rolls, lobster Caesar salads), and the grub is served with numerous rock, jazz, and Celtic music performances. The weekend continues with an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast, a speed-knitting competition and the Spin Doctors take the stage Saturday evening.

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival

August 2-3

Cary, NC

Your ticket for admission to this festival buys you a sampling glass from which to taste 60 varieties of beer and 40 varieties of bourbon on tap. In between sips, you can look forward to seminars from the South's best distillers, brewers and pit masters, live Rock and Bluegrass, and browsing the barbecue stands. And this is the place to retaliate against the beer-gut shame. You can enter Saturday afternoon's Beer Belly Contest and actually win a prize.

Mammoth Festival of Beers Bluesapalooza

August 1-4

Mammoth Lakes, CA

Bluesapalooza's modest begnnings date back 18 years when a handful of beer-lovers met in a parking lot, but today the pine treeflanked outdoor music festival pairs the best names in blues music with the best in craft brews. Performers include the likes of Grammy nominee Joan Osborne and the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, and the Saturday afternoon Grand Tasting features unlimited samples from over 80 craft breweries. The festival also features a number of food vendors with bites (read: street tacos, Vietnamese pork sandwiches) to soak up the booze and blues.


Achilles Heel Monday Night BBQ

Monday nights, 6-10:30


The Greenpoint waterfront tavern is launching a weekly barbecue night, so you can add some artisan meat sampling to your Monday night routine. The shindig features sausages from Marlow & Daughters — each is served with a pickle from Clinton Hill, mustard and house-made bread.

The Big Feastival

August 31-September 1

The Cotswolds, UK

Jamie Oliver and Alex James created this family-friendly festival to benefit Oliver's Better Food Foundation, which focuses on food education to promote a healthier lifestyle. Attendees can camp out for the whole weekend in the Cotswolds countryside, and events include live performances (The Feeling, KT Tunstall, Mark Owen), chef demos and food stands offering the best in UK Street Food. If you're too fancy to gorge on steamed buns or hand-made meatballs from a truck, you can stick to fine dining at one of Oliver's four featured restaurants.