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Get Out and Boogie

The Strawberry Music Festival

A tie-dyed gathering on the edge of Yosemite, Strawberry is ideal for families, with downhome music, a modest crowd (of about 6,000), and a secluded alpine location. Camp Mather, a 350-acre site owned by the city of San Francisco, offers superb hiking (trails lead to Yosemite’s Hetch-Hetchy Reservoir) and mountain biking plus swimming in Birch Lake and—at the Labor Day festival—a pool. Groveland, California; Memorial and Labor Day weekends; 209/984-8630; strawberrymusic.com; adult day passes from $50, kids’ from $20; children under 5 free.

The Sounds

Bluegrass, folk, Cajun, country, and R&B, with big names (Steve Earle, Etta James) and up-and-comers (the Duhks, Tift Merritt).

The Digs

Some accommodations are available around the town of Groveland; consider the Evergreen Lodge (33160 Evergreen Rd.; 800/935-6343; evergreen lodge.com; doubles from $189, two-night minimum)—but nearly everyone camps in the meadows and woods. Bonus: park bathrooms have hot showers.

Calling All Kids

The young crowd congregates by the lake for shows by acts like the Banana Slug String Band and activities organized by age group (five and up). Teens run their own radio station. So many kids have grown up coming to the festival that they launched their own Web site, sbteens.org, to stay in touch all year.

It Happened Here

In 1992, bluegrass songsmith Tim O’Brien ended the Sunday morning Revival set by stripping to his shorts and plunging into the lake.

City Stages

This downtown street festival is big (100,000 attendees), busy (100-plus performers), and musically diverse. Birmingham, Alabama; June 15–17; 205/251-1272; citystages.org; adult day passes from $28, children under 10 free.

The Sounds

The top-tier lineup spans hip-hop (Ludacris), rock (the Black Crowes), country (Loretta Lynn), singer-songwriters (Mary Chapin Carpenter), and children’s performers.

The Digs

Several downtown hotels are within walking distance, among them the Sheraton Birmingham (2101 Richard Arrington Jr. Blvd.; 205/254-0004; sheraton.com; doubles from $159).

Calling All Kids

In one section of the city’s Linn Park, a "festival within a festival" ropes in the 12-and-under crowd, with dance and music performances plus spin art, drum circles, and water play.

It Happened Here

Bruce Cockburn wrote the song "Birmingham Shadows" about his festival wanderings with young firebrand Ani DiFranco.

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