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By Lena Katz

The streets are alive with the sound of music. So are the amusement parks, the beaches, the patios and every other conceivable venue — not just in the cities, but in resorts and small towns from Bar Harbor in the northeast to Bal Harbour in South Florida, and from San Diego, Calif., to Vancouver, B.C.

Amusement park chain Six Flags has made many preteen summers a whole lot squealier, what with its nationwide concert series featuring headliners like Flo Rida, Good Charlotte and Katy Perry. Upcoming dates include Good Charlotte at Six Flags Great Adventurein New Jersey on August 21, Flo Rida at the same park on August 22, and Katy Perry at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio on September 1.

Now that Burning Man‘s gone mainstream and Tiesto/BT/Crystal Method are playing regularly for Las Vegas club crowds, it falls on other people to carry the progressive electronica torch. Minitek, a New York-based festival of "electronic music and innovation," has that evolutionary artist spirit in spades. Its lineup includes M.A.N.D.Y., Audion (AKA Matthew Dear) and several other Euro-flavored DJs, all of whom would be too cool for school if they weren’t such obvious turntable geeks. The program also promises groundbreaking art, design and technology by "pioneers" who are "shaping the future." September 12-14, (night venue only) Penn Plaza Pavilion, New York City. Weekend passes: $80 + fees.

Around L.A.

As Southern California’s summer reaches its final few weeks, annual festivals encourage its citizens to come out and play. In the trendy East Side enclave of Silverlake/Echo Park,
The 28th annual Sunset Junction takes over nine city blocks and four stages. The music lineup includes Broken Social Scene, Cold War Kids, Kinky and the Black Keys. The tragically hip entertainment roster gets authentic street fair ballast, in the form of carnival midway games, food booths and craft vendors.  August 23-24, 3700-4300 Sunset Blvd and 4000-4200 Santa Monica Blvd.

Just north of the LA county line, old-school surfers, families and displaced islanders come together for a laid-back multi-generational celebration on the beach. The Aloha Beach Festival, held just west of the historic pier in Ventura, combines Hawaiian culture and athletics (i.e. an outrigger canoe race) with Southern California heritage and humor (as seen in the Old Guys Rule BZ Surf Contest — there are no winners, only many honorable mentions). This free festival takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 23-24.

World Music in the S.F. Bay & the Southwest

You’ve swooned to Shakira and watched countless samba/salsa/meringue renditions on the dance contest reality shows — but how much consideration have you ever given to that south-of-the-border soundtrack staple, el mariachi? Probably not too much. However, this under-respected subgenre a festival of its very own, complete with attending musical stars, luxury hotel sponsors, and a schedule of cultural activities. Now in its 17th year, the San Jose International Mariachi Festival takes place September 26-28 in California. Headliners include Pepe Aguilar, Los Tigres del Norte and Linda Rondstadt. This is the largest festival of its kind, and organizers see it not only as a world music showcase, but an important cultural heritage event — fittingly hosted by the United States’ fourth-largest consumer Latino market.

Speaking of world music … New Mexico is prepping to host the 4th annual !Globalquerque! world music festival on September 19-20, on the banks of the Rio Grande. Historic Southwestern setting notwithstanding, the event is inclusive to all cultures and musical genres: its program runs the gamut from Hawaiian rock (HAPA) to Sephardic/Ladino Israeli gypsy (Mor Karbasi) to Quebecois acoustic folk (Genticorum). Wonderfully diverse lineup, a full slate of educational and cultural side programs, and a limited number of mostly veggie food vendors. Venue: National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque, NM.

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Lena Katz lives on the Left Coast and writes about tropical islands, beach
clubs and ski resorts, but her heart belongs to NYC.

Tagged: California

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