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6 Southern music festivals worth a concert road trip

This year, April showers will bring May flowers and also some swell springtime music festivals.

»RELATED: 6 fairly odd food festivals for the Georgia foodie’s 2018 bucket list

Hopefully, singin' in the rain won't be necessary, just manageable drives to festival venues in the not-too-far-from-Atlanta areas.

Even if you can only hold out for a spring weekend away, there are a variety of performances, genres and non-music attractions to choose from, along with diverse price points. Here's a selection of springtime music festivals worth the drive from Atlanta this March through June:

Big Ears Festival, Knoxville, Tennessee

March 22-25

General admission weekend passes start at $200; Premier weekend passes start at $350; VIP passes start at $600 and first-come, first-serve movie festival passes are $50.

Billing itself as an "international cultural gathering," Big Ears offers a dynamic, interactive experience that crosses all musical genres and hooks up with film and the visual and performing arts along the way. This year's lineup has a dizzying array of diverse acts, from Abigail Washburn and Wu Fei to Bela Fleck and the Knoxville Symphony Strings, along with a complete film fest. 

Beale Street Music Festival is part of the Memphis in May International Festival. (Contributed by Memphis in May International Festival/For the AJC)

Beale Street Music Festival, Memphis, Tennesee

May 4-6, 2018

Three-day passes range $105-$165, with prices increasing the later you buy tickets; VIP experience $595 or $695 with parking included; single day ticket information available closer to festival time. 

The tuneful portion of the Memphis in May International Festival, the much-awarded BSMF, as it's affectionately known, is a very manageable three-day weekend from Atlanta. This year's performers won't be released until later in February, hence the price reductions for buying passes early. But just the first eight names on last year's lineup included Kings of Leon, Soundgarden, Widespread Panic, Snoop Dogg, Sturgill Simpson, Death Cab for Cutie, Wiz Khalifa and MGMT, so you can safely anticipate a hipster, Americana and just generally stellar musical selection.

Plum Hollow Alternative Bluegrass Festival, Campobello, South Carolina

May 24-26, 2018

$75 for 3-day pass, $55 Fri-Sat pass, $30 one-day pass, includes camping, parking and all concerts.

Plum Hollow Farm, 5015 Rainbow Lake Road, Campobello, S.C. 

They won't be playing Lionel Richie, but this festival is always easy like Sunday morning. Dedicated to the innovations made by creative artists breaking new ground with an old music, the music includes alt Bluegrass to the tune of New Grass, Grunge Grass, Jazz Grass and Bluegrass Rock & Roll. You can bring your own instrument for impromptu jams, and camping is encouraged, RV or teepee.

Hangout Music Fest, Gulf Shores, Alabama

May 18-20, 2018

General 3-day admission starts at $269; VIP $1,099, Super VIP $1,599. Prices go up Feb. 18.

This multi-genre music festival is designed to thrill adults, from the beach and party atmosphere to the music. This year's lineup isn't out yet, but it's bound to include rock, indie, hip-hop and electronic dance music like past performances by Panic At the Disco, Lenny Kravitz and the like. VIP passes include adult beverages throughout the fest and everyone gets to enjoy the Gulf Shores under the Alabama sun. 

Seth and Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers get hot playing the final day of the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, in Manchester, Tenn.

Bonnaroo Manchester, Tennessee

June 7-10, 2018

Four-day general admission starts at $325, VIP $1648.

Bonnaroo was born in 2002, but the camp fest outside of TKTK just never gets old. Four days and 10 stages of rock-solid rock, innovative music in so many genres and sideshows from comedy to a silent disco, as well as Bonnaroo Cinema, have kept the spirit alive. The lineup oozes the "something for everyone" strategy, also the age-old "too many to mention." Let's just say a few of the three main draws are Eminem, The Killers and Muse, and the list below them feels like a mile long. It's a place to meet up with friends, long-lost buddies and friends you haven't met yet. The accommodations set the semi-Woodstock tone, camping with wifi, karaoke, showers, celebrity surprises, late night parties and whatnot. 

www.hangoutmusicfest.com/  
Hangout Music Fest, Gulf Shores, Ala.  
May 18-May 20, 2018  
This multi-genre music festival is designed to thrill adults, from the beach and party atmosphere to the music. This year's line-up isn't out yet, but it's bound to include rock, indie, hip hop and electronic dance music like past performance by Panic At the Disco, Lenny Kravitz and the like. VIP passes include adult beverages throughout the fest and everyone gets to enjoy the Gulf Shores under the Alabama sun. General 3-day admission starts at $269; VIP $1,099, Super VIP $1,599. Prices go up Feb. 18.  

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