Get ready for ... music fest season? Northern Invasion, Blue Ox reveal lineups

Northern Invasion 2017

Northern Invasion 2017 Deb Freytag

As the 2017 War on Christmas rages toward its epic conclusion, thoughts of warm sun, cool beers, and blaring amps seem light years away. 

But music festival season's most cherished ritual -- lineup unwrapping, of course -- is getting an early start for 2018. In the past week two major fests in western Wisconsin spilled deets: Northern Invasion (May 12-13) and Blue Ox Music Festival (June 14-16).

Let's start things off heavy with Northern Invasion, the annual onslaught of hard-rock bands at Somerset, Wisconsin's Somerset Amphitheater. This year will see cult-loved rockers Tool, alt-rock supergroup A Perfect Circle, grunge greats Alice in Chains, and, somewhat surprisingly, Stone Temple Pilots. Scott Weiland, former lead singer of that latter group, died of a drug overdose in Bloomington, Minnesota, two years ago; in November, the band announced their comeback with X Factor singer Jeff Gutt. 

Two-day passes to Northern Invasion -- $99.50-$199.50 -- are on sale now. Camping is extra; full lineup below. 

Things will be much mellower 75 miles east at Eau Claire's Whispering Pines Campground. That's where Blue Ox Music Festival will strum up its fourth annual cavalcade of bluegrass, roots, and Americana. As always, local bluegrassers Pert Near Sandstone will headline Friday and Saturday, with rising country star Margo Price, jam-inclined faves Greensky Bluegrass, and "newgrass" pioneer Sam Bush all lending their talents. 

Three-day passes to Blue Ox -- $159 -- are on sale now. Camping is extra; full lineup below.

Northern Invasion 2017

Avenged Sevenfold
A Perfect Circle
Alice In Chains
Breaking Benjamin
Stone Temple Pilots
The Used
Black Veil Brides
Asking Alexandria
I Prevail
Parkway Drive
Black Stone Cherry
Red Sun Rising
Andrew W.K.
10 Years
We Came As Romans
The Bronx
Dance Gavin Dance
Butcher Babies
Hawthorne Heights
New Years Day
Senses Fail
Stick To Your Guns
Miss May I
Like A Storm
The Fever 333
I See Stars
Mutoid Man
Cane Hill
Black Foxxes
The Blue Stones
Joyous Wolf
Spirit Animal
Stitched Up Heart
Big Story.

Blue Ox Music Festival 2017

Pert Near Sandstone
Greensky Bluegrass
The Devil Makes Three
Sam Bush
Del McCoury Band
Margo Price
The Infamous Stringdusters
The SteelDrivers
Horseshoes & Hand Grenades
Mandolin Orange
Billy Strings
Tyler Childers
Charlie Parr
Jeff Austin Band
Steep Canyon Rangers
Brothers Comatose Kitchen Dwellers
The Lil Smokies
Danny Barnes Trio
The Last Revel
The Tillers
Lindsay Lou
Them Coulee Boys
Pistol Whippin' Party Penguins
Chicken Wire Empire
Kind Country
Buffalo Gospel
Jack Klatt