Vineland FestivalAn ice storm is currently pummeling the Midwest United States and Christmas preparations are still being made, but already the schedule for summer 2008 is brimming with music festivals, with still more squeezing their way into the game. The latest to emerge is Vineland, scheduled for August 8-10 in Vineland, New Jersey.

While many new, large-scale festivals have unsuccessfully tried to gain a solid footing in the U.S. market—Virgin Fest in Baltimore or the recent Echo Fest in Atlanta are prime examples, as it’s unclear whether either will return—industry insiders are giving Vineland a much more serious examination given its promoters: C3 Presents and Festival Republic.

While C3 Presents has expanded the success of the legendary television show Austin City Limits into an equally successful three-day music festival of the same name, and rejuvenated Lollapalooza into a viable (and reliable) annual concert in Chicago, it’s Festival Republic (formerly Mean Fiddler) that’s raising eyebrows. As founders and promoters of the United Kingdom’s biggest music festivals—Glastonbury, Reading, and Leeds—they bring an experience and vision that few, if any, U.S.-based festivals can match. Case in point: the capacity for Glastonbury was recently raised to 177,500 making it the world’s largest music/performing arts festival. That’s almost twice the size of the Bonnaroo Music Festival, one of the U.S.’s largest festivals with 80,000. In fact, Superfly Presents, founder and co-promoters of Bonnaroo, were largely inspired by Festival Republic’s events and, as such, put their own distinctive spin on a homemade festival.

With few of the summer festival lineups announced—save for Langerado—it’s an anticipatory game of who announces initial lineups when. One can be sure that there is plenty of jockeying behind the scenes to secure talent, and particularly headlining talent. Things reached a fever pitch recently with Bonnaroo rumors abounding about Metallica and Led Zeppelin. To quell rumblings, Superfly issued a statement saying, “The rumors that are out there about the Bonnaroo 2008 headliners are inaccurate. We’re very excited about the lineup that we’re putting together for this year’s festival. We’ll be announcing the confirmed lineup towards the end of January, beginning of February.”

It’s clear that C3 and Festival Republic are looking to leverage the Chicago-based Lollapalooza with the New Jersey-based Vineland, as the two are a week apart. That means while many festivals rely on bands’ national tour routing to determine offers and inclusion, C3 and Festival Republic can make an offer to a non-touring band for two festivals, and most likely allow them to book non-compete shows in cities in between. This potentially gives C3 and Festival Republic a few aces up their sleeves, a sure necessity when entering an already packed festival season.—Josh Baron