One wonders, as the online downloading thing takes hold, whether summer concerts and festivals will be similarly assimilated. Imagine paying your hundred bucks to a Web site, and rather than driving, parking and pitching a tent, you get a 30-megabyte download of a whole weekend, complete with bands, inclement weather and a long, rambling midnight conversation with a guy named Chickpea. Let's hope we'll never get there, but if we do, I have the patent. For the rest of the music-loving primitives, here are our recommendations for the music coming through (and near) the state this summer. --- Brandon Reynolds
MAYLord of the Rings:
The Fellowship of the Ring
Wolf Trap, May 21-22
Performances at 8:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$55.
Howard Shore's symphony with a high-def screening of the film. Frodo is played by a fluegelhorn. Details: 877-965-3872; www.wolftrap.org
Hampden-Sydney Music Festival
Hampden-Sydney College, near Farmville, May 23-24 and 30-31
Concerts at 8 p.m. Tickets: $18.
Pianists James Tocco and William Wolfram, the Amernet String Quartet and others in chamber music showing the romantic side of Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schumann, Debussy and others. Details: 434-223-6273; www2.hsc.edu/musicfestival/2008
The Garth Newel Piano Quartet
Garth Newel Music Center in Bath County, May 23-25, and Saturdays-Sundays, July 12-Aug. 31
Tickets: $20 (concert), $70 (concert and dinner).
The quartet and guests in chamber music programs through the summer. Get a pregame soak at nearby Hot Springs or equally nearby Warm Springs. Details: (877) 558-1689; www.garthnewel.org
JUNESugarland and Dierks Bentley
Richmond Raceway Complex, Sunday, June 1
Gates: 3 p.m. Tickets: $25-$45.
The K95 Country Fest provides some new country hits for a summer night. Be careful you don't get drunk and wake up enlisted. Details: www.k95country.com
Fredericksburg Music Festival
Trinity Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg, June 3, 5-6
Concerts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25.
Pianist Michele Levin, violinists Peter Zazofsky and Bayla Keyes, violist Steven Ansell, cellist Marc Johnson, clarinetist Alex Fiterstein and others battle D.C. traffic to perform chamber music by Brahms, Fauré, Schubert, Mozart, Dohnanyi and others. Details: (540) 374-5040; www.fredfest.org
Dr. Dog and The Palominos
Friday Cheers on Brown's Island, Friday, June 6
Gates: 6:30 p.m. Free.
Friday Cheers shows it's changing its game a little by bringing in bands such as indie-pop charmers Dr. Dog. Look for former Drive By Trucker Jason Isbell to return to Richmond June 20. Details: 788-6466; www.venturerichmond
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers with Steve Winwood
Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Sunday, June 8
Gates: 6 p.m. Tickets: $49.50-$125.
Nice of Petty to give a cut of his outrageous ticket prices to Mr. Fantasy. Details: 703-754-6400; www.livenation.com
Shenandoah Valley Bach Festival
Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, June 8, 13-15
Classical guitarist Michael Partington in Rodrigo and Castelnuovo-Tedesco and composer and cellist Eugene Friesen in his own works, alongside music of Bach and Vivaldi. Details: 540-432-4582; www.emu.edu/bach
Taj Mahal Trio
Toad's Place, Friday, June 13
Doors: 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25-$37.50.
Maybe Jenna Bush and new Richmond hubby Henry Hager will drop by and re-create their wedding dance to Taj Mahal's song "Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes." Details: 648-TOAD; www.toadsplacerva.com
Gogol BordelloToad's Place, Thursday, June 19
Doors: 8 p.m. Tickets: $17.50-$20.
Hot pick: These crazy Eastern Europeans have been getting critical kudos for their wildly theatrical gypsy rock shows in New York City. Wear your lime-green Borat thong. Details: 648-TOAD; www.toadsplacerva.com
Phil Lesh and Friends
Innsbrook After Hours, Tuesday, June 17
Gates: 5:30 p.m. Tickets: $15-$35.
The turtle-like bassist from the Grateful Dead has a new liver and a new band, but the same old dirt twirlers with twinkles in their eyes. Details: 794-6700; www.innsbrookafterhours.com
Pearl Jam with Kings of Leon
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, Tuesday, June 17
Gates: 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $42-$62.
Raise your cell phones up for Jeremy, who has spoken. Do the same for Kings of Leon, who have howled in tight jeans.
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, Saturday, June 21
Doors: 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $29.50-$105.
"Sing us a song, Mr. Piano Man! And we'll pay for your next Hamptons pad / 'Cause we're all in the mood for a melody, and a few songs you wrote weren't half bad oh la de da, diddy dah ..." Details: 757-368-3000; www.livenation.com
311, Snoop Dogg and Fiction Plane
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, Tuesday, July 22
Gates: 6 p.m. Tickets: $37-$47.50.
Snoop Dogg no longer rolls with gangstas now that he knows that blunted suburban white boys butter his bread. Fiction Plane's frontman is Sting's kid, by the way.
Details: 757-368-3000; www.livenation.com
Summer Slaughter Tour (featuring Black Dahlia Murder, Kataklysm and more)
The National, Sunday, June 29
Doors: 4 p.m. Tickets: $20.
Pack your lozenges for this throat-ravaging metal festival, the kind of antisocial tunes most often found in CIA torture chambers or teen death fantasies. Details: 612-1900; www.thenationalva.com
Modest Mouse and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Charlottesville Pavilion, Sunday, June 29
Gates: 6 p.m. Tickets: $35.
Bouncy emo rock features the multitalents of former Richmonder and ex-King Sour bassist, Tom Peloso.
Details: 434-817-0220; www.charlottesvillepavilion.com
JULYAsh Lawn Opera Festival
Ash Lawn, 1000 James Monroe Parkway near Monticello, July 5-Aug. 10
Performances at 8 p.m. Tickets: $28.
As though Monticello isn't a classy enough outfit, right down the road, the Lerner & Loewe musical "My Fair Lady," Bizet's "Carmen" and concerts by the company's singers run throughout the summer in the boxwood gardens. Details: 800-594-8499; www.ashlawnopera.org
Crue Fest with Motley Crue, Buckcherry, Papa Roach, Sixx:A.M. and Trapt
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, July 6
Gates: 4 p.m. Tickets: $35.50-$101.
How could Motley Crue put their crud-metal stamp on a festival with a bunch of crappy, D-grade rockers? Oh yeah, they shoot whisky into their veins instead of drinking it. Details: 757-368-3000; www.livenation.com
Weird Al Yankovic
The National, July 8
Doors: 7 p.m. Tickets: $30.
Come on. It's Weird Al. Can you really say you've never wanted to see him? It's like finally succumbing to your cousin's advances: You know it's strange, but there's just something so familiar about the whole thing. Details: 612-1900; www.thenationalva.com
The National, Friday, July 11
Doors: 8 p.m. Tickets: $25.
"Punky Brewster" grows up to stomp on the groin of injustice. Details: 612-1900; www.thenationalva.com
Wolf Trap, July 11, 13, 15
Performances at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets: $28-$68.
Not to be outdone by Monty Python's play on his "Messiah," Handel's own fantasy an opera based on Ariosto's poem "Orlando Furioso" stars sorceress Alcina, who turns her lovers into trees and critters. Details: 877-965-3872; www.wolftrap.org
Vans Warped Tour (featuring Pennywise and others)
Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, Tuesday, July 15
Gates: 11 a.m. Tickets: $25.83-$31.83.
This skate thing is still going? Rad. Details: 757-368-3000; www.livenation.com
Ntelos Wireless Pavilion in Portsmouth, Saturday, July 19
Doors: 7 p.m. Tickets: $35.
The Southern-fried jam band that many old heads flock to featuring former Richmonder, Dave Schools, on bass. Details: 757-393-8181;
Eric Idle and friends in Idle's "Not the Messiah! (He's a Very Naughty Boy)"
Wolf Trap, July 24
Performance at 8:15 p.m. Tickets: $20-$55.
Eric Idle's follow-up to Broadway hit "Spamalot" plunders more Monty Python booty this "comic oratorio" borrows from both the controversial "Life of Brian" and the slightly more venerable Handel's "Messiah." Idle will warble. Details: 877-965-3872; www.wolftrap.org
Floydfest 7 (featuring the Avett Brothers, Amos Lee, David Grisman and others)
Floyd (off Blue Ridge Parkway), July 24-27
Tickets: $25-$140 (four-day pass)
Our own homespun outdoor festival is one of the most beautiful settings in the state for a good-natured hippie debauch. Details: 540-745-FEST; www.atwproductions.com
Shenandoah Valley Music Festival
Orkney Springs Hotel in Shenandoah County, July 25-26
Performances at 8 p.m. Tickets: $25-$35.
Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, Paul Gambill conducting, in "Gypsy Nights," featuring John Jorgenson Quintet in Jorgenson's "Tarentella and Reverie" (July 25) and "An International Night of the Dance," including Astor Piazzolla's Concerto for bandone¢n with soloist Raul Jaurena, and works by Debussy, Ravel and Kodaly (July 26). Details: 800-459-3396; www.musicfest.org
Bob Marley Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival with the Marley Brothers
Wolf Trap, Sunday, July 27
Time: 2 p.m. Tickets: $25-$42.
Wouldn't it be funny if, just for a laugh, the sons of Bob Marley decided to cover Eddie Murphy's SNL reggae tune, "Kill the White People"? Sorry, bad vibes. Details: 877-965-3872; www.wolftrap.org
Charlottesville Pavilion, Tuesday, July 29
Gates: 7 p.m. Tickets: $31.50-$51.50.
The redheaded stranger rarely disappoints, even when he's so high he can't see. Details: 434-817-0220; www.charlottesvillepavilion.com
Bon Air Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Aug. 3, 10, 17, 24
Concerts at 3 p.m. Tickets: $16.
Richmond Chamber Players perform works by Dvorak, Poulenc, Mozart, Brahms, Dohnanyi and Prokofiev with guest soprano Lisa Edwards-Burrs performing songs by Richmond composer Allan Blank Aug. 10 and the Piano Trio by Hampton Roads' Adolphus Hailstork Aug. 17. Details: 340-1405 (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts events desk).
73rd Annual Galax Old Fiddler's Convention
Felts Park in Galax, Aug. 4-9
Tickets: $6-$12 daily; season ticket: $40; camping: $70 per site.
One thing that Virginia has got over the rest of the country: fiddler competitions. Details: 276-236-8541; www.oldfiddlersconvention.com
Judas Priest, Heaven and Hell, Motorhead and Testament
Nissan Pavilion in Bristow, Thursday, Aug. 7
Gates: 4:30 p.m. Tickets: TBA.
Hells yeah. This one should be filmed for posterity: "Heavy Metal Parking Lot 2008."
Details: 703-754-6400; www.livenation.com
Virgin Music Festival (featuring Foo Fighters, Kanye West, Wilco, Bob Dylan, Iggy and the Stooges and others)
Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Aug. 9-10
If massive, sweaty crowds and overpriced swag are your thing, this one offers quite a mix of talent. Look for Dylan to sing Iggy's "I Wanna Be Your Dog" and still make it unintelligible. Details: www.virginfestival.com
Cheap Trick, Heart and Journey Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre in Virginia Beach, Tuesday, Aug. 12
Gates: 6 p.m. Tickets: $25-$125.
The '80s power balladeers gather to hit that secret note that instantly feathers everyone's hair. Definitely enough classic rock tunes between them to kill a few hours. Details: 757-368-3000; www.livenation.com
Buddy Guy and George ThorogoodCharlottesville Pavilion, Tuesday, Aug. 12
Gates: 6 p.m. Tickets: $35-$50.
Two great slide players only one real blues legend: Mr. Buddy Guy. Details: 434-817-0220; www.charlottesvillepavilion.com
Dokken and Poison
Innsbrook After Hours, Wednesday, Aug. 13
Gates: 6:30 p.m. Tickets: $20-$25.
Whatever happened to all your old high school friends with mullets and bad taste in music? This hair metal extravaganza is a good place to find out. Details: 794-6700; www.innsbrookafterhours.com
Staunton Music Festival
Trinity Episcopal Church and Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Aug. 15-24
Performances at 7 p.m. Tickets: $18 (concerts), $26 (opera).
Harpsichordist-conductor Carsten-Schmidt and friends in chamber, orchestral and choral works by Vivaldi, Bach, Schumann, Berg, Messiaen and others (Trinity Episcopal Church); and Handel's opera "Acis and Galatea" (Blackfriars Playhouse). Details: 540-569-0267; www.stauntonmusicfestival.com