Maryland Deathfest. The annual festival returns with some of the best band names in music, including headliners Napalm Death, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Sodom, Arcturus, and Obituary, just to name a few. Wear your best studded vest. May 21-24, various times, various locations, marylanddeathfest.com, $25-$175.
The Decemberists and Father John Misty. The Grammy-nominated storytelling folkies bring new, verbose jams from seventh album "What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World" to Columbia. June 4, 7:30 p.m., Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-5550, merriweathermusic.com, $38.50-$48.50.
Firefly Music Festival. Paul McCartney, Charlie XCX, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Snoop Dogg Morrissey, Modest Mouse, Kid Cudi, and Zedd are just some of the headliners at this huge four-day festival. June 18-21, The Woodlands, 1131 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, Delaware, (302) 883-6500, fireflyfestival.com, $299-$699.
Idina Menzel. Adele Dazeem—er, no. Idina Menzel, the singer best known for 'Let It Go' from Disney's "Frozen," performs pop and theater favorites in addition to songs from her own catalog. July 8, 8 p.m., The Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center, 12 N. Eutaw St., (410) 837-7400, france-merrickpac.com, $50.25-$122.75.
Ratscape. Celebration, Sexgender, Eze Jackson, Ami Dang, and many, many more of Baltimore's best bands pack into a small, sweaty space for three days of awesome music. July 17-19, various times, Hour Haus, 135 W. North Ave., facebook.com/RatscapeBaltimore
Sam Smith. Not long after winning all the Grammys, the English pop singer is touring with blue-eyed-soul hits such as 'Stay With Me,' 'Lay Me Down,' and 'Leave Your Lover.' July 24, 8 p.m., Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-5550, merriweathermusic.com, $45-$97.50.
Faith No More and The Refused. At some point, though we're not sure when, these Red Hot Chili Peppers acolytes became "a big deal." 'Epic' is a great jam, but really y'all? This? Anyway, they have a new album out. Aug. 2, 8 p.m., Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-5550,merriweathermusic.com, $40-$55.
Phish. The jam-band heroes jam for hours and hours on end, breaking out rare and classic jams and improvising jams in between. Good chance the po-po will make a drug bust in the parking lot, so be chill. Aug. 15-16, 7 p.m., Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-5550, merriweathermusic.com, $45-$65.
Darius Rucker, Brett Eldredge, Brothers Osborne, A Thousand Horses. Formerly the frontman of family-friendly pop act Hootie and the Blowfish, Rucker has had quite a second act as a popular country star. Aug. 22, 7 p.m., Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-5550, merriweathermusic.com, $40-$199.
Death Cab for Cutie and Explosions in the Sky. The indie sad sacks, fresh off the release of the more synth-y "Kintsugi," are joined by the instrumental-heavy post-rockers from Texas. Sept. 13, 7:30 p.m., Merriweather Post Pavilion, 10475 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, (410) 715-5550, merriweathermusic.com, $40-$55.
The Shindig. The best festival of 1999 rolls in with Godsmack, Stone Temple Pilots, Anthrax, Clutch, Chevelle, and more. Sept. 19, 1 p.m., Carroll Park, 1500 Washington Blvd., theshindigbaltimore.com, $60-$150.
Balticon. Featuring panels, artists, film screenings, and more, this convention for sci-fi and fantasy fans has a little bit of everything. Featured guests this year include Jo Walton, Ruth Sanderson, Erica Neely, Dr. Charles E. Gannon, and more. May 22-25, various hours, Hunt Valley Inn, 245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, balticon.org, $32 Friday, $45 Saturday, $40 Sunday, $65 full weekend.
Sowebo Arts and Music Festival. Shop from jewelers, artists, leather crafters, and designers, enjoy music on three stages from DELTAnine, TT The Artist, Blaqstarr, Fake Flowers Real Dirt, and others, and enjoy food at this street festival. May 24, noon-8 p.m., 1100 block of Hollins Street, soweboarts.org/festival.html, free.
Charles Village Festival. Head to scenic the Wyman Park Dell for food, arts and craft vendors, and music from The Cherry Pitts, Technicolor Motor Home, Obtuse, Hectic Red, and many more. There's a 5K Saturday at 8:30 a.m. May 30 11:30 a.m., May 31 12:30 p.m., Wyman Park, North Howard and West 29th streets,charlesvillagefestival.net, free.
Great Grapes Wine & Food Festival. Sample hundreds of wines, snack on food, enjoy live music, and shop for arts and crafts from various vendors. June 6-7, noon, Oregon Ridge Park, 13401 Beaver Dam Road, Cockeysville, uncorkthefun.com, $28-$79.
St. Anthony Italian Festival. Featuring vendors, food, music, kids activities, Italian food, wine, and beer in Baltimore's historic Italian enclave. June 6-7 at Little Italy, Stiles and Exeter streets, littleitalymd.com, free.
Chesapeake Crab & Beer Festival. Lots of crabs, lots of beer, and a spectacular Inner Harbor view. It's the best of a Baltimore summer all in one package. June 13, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m., Rash Field, 201 Key Highway, mdcrabfest.com, $89.
HonFest. Head to the Avenue in Hampden for beehive hairdos, cat's eye glasses, drinks, vendors, and more. June 13 11 a.m.-10 p.m., June 14 noon-6 p.m., 36th Street between Falls Road and Chestnut Avenue, honfest.net, free.
African American Festival. Sheila E., Faith Evans, and Doug E. Fresh are just a few of the musical headliners in this year's lineup. Attendees can also enjoy the beauty bar, beer garden, and Black Enterprise Empowerment Zone. June 20-21, Camden Yards Sports Complex, 1101 N. Russell St., africanamericanfestival.net.
Baltimore Pride. The city's LGBTQ community celebrates with a parade and block party on Saturday and a festival of music and entertainment on Sunday. Highlights include the high heel race, king and queen pageant, and date auction. July 25, 3:30 p.m., Mount Vernon, July 26, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Druid Hill Park, 2600 Madison Ave., (410) 777-8145, baltimorepride.org.
Fourth of July
A Capitol Fourth. The National Symphony Orchestra performs a patriotic concert before fireworks light up the National Mall in our nation's capital city. July 4, 8 p.m., west lawn of the U.S. Capitol, East Capitol and First streets, Washington, D.C., pbs.org/a-capitol-fourth, free.
Catonsville July 4th Celebration. This year's parade celebrates Catonsville's public servants. The festivities end with a fireworks display billed as the best in Maryland. Everything kicks off early in the morning with a bike ride and kids' games. July 4, 8:30 a.m., Catonsville High School, 421 Bloomsbury Ave., Catonsville, (410) 455-9648,catonsvillecelebrations.org.
Inner Harbor Fireworks. Listen to live music from the U.S. Navy Cruisers Band at the Inner Harbor amphitheater before watching a fireworks display over the water. July 4, 7 p.m., 201 E. Pratt St., promotionandarts.org.
July 4th: Visionary Pets On Parade. Dress your pet up in his or her patriotic best and take part in a parade of America-loving animals. Prizes are awarded for best costume, most patriotic, most visionary pet, owner and pet look-alikes, least likely to succeed as a pet, and visionary pet tricks. July 4, 10 a.m., American Visionary Art Museum, 800 Key Highway, (410) 244-1900, avam.org, free.
"Avenue Q." Puppets and actors tell the story of a young man's post-college identity crisis through song and dance. Through May 30, Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 811 Cathedral St., stillpointetheatre.com, $20-$24.
"The Business End." A young idealistic writer of B-movies starts to lose his grip on things when art and commerce become intertwined. Through May 31, Yellow Sign Theatre, 1726 N. Charles St., facebook.com/
"Blind From Here." Directed by Stephen Nunns, this Single Carrot original focuses on an indie band about to get its big break when things take a turn for the worst after the lead singer starts to lose her vision. June 5-28, Single Carrot Theatre, 2600 N. Howard St., (443) 844-9253, singlecarrot.com, $25, seniors, students, and artists $18.
One Man Star Wars Trilogy. Ever wonder what it would be like if the scene in "Empire Strikes Back" where Darth Vader tells Luke Skywalker he is his father was acted by one man who had to converse with himself? Find out about that and other classic moments from the original "Star Wars" trilogy. June 19 at Baltimore Soundstage, 124 Market Place, (410) 244-0057, baltimoresoundstage.com, $30, advance $25, VIP $40.
"The Pillow Book." Cohesion Theatre Company and The Strand Theater Company present the surreal, parallel stories of a couple, Deb and John. June 25-July 12, The Church on The Square, 1025 S. Potomac Ave., cohesiontheatre.org, $20.
Bill Maher. Everyone's favorite crotchety left-leaning comic and commentator is in town to tell you just how fucked up things still are in Washington. July 11, 8 p.m., Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 900-1150, lyricoperahouse.com, $55-$100.
Impractical Jokers Starring The Tenderloins. The troupe of Sal Vulcano, Joe Gatto, James "Murr" Murray, and Brian "Q" Quinn present a stage show inspired by their truTV hit of the same name. Aug. 1, 7 p.m., Patricia and Arthur Modell Performing Arts Center at the Lyric, 140 W. Mount Royal Ave., (410) 900-1150, lyricoperahouse.com, $49.50-$200.
"Urinetown: The Musical." Stillpointe stages the satirical musical that skewers all the aspects of municipal politics. Aug. 13-Sept. 5, location TBA, stillpointetheatre.com.