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10 Best Summer Music Festivals You're Not Seeing

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- Giant music festivals haven't been a symbol of rebellion or free expression since the fences came down at Yasgur's Farm. In 2012, they're big-budget events that need corporate backing.

It's not always as overt as the Bud(BUD) Light Summer Concert Series, but corporate involvement is as inextricably tied to the summer music experience as mud patches or fragrant puffs of smoke that occasionally emanate from the crowd. Those deep pockets helped the music industry increase global ticket sales 15% and boost attendance 1.2% in 2011 despite having 20% fewer live shows than it did in 2010, according to Billboard.

With average attendance up 27.3% and average gross profit soaring 45% in 2011, we took a look at some of the biggest festivals of summer 2012 to see which companies went all-in with sponsorship:

Hangout Music Festival
Date: May 18-20, Gulf Shores, Ala.
Corporate backer: General Motors (GM)

Anheuser-Busch InBev, Microsoft(MSFT) Xbox and Sirius XM (SIRI) are helping the bros bro up this brodown, but GM's Chevrolet gets top billing when Umphrey's McGee, Dispatch, The String Cheese Incident and Red Hot Chili Peppers take the stage. The $159 to $209 three-day passes are sold out, but an $849 VIP pass gets free beer and drinks, early access, private restrooms and entry to the main stage VIP swimming pools when the pope of aging frat boys, Dave Matthews, takes the stage with his band on the festival's last day.

Date: May 25-28, George, Wash.
Corporate backer: esurance(ALL)

It's not great that the esurance logo mucks up otherwise perfectly quirky retro posters and ads or that Kokanee beer, Honda(HMC) and Verizon(VZ) leave their stamp on the fest as well, but it's tough to argue the result. The four-day pass is $315, but is offered with $170 to $375 upgrades that include better stage access, showers and views of the Columbia River Gorge. Sounds expensive, but even the base price gets fans more than $130 worth of acts including Jack White, Beck, Bon Iver, Feist, The Shins, Metric and a Portlandia live show.

CMA Music Festival
Date: June 7-10, Nashville, Tenn.
Corporate backers: General Motors, American Airlines (AMR) and Anheuser-Busch Inbev (BUD)

This is about as big as country music festivals get, and the 65 acts that fans get for their $135 four-day ticket (the last available) are pretty formidable. That corporate subsidy gives fans a view of contemporary stars such as The Band Perry, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum and Brad Paisley, but also includes legends including Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell, the Oak Ridge Boys and Mel Tillis.

Date: June 7-10, Manchester, Tenn.
Corporate backers: Ford(F) , Dell(DELL) , Garnier Fructis and MolsonCoors(TAP)