Music festivals in USA aren’t just about the Coachellas and EDCs, you know?
Heading to America for the quintessential summer holiday? Well here’s the essential and mammoth summer festival list you’ve all been waiting for.
March 11 to 20
Little do we know, but SXSW that takes place in Texas, every year is the proverbial champion of all things Indie. What was what a small indie festival of music,art, film and literature has transformed into an international hotbed and meeting point for the exploration of the arts. This year, the festival will be celebrating its 30 anniversary!
2. Ultra Music Festival
March 18 to 20
(Image Courtesy : AGP)
Hordes of people descend upon Miami every March to witness this epic music festival. Despite its expansion into other genres, the roots of Ultra are planted firmly in electronic dance music.
(Image Courtesy : UMF Miami/Facebook)
3. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
April 15 to 17
Coachella has everything you’d like at a music festival — spellbinding music to innovative art installations and amazing, not to mention extremely fashion forward, people. Since its inception in 1999, there are few gatherings that can step up to the standards that Coachella has set up , be it in terms of – production, hand picked line – up, people, organization – Coachella never fails to draw aces year after year.
(Images Courtesy: Fest300)
4. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Aprill 22 to May 1
(Image Courtesy: Fest300/Art Gimbel)
It is only apt that the birthplace of Jazz music should be home to one of the world’s most famous Jazz and Heritage festivals. The festival popularly dubbed as Jazz Fest was first held in 1970 when Mahalia Jackson (the greatest gospel singer of all time) performed. What followed was a massive increase in visibility of the festival. This massive event is held every April and May and has often had the largest number of festival attendees. Over the years, the festival has opened its arms to many more genres, like when The Foo Fighters headlined the festival in 2012.
Bethel Woods, New York
June 10 to 13
Mysteryland is the longest-running electronic music, culture and arts festival in the world, active since 1993 with international editions in Chile, the Netherlands and the United States. Taking place in June, it’s third instalment will expand to present an even more satisfying festival experience, starting with new-and-improved campgrounds with increased capacity and camping options, plus more musical programming to offer camp-ground visitors a full three-day festival experience.
(Image Courtesy :mysteryland.us/en/info/)
Gulf Shores, Alabama, United States
May 20 to 23, 2016
(Image Courtesy : Taylor Hill/Hangout Music Festival)
Hangout is legitimately a representation of America’s spring breaks! Fun loving people take it to the beach for some good ol’ music, parties, beer and lots of fun. Perhaps what makes Hangout America’s favourite beach festival. Plus, along with the brilliant artists who become a part of its line-up, the festival also enjoys good reviews for its environmental friendliness!
(Image Courtesy : Taylor Hill/Hangout Music Festival)
May 27 to 30
The beautiful location of Sasquatch! itself bears great historical significance to America. The George, endowed with a scenic vision of hills along with the Columbia river is a natural amphitheatre that can seat upto 20,000 people. Not only is Sasquatch! one of the most beautifully picturesque music festivals, but its impressive line-up makes it that much popular!
Durham, North Carolina, United States
May 19 to 22
Moogfest is a glorious celebration of electronic music and performance along with technology, film, experimentation, art – anything that comes under the umbrella of creativity. The festival was started in 2004 as a way to celebrate to celebrate Moog Music and it’s founded Robert Moog, who invented the modern analog synthesizer. Set in the beautiful and far off landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, the festival is one of the country’s finest and well kept secrets.
9. Lightning In A Bottle
May 25 to 30
LIB takes place sometime around May at the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, CA. The focus of LIB is on absolute freedom. You are on your own schedule and get to decide exactly what you want to be doing at any given time. Lightning in a Bottle describes itself as “a celebration of Art, Sustainability, Music, Performance, and Life Itself.” It resembles a crossroads between spectacle and community: somewhere between the musical enormity of festivals such as Coachella or EDC and the visual art, musical taste, and sense of involvement at Burning Man.
10. California Roots Music And Arts Festival
May 27 to 29
For those of you looking for a festival that will bring that legendary reggae vibe, this Californian-bred event is where you need to be this summer. With a lineup consisting of the most iconic and unique reggae, rock and hip-hop artists, the festival had its humble beginnings with 1700 attending the first event back in 2010. Held on hallowed grounds of Monterey Fairgrounds, California Roots is one of those laidback festivals of good vibes, good weed and great dreadlocks.
11. Movement Electronic Music Festival
May 28 to 30
Over 100,00 people gather in Detroit every year to dance away Memorial Weekend at Detroit’s legendary riverfront venue, Hart Plaza. With 6 outdoor stages and more than 140 performances, Movement Festival 2016 is going to leave Techno and House lovers spoiled for choice. Last year, The Movement Mainstage was headlined by three colossal acts Richie Hawtin, Snoop Dogg as DJ Snoopadelic, and Dog Blood (Skrillex and Boys Noize). It’s rare and wonderful to see hard hitting underground acts like Recondite and Dixon play the mainstage at a massive festival in USA. Movement is truly a unique festival and it has been rightfully ranked #2 on Beatport’s 15 Incredible Techno Festivals to Hit in 2015.
June 9 to 12
Bonnaroo gains as much traction for its brilliant line-up as it does for its art installations, making it one of the few commercial festivals to place equal emphasis on both. The success of it has actually inspired other large-scale festivals to inculcate experiences of other arts to go beyond the music space. The festival’s contribution to American music history is arguably one of the shiniest.
13. Governor’s Ball
Randall Island, New York City
June 3 to 5
‘GovBall’ is an exceptionally organised festival that was founded in 2011, and has a well-balanced line-up that has attracted a vast North American audience in its brief life span.Briefly criticised for its muddy 2013 edition, the festival has otherwise only generated positive reviews. 2015 saw Drake headlining the festival, while this year’s edition will feature the likes of Kanye West and Beck among other great musicians. Govball is the quintessential summertime fest, which is also a great and cheaper alternative to Coachella.
14. Firefly Music Festival
June 16 to 19
Firefly Music Festival is worth a go for purely the line-up alone, one of the best this season. Featuring legendary acts like Kings of Leon, Mumford & Sons, Disclosure, Of Monsters And Men, Chvrches, The Neighbourhood and so many more!
15. Electric Forest
June 23 to 26
There’s a lot to be said about Electric Forest, the young festival held each year in the woods of Rothbury, Michigan. Approaching its 6th year, Electric Forest continues to redefine the festival experience one year at a time; featuring musicians from all sides of the spectrum and some of the most talented, yet unknown artists in America. With gorgeous displays of lights, scenery and stages, the production value of the festival is on par with some of the best music festivals in the world. This has created a loyal and devoted fan base, whose passion for this festival knows no bounds. To thank those loyal fans who have attended previous instalments of the festival, Electric Forest has created two different loyalty programmes that offer these guests a discounted opportunity to return to the Sherwood Forest for the 2015 celebration. The 2016 edition will be no less.
15. Electric Daisy Carnival
Las Vegas, Nevada
July 17 to 19
An electrifying 3-day dance party which initiated back in 1997, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is a traditional electronic music festival with DJs at its forefront, shelling out the best of ‘EDM’. Having now spread out over international grounds including Puerto Rico, Mexico and the UK, the ever-growing popularity of EDC is what keeps the organisers investing in this elaborate aesthetic year after year.
16. Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
Brooklyn, New York City
July, dates TBA
If you’re someone interested in Hip-Hop and the culture associated with it, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival will be the ideal place fro you to continue your education. This cultural event, celebrates and hosts a multitude of musicians, artists, visual producers, authors and dancers from Brooklyn and all over the world. The major aim of the festival is to portray black culture in the most positive of ways, setting forth how the troubles of black people in America can be expressed through various art forms.
(Image Courtesy: Robert Adam Mayer/Fest300)
July 29 to 31
Lollapalooza is a signal of American grandness as it combines artists from rock, pop, metal and electronic, across variation onto a single platform. Happening bang in the middle of Chicago, the festival is urban, cool and brings together a mammoth number of music fans.
18. Pitchfork Music Festival
July, dates TBA
The quaintly affordable but highly intelligent Pitchfork Music Festival celebrated decade of its run at Chicago’s Union Park, with an eclectic mix of incredible music talent. One can trust the euphoniously fluent Pitchfork media to put together a festival that renders good service to the best music has to offer. This can explain why the Pitchfork Music Festival line-up has continued to remain one highly admired for its inclusion of names that go on to provide quality addition to musical culture.
Seattle’s pride and joy all wrapped into a beautiful music festival, Bumbershoot is honestly a sight to behold.This 45 year old festival is not truly a music festival. Vociferously dedicated to the arts, Bumbershoot brings together music, comedy, literature, theatre and cinema on a singular platform, making it one of America’s most important cultural events. The first weekend of September this year will see artistes of various, multitude talents come together to deliver a truly artful show. Along with the arts, Bumbershoot also offers wacky activities making the festival experience truly wholesome.
September, dates TBA
Decibel Festival is like the ADE of America, with no lack visual showcases and live art and music. This years edition is hosting over 130 artists from 15 different countries, 25 club showcases across 11 premier venues and will include a 3 day conference. To top that all off, expect some bangin’ boat parties. Seattle really comes alive during Decibel with around 25000 participants, spectators and visitors attending. The features workshops, shows, conferences and pop-up art displays and of course, the music – effectively reinventing live music. To have massively popular headliners is not a mantra Decibel follows. Over the years, Decibel has provided a platform for talented artistes before they got famous like James Blake, Deadmau5, Jon Hopkins and Lorde making it an event you go to to discover new music.
21. Life Is Beautiful
September, dates TBA
With music festivals existing by the thousands, and the social movements that are bearing fruit the world over, simultaneously, more and more festivals are exploring the idea of conversation-fueled music festival experiences, so attendees can walk away with a prolonged idea, in addition to the extravagant experience. A TED-talks meet art display, would be an apt way to put it. One of the leading frontrunners of such an idea is the Life is Beautiful Festival. At the world’s quintessential party capital, Life is Beautiful brings together exceptional musical talent, art displays, and speakers delivering talks that extend from their life experiences to social change.
22. Austin City Limits
September/October (two weekends)
Austin City Limits is southern USA’S biggest family-friendly music fest held smack dab in the middle of Austin. The festival, known for its great music, people and quintessential southern vibe, is playing host to around 130 artistes over two weekends. ACL is a great place to enjoy amazing local cuisine and take your family along for a weekend of summer chillin’.
The perfect way to end the US summer music festival season, would be to head over to California for San Fran’s iconic and relaxed Hardly Stictly Bluegrass. The free for all festival is a testament to Cali’s relaxed vibe, as it is funded by a extremely generous human being, who also happens to be a billionaire and a bluegrass fanatic. San Francisco’s Gold Gate Park comes alive every October with this amazing festival.