You’ve probably already heard people talking about them… "Are you hitting up the Roo this year?" "Wanna go to Hangout?" "Are you tryin' to make Feel Good?" Without previous exposure to or experience with music festivals, these questions could be confused for daily convos regarding plans for the night or potential pick-up lines. However, once you’ve entered the world of music festivals, it is easy to figure out when someone is talking about an upcoming festival. As music festivals are currently a pretty big deal with most college students, you should at least enrich your vocabulary with a little of the lingo so you don’t look stupid in front of that cute, effortlessly cool guy in your Environmental Science class.
Without giving a heady testament of why I think festivals are the greatest gift to mankind, I will say that a music festival is for sure one experience you definitely need to try once before you die. It could be the most exhilarating and life-changing thing you’ve ever done, but regardless, you will definitely not regret it.
For all of you who aren’t professional festivalheads, here is a little info on some of the more popular music festivals to help with the decision of which is right for you. Click the heading to get more info on each festival and their complete line-up.
1. Bonnaroo- Manchester, TN—June 7-10th 2012
If you’re looking for a modern Woodstock, this is definitely the best option. With what I think is the most versatile and celebrated lineup offered, Bonnaroo has something for everyone. This year’s lineup features The Beach Boys, Phish, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Avett Brothers, Foster the People, Ludacris, and many other up and coming bands. Bonnaroo also has a beer tent that features brewing industries from all over the world and a comedy tent, with comedians like Aziz Ansari. For sleeping at night, you have the option of sleeping in a tent and staying on the site all four days, or getting a nearby hotel and driving in each day. If you’re not big on camping and roughing it, I would definitely suggest the hotel option. Showers are $7 a go, but they do give out free shampoo/conditioner!
Rep Image Credit | Photo Taken by a friend of HC
2. Hangout- Gulf Shores, Alabama—May 18-20th 2012
This festival is actually on the beach, which makes for an awesome atmosphere to accompany the great lineup. This year, Hangout’s line-up features Dave Matthews Band, The String Cheese Incident, Skrillex, The Flaming Lips, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Mac Miller, Umphrey’s McGee and many others. There are many different beachfront condo options for lodging that are within walking/biking distance, as well as a camping site. Photo Credit
3. Lollapalooza- Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois—August 3rd-5th 2012
Located right in the city, Chi-Town skyline is the backdrop for this festival. This is more of an urban festival than Bonnaroo/Hangout, and the music lineup is definitely top tier. However, you don’t get the opportunity to camp for cheap, and lodging in Chicago is a bit expensive. The urban location, though, does bring a lot more options to your itinerary. The line-up will be released THIS WEEK, so keep checking the website for it! Photo Credit
4. Ultra Music Festival- Miami, Florida—March 23rd-25th
If you’re really into electro/house music and dubstep, this music festival is the place for you. It is usually held mid-march in the attempt to overlap college student’s spring breaks and avoid summertime vacationers. This year it featured artists like Skrillex, Bassnectar, David Guetta, Pretty Lights, Big Gigantic, Calvin Harris, Flux Pavilion, Avicii, and about 50 more. It is downtown Miami, so it offers a lot of possibilities for hotels to stay in. My advice is to bring any form of energy activating substance and wear neon/crazy things. Also, be prepared to see some interesting artists and events. Photo Credit
5. Electric Daisy Carnival- Las Vegas, Nevada—June 8th-10th
If you combine a similar lineup as Ultra with a theme park and add in the Vegas eccentricity, you’ve got Electric Daisy Carnival. Prepare to be startled by the costumes as you wander from stage to attraction to stage. No doubt you can hear the best and most upcoming electro/dubstep artists at several occasions, but rarely will you be able to hear them from several hundred feet in the air.
6. Firefly Festival- Dover, Delaware—July 20-22nd, 2012
Though less popular, the new Firefly Music Festival offers a similar type of experience as Bonnaroo does… and without the extreme heat! This year, Firefly’s lineup includes some clutch artists like The Black Keys, Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, Passion Pit, Lupe Fiasco, Girl Talk, Tinie Tempah, Chiddy Bang and many more. While you can camp onsite at Firefly, they also offer a Hotel & Casino easily accessible to the festival grounds. This festival is also within driving distance of Clemson, while several of the other festivals are not. Photo Credit
7. Coachella- Lake Eldorado, Indio, California—April 13-15th & April 20th-22nd
Interested in celebrity sightings and while jamming to the hottest, up and coming artists in the world? Coachella in Cali offers a two-weekend festival that is sure to offer an epic time to anyone able to afford the trip. Honestly, I would pretend like I know exactly what this is like, but I have never been—except in my dreams. I will let everyone know just how dope this festival is once I marry someone rich and actually go, but until then, visit their site for more info and at least download some of these bands! Photo Credit
9. Austin City Limits- Austin, Texas—October 12th-14th
As the live music capital of the world, Austin is the perfect place to host a music festival. They have SXSW (South by Southwest) in the spring, but since it is almost impossible for us to hit up those multiple weeks of fun, this is a perfect getaway for students in the fall (and a perfect 21st birthday present from family and friends). It would be too hard to drive, but if you get your plane ticket now, it won’t cost too much for a round trip. Austin prides itself on their taste in music, so you know the lineup will be sick. It is a very clean atmosphere and because it is a fall festival, it’s not as hot as the others. Make sure you hit up the after shows hosted by the bars in the city. Tickets are cheap, and you can take a shuttle from the park to the city for free with purchase of your pass!
Things to bring:
- A water bottle
- A fan
- A bandanna/something to cover your head
- COMFORTABLE SHOES that are durable for mud
- Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
- Bug repellent
- Granola bars/snacks
- An open mind to new music
- Cash for showers/stuff you forgot
- Blanket/towel to sit on while you wait
- Fold up chairs
- Satchel to carry around your festival guide and cell phone
- Waterproof watch
And if you’re camping, I also suggest…
- A mini grill or else food that you don’t have to cook
- Tent, lantern, sleeping bag
- A larger fan for the tent area
- More than enough provisions (you won’t want to move your car)
- In regards to the bigger festivals…the earlier you order your tickets, the cheaper they will be. You can get a pass for as cheap as $150, or as expensive at $400, depending on when you order. It’s hard to want to order before the lineup is released, but chances are you will recognize at least two groups performing. These festivals also strive to get the best musicians there are to perform, so chances are you’ll like most of them anyway.
- It is very likely won’t have service within the festival site, so designate a time and meeting place for your group
- You will be very hot and easily dehydrated. Drink a lot of water and not too much alcohol in the direct sunlight, or else you will find yourself missing a favorite band because you are under the medical tent
- Have a positive attitude! Oh, and try not to judge the other music lovers. Yes, some are strange, but embrace their differences. They are actually pretty cool people.
Which music festivals are your favorite? Leave your own personal anecdotes and helpful tips in the comment section below!