It’s the most stressful time of the year, and no, I’m not talking about finals week. With March rolling in, it’s time to begin making those summer music festival plans. Coachella? Lolla? Bonnaroo? SXSW? How do you choose? Luckily, I’ve got you covered with a short description of each to help you find that perfect festival.
SXSW: March 11-20 in Austin, TX
SXSW is the place to go for up and coming music. Austin is heralded as the music capital of the world and has upheld that promise. On top of new music discoveries, SXSW offers film screenings and awards, as well as interactive sessions that feature keynote speakers in different creative fields like the food industry or social media usage. All around, it’s a great way for innovative people to meet up, hang out, and jam to some ace tunes.
Bonnaroo: June 9-12 in Manchester, Tennessee
The largest music festival in North America, Bonnaroo is not only one of the most impressive when it comes to lineups but features loads of other fun stuff to do, too. Camping on a farm in the middle of Tennessee in June may sound exhausting in and of itself, but add in a comedy tent, art fair, water slides, yoga and a silent disco and you’ll better understand the intensity that is this festival. Celebrate your uniqueness and do the ‘Roo with some other dedicated hippies.
Lollapalooza: July 28-31 in Chicago, Illinois
Enjoy the sounds of your favorite bands in the heart of Chicago. The central location of the festival makes it a fun destination to discover the city by morning and the music by night. Lolla has been called one of the best organized festivals and can certainly be called one of the friendliest. Lolla is all about connecting fans to music and offers opportunities to meet the musicians and snag some unique merch.
Coachella: April 15-17, 22-24 in Indio, California
Oh, the notorious Coachella. A high profile festival in the Californian desert, it attracts celebrities and commoners alike. Coachella boasts the best lineups and the most hipsters. It’s a festival too big for just one weekend, and the most famous name in music festivals this side of the Atlantic. Here you’ll catch high profile performers and a few newcomers as well.
Outside Lands: August 5-7 in San Francisco, California
Music, food, wine, beer, art and comedy at Golden Gate Park. This festival mostly caters to the 21+ crowd, but it does so with finesse. The park at Outside Lands is not only used for a venue but is open to roam the botanical gardens or conservatory of flowers. The lineup features artists similar to Lolla and Coachella. Paired with beer and wine tastings unique to the San Francisco area, you’re bound to discover something new.
Hangout: May 20-22 in Gulf Shores, Alabama
Pack the sunscreen and shades because Hangout is unique mostly for its oceanside location. The festival literally takes place on the beach and you’ll find high profile headliners as well as some rookie bands sprinkled throughout. It’s a music festival and Gulf vacation all wrapped into one. When you’re not rocking out in the sand, you can escape to the cool ocean waves.
Sasquatch: May 27-30 in George, Washington
Sasquatch is possibly most famously known for its incredible venue. The main stage is located on a cliff, offering breathtaking views and unique acoustics. An indie lover’s dream, you’ll find a lineup of some of the best undiscovered artists this year. If you’re down for camping in rural Washington, this is the place for you.
Governor’s Ball: June 3-5 in New York, New York
Governor’s Ball has the hottest lineup in mainstream music. It’s like if you took Coachella’s headliners from the past, present and future and threw them into one weekend. Held at a park in downtown New York City, you’ll walk among the trendiest folk in the city and pick up some fashion tips along the way. Celebrate your year in music by jamming to artists such as Kanye West or Madonna. Governor’s Ball doesn’t mess around.
Warped: June 24 – August 13 held locally
Warped is a unique experience for a multitude of reasons. First, it comes to you, not the other way around. It’s a one day festival that drags some of your favorite pop-punk, electronic and metalcore bands across the country. You’ll find lots of opportunities to meet bands and hang out with some friends. The ticket prices are reasonable, and best yet? You can fall asleep in your own bed at home that night. What more can you ask for?
Firefly: June 16-19 in Dover, Delaware
The most recent festival creation on this list, Firefly came to be in 2012. Even so, it’s gained quick notoriety due to its strong lineups and woodland setting. Not only that, but this festival offers an on-site brewery, a café tent with performances, light displays and hammock hangouts. Firefly caters to an array of different characters and unites them in their love of music.