Music Festivals for the Broke College Student

Summer is more than spending all our time on the beach and recovering from the past academic year. It’s also the best time to see your favorite artists in concert! Summertime is festival season. Now, I know I’m not the only one who saw the Coachella lineup and immediately thought about buying a ticket. Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, and Ariana Grande??? My wallet would have died and gone to heaven. As much as I would want to drop a thousand dollars for a cross-country trip for a weekend, I would never forgive myself. Buttttt, that doesn’t mean my festival dreams are over. I gotta make due and use my geographic location to my advantage. So here are some east coast options to make up for not going to California.


The Governor’s Ball (May 31 - June 2)

Also known as Gov Ball for short, it’s what’s considered the East Coast Coachella. It’s significantly cheaper than actual Coachella and the location is so much better. There is no specific genre for Gov Ball so the concertgoer should be prepared to listen to all different types of music and be ready to listen to new artists you’ve never heard before. You’ll also be at Randall’s Island Park which is basically in the heart of NYC. Food from local restaurants and Instagram-ready prompts are made for a memorable concert experience. This three-day party will be the best time of your life.


Hot 97 Summer Jam (June 2nd)

The local radio station 97.1 is the top hip-hop station in the NYC Metropolitan area and at the start of the summer, they host this one-day concert. All the biggest rap artists of the year come through to Metlife Stadium and perform to loyal fans. Summer Jam doesn’t rely on fanfare like carnivals, or other things to distract yourself. It’s all about the music and to be with others who like the same thing as you do. Plus the merch is pretty lit. If this is your kind of vibe, I suggest you go.


Bonnaroo Music Festival (June 13-16)

This four-day concert bonanza takes place in the lovely state of Tennessee and is one of the most notable music festivals in the country. Live music acts from artists from a myriad of music genres come through and perform for thousands of people. Iconic performers come through all the time for notable performances like Lorde, Phish, Eminem, and Radiohead. If you don’t want to listen to the artists currently performing, there are craftsmen selling unique products, local food/drink vendors, comedy shows, and a cinema tent. Plus they got a Ferris Wheel. Need I say more?


Lollapalooza (August 1-4)

Okay, I know Chicago technically is in the Midwest but it’s still a fun city to go to! Lollapalooza first started as a scene for alternative music in the early 1990s but has grown to cover other subgenres of rock and other genres of music. It’s also a place where people showcase their art and political platform. What makes Lollapalooza special is that there are international versions of the concert that take place in South America and Europe. Lollapalooza keeps the party going all around the world!


Woodstock 50 (August 16-18)

The revival of the century is really here! On the anniversary of the legendary music festival that happened 50 years ago, Woodstock is back! Back in 1969, it was a cultural milestone and paved the way for future music festivals.  Woodstock50 expanded to more genres outside of rock like the original Woodstock. It’ll be held in the same region but not the same location because of all the damage Woodstock caused by the town and concertgoers. Here’s to a better-planned event but still with the same cultural weight!


Hope I inspire your inner concert-goer and got you excited to potentially go to these concerts! These are some of the more popular music festivals in the region. There are plenty more if you look hard enough and if your favorite band is touring this year. The possibilities are endless. Also, you don’t have to go all the days the music festival will be held. A one-day event is just as fun and a lot can be done during that time span. Plus, your feet will thank you in advance.