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Why Do All the 2018 Music Festival Lineups Suck this Year?

Music has always been a central part of my life. My parents have been to upward of 100 concerts and I’ve been slowly trying to make my way up there as well. Music festivals are even better than concerts because you get a full day of never ending concerts, good food and you get to be outside. But sadly, this year has been quite the disappointment for me in terms of festival lineups.

Gov Ball

I have been going to Governors Ball on Randall’s Island for the past 4 years, and I was expecting an even better lineup compared to last year. But to my disappointment, it was only okay. When the day-by-day lineup came out, it let me down even more. I couldn’t imagine dropping $125 on even one of those days, let alone $300+ for the entire weekend. Except for Khalid, there wasn’t one artist that stood out to me. In years past they’ve had great artists such as Chance the Rapper, Florence and the Machine, Phoenix, Mac Miller, The Killers and Kanye (RIP to Sunday Gov getting canceled in 2016.) My streak of going to this festival is most likely going to end this year. 


Coachella is THE musical festival everyone talks about. This festival is so good, they do it twice, in consecutive weekends. Even though I didn’t think real people attended this event and it was only made up of celebrities and spoiled rich kids, I think the lineup is pretty good. The QUEEN, Beyoncé, is headlining for Saturday. Saturday is also my favorite because it includes artists like HAIM, Tyler, Louis the Child, BORNS, and MO. I also have a need to see Portugal the Man and they’re performing on Sunday! I would say this lineup isn’t bad, it’s just unrealistic to go.


This technology-based festival has only been around for three years now and has taken over Randall’s Island just two short months after Gov Ball. This lineup is not anything special to me and is kind of resembling Coachella, minus all of the good bands. The headliners for one thing are nothing spectacular and even questionable (excuse me Janet Jackson, you’re irrelevant after the 2004 Super Bowl incident). The second tier bands are actually decent. ODEZSA, The XX, The War on Drugs and Dua Lipa are all solid artists. I think I might’ve considered going to this one if the headliners had been more my taste and if the day-by-day had looked better. I might still go just for “The Lab” which is an interactive experience of a combination of New York artists and technology. This is unique to Panorama and could definitely make up for the lack of good artists. 


Okay, this festival doesn’t suck. Firefly combines two of my favorite things to do (camping and concerts) for a fun-filled four day experience. The headliners include Kendrick and the Arctic Monkeys (oh, how we’ve missed you). The second tier bands including Portugal, Foster the People, Vance Joy, Logic, and Cold War Kids. My 2014 heart is soaring with all these indie bands of my childhood coming back. If these bands played all throwbacks, I would be down to travel to Delaware.

Boston Calling

I would say that this festival along with many others, has the same problems. The headliners are only okay and the day-by-day lineup separates all of the good bands. The Killers and Eminem are very popular picks for headliners this year, so I was a little bored by this point seeing their names at the top of the list. By the time this lineup was released, I was not impressed at all since it seemed very similar to the other only mediocre lineups.


The lineups here are the five most relevant festivals to me. I feel like in the past Coachella has always influenced Gov, Pano, Boston Calling and Firefly; and those are the lineups that are most accessible for me. One of my favorite parts is discovering new music at festivals like these, but if there is not a good base of artists, I don’t know if it would be worth it.  Hopefully next year all of these festivals will step up their games, but you may or may not catch me at Firefly in June. TBD.

Cover Image Courtesy of Anna Freeda  

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