Coachella is iconic. There’s no doubt about that. But it’s also a massive commitment and, inevitably, total chaos. It’s six days long in the desert and packed with drama: take the news about Frank Ocean’s late performance (and ultimate ditching of week two) this year. For those of us who love music festivals but are looking for something a little more chill, there’s a surprisingly vast array of options. Just take a look at these five underrated festivals:
- Outside Lands
This three-day San Fransisco festival is exactly what you’d expect from Northern California: it’s a celebration of art, music and, according to the official website, cannabis. The lineup is also quite diverse for enjoyers of a variety of genres, with Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey, The 1975 and Megan Thee Stallion among the artists headlining for 2023. Not to mention, some of my personal favorite musicians, such as Father John Misty and Inhaler, will also be performing, making a road trip from LA to San Francisco quite tempting.
- Primavera Sound
As a huge fan of indie and indie rock music, Primavera Sound is my absolute dream. Founded in Barcelona in 2001, Primavera Sound came to Los Angeles for the first time just last year and I couldn’t grab my tickets soon enough. From Lorde to Arctic Monkeys to Cigarettes After Sex (not to mention Clairo, Mitski, Girl in Red and Surf Curse), the setlist was jam-packed with incredible artists. The vibe was super chill and the stunning LA summer sunset was the ideal evening backdrop.
- All Things Go
For pop and indie-pop enthusiasts, Washington DC’s All Things Go music festival is the perfect option. This festival emphasizes inclusivity, celebrates diversity and it’s cozily tucked into the woods of the Merriweather festival grounds. Featuring artists like Maggie Rogers, Lana Del Rey, Boygenius, Beabadoobee, Suki Waterhouse and Carly Rae Jepsen, it’s certainly got a powerful female lineup.
- Power Trip
Power Trip musical festival in Indo, CA, is a classic rock fan’s absolute fantasy. This year (its debut year!) it will feature hall-of-famers Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Guns N’ Roses, Tool and AC/DC, to name a few. Put on by Goldenvoice, the company behind Coachella, Stagecoach and Cruel World, it’s bound to be a successful festival and just might be the biggest hard rock festival in North America to date.
- Cruel World
For fans of 80s and new wave music, the Cruel World musical festival in Pasadena is your go-to festival. The epitome of nostalgia, this festival features timeless moody icons, including Echo & the Bunnymen, Billy Idol, Siouxsie and Iggy Pop this past year.
Music festivals tend to have a reputation for being total chaos due to iconic festivals like Coachella being the stereotypical model. But the truth is, there’s a music festival for everyone. Whether you’re into new wave, classic rock, indie, rap, pop or a little bit of everything, there’s an option for you. As a passionate enjoyer of live music with a moderate aversion to crowds, I can assure you that music festivals can be much chiller than you might think.