Festival season awakens something in all of us, bringing our inner fan to roaring life with hour after hour of mind-blowing performances from the nation's top acts. Beyond the music, festivals immerse us in riveting art, culture, food, and an incredible atmosphere you simply can't beat. So, which event is at the top of your itinerary? There's something to check off every music lover's bucket list, from around-the-clock EDM to rock, pop, and family-friendly affairs.
An influencer oasis in the Indio desert, Coachella welcomes crowds exceeding 100,000 every year. A hotspot for socialites and celebrities, the country's coolest bands immerse the masses in two weekends brimming with music into the early morning hours. A top choice on any bucket list, Coachella's lineup creates a wave of annual anticipation, with guests attending just as much for the art, fashion, and camping experience as they are the top tunes.
While Coachella's acts play all the hits, South by Southwest hosts up-and-comers. If you want to stay on top of the trends in music and film, South by Southwest is the place to see and be seen. The festival has launched dozens of careers, so you can catch emerging artists before they start selling out stadiums. Along with the tunes, you'll make connections, attend screenings and showcases, and discover more about the industry in-depth. It's a place to rub shoulders with legends and newbies alike, all while swapping ideas and celebrating the magic of live music.
A multi-genre gathering of fans, Lollapalooza brings together the top names in EDM, pop, hip hop, and rock all in one place. Not only that, but it gives a platform to non-profit groups looking to get their message across, so you can discover meaning beyond the music. On average, this festival attracts 100,000 people for each of its four days, which are all held in Downtown Chicago's notorious Grant Park. Visitors can expect nine stages of action, roaring crowds into the wee hours, hundreds of booths, and over 170 bands from across the globe.
If you want to catch the most iconic artists in EDM history, look no further than Miami's Ultra Music Festival, a majestic three-day event in the heart of the city. Fans can capture more action by attending lead-up events, such as the Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week, which offer even more electronic music to love. When Ultra finally arrives, parties and performances roar around the clock, with DJs and artists spinning to lively crowds till the sun comes up. Miami's streets turn into one giant party, making Ultra the place to be seen in the EDM community.
Electric Daisy Carnival, or EDC, is about much more than just music — it's a living, breathing EDM experience in the heart of the Las Vegas desert. The festival brings fans together to celebrate life, love, art, and music all in one place, so expect an over-the-top carnival like you've never seen before. This includes breathtaking stages covered in neon lights, incredible pyrotechnics, dancers, aerialists, circus performers, a whirlwind of amusement park rides, and an energy unlike any other. Three-dimensional superstructures and colorful glow-in-the-dark environments bring this one-of-a-kind world to life, all topped off with performances by electronic music's hottest stars.
At this eight-stage celebration, you'll immerse yourself in all things music, surrounded by like-minded fans from across the country. More than just a music festival, however, you'll discover a riveting art scene with pieces from up-and-coming talent and renowned names alike. Scrumptious food and beverage stations boast some of the nation's best festival food, serving everything from craft beer to vegan specialties from Austin's top restaurants. The event spans two weekends of fun, with over 130 acts offering something for all ages and tastes. Those with little ones can even enjoy a mini-fest just for the kids!
When the festive atmosphere of your local block party goes mainstream, the Governor's Ball is exactly what you get. Relocated to Queens, New York, this festival is an infectious mix of musical genres, so punk rockers, ravers, and rappers can celebrate their fave artists all in one place. Beyond the music, discover a taste of New York with mouthwatering food and beverage from the city's finest. Relax, kick back, and take in the atmosphere with eyes wide open — this is one party you'll never forget.
If you happen to be in Beantown over Memorial Day Weekend, there's no better place to start off the summer than Boston Calling. This three-day, multi-genre event sets New England alight with the most iconic acts in rock, hip hop, and electronic music. Immersive games bring out your inner child, while art installations and rides, including a 100-foot ferris wheel, bring the festival atmosphere to life. There's a comedy/entertainment tent for the whole family to enjoy, and festival food is in full force, so try a bite or two from all-star food vendors as you explore the grounds, catch performances, and go for the ride of your life.
Ask any Burning Man fan what to expect, and they'll tell you that it has to be experienced firsthand. One festival you truly have to see to believe, Burning Man, is a cultural phenomenon that has inspired a cult of devotees. In the heart of the Nevada desert, you'll experience nine days of non-stop action in an environment that's a world unto itself. Programs are all put on by attendees, so there's something new to discover every year — and every day. We're talking about performances, parties, conferences, art shows, installations, cultural programs, and so much more, along with a camping culture of close-knit fans from around the world.
Music City scores big with this one, taking place just 65 miles outside of Nashville. While the event originally focused on folk-rock, it's quickly become one of the nation's largest and most lusted-after, boasting influential names in rock, rap, hip-hop, pop, and much more. With 10+ stages, there's something for every taste music-wise, but Bonnaroo also boasts incredible activities. Attendees enjoy 5k races, painting lessons, yoga classes, games, crafts, immersive installations, and drool-worthy food. It's a lot, and the action goes all night long.