Nine U.S. Music Festivals To Experience This Summer
There are five seasons - Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter and Festival season. Kicking off in the month of March, festival season leads a strong and steady climb into Spring and Summer. People across the America and even the world, pack up to join thousands of others in fields and forests to experience community within the music.
With a few music festivals right in our backyard, your interest may have been peaked to get out and experience what else this magical world of music has to offer. While there are hundreds of festivals to choose from in the U.S., here are a few that cover multiple genres, sceneries and some of the best festival vibes around.
Ultra Music Festival March 24-26
The pinnacle of Miami Music Week, Ultra Music Festival is a must stop for any electronic music fan. Every year, the lineup is stacked with big names and up and comers. The festival hosts more than five stages in Bayfront Park including the iconic Ultra Mainstage, Carl Cox Mega Structure and the Arcadia Spider. Can’t make it? Every year, they host a high quality live stream of the festival. Tune in and you’ll be ready to plan your trip for the upcoming year.
“The vibe was amazing and people were great as well. I met tons of people from around the world that specifically travel just to experience ultra. The lineup was great as well. It's the first big festival every year in the spring so most producers and djs drop fresh content. I'm going back there again in March and can't wait.” - Jai Singh
Tortuga Music Festival April 7-9
If you like your toes in the water and a whole lot of Country music, Tortuga Music Festival is just the destination for you. Held in Fort Lauderdale Florida, this three-day, multi-stage festival hosts the biggest names in Country and rock and roots music. This years lineup includes Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Maren Morris and more. What sets this festival apart from the rest? Well, it’s on a beach. More importantly, Tortuga has a focus on conservation efforts and ticket sales help to support Rock The Ocean Foundation. Plus, their VIP program is one of the best with three VIP decks, a cabana, VIP bars and one of the packages allows you to access the artist catering and beach areas.
Bunbury Music Festival June 2-4
Six years ago, the Queen City was graced with it’s own music festival and it continues to grow stronger every year. Bunbury is a great option to get away in the comfort of our own city and to get your feet wet in the world of music festivals. The three-day festival runs four stages, food trucks, a craft beer village and vendors down by the River at Sawyer Point. It’s the perfect length of space to run from stage to stage as to not miss your favorite artists. A stand out piece of Bunbury is their Yeatman’s Cove stage. Sitting right on the Serpentine wall, the stage’s backdrop is the Ohio river. This years lineup includes Muse, Wiz Khalifa, G-Eazy, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, The 1975, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Death Cab for Cutie and more. Plus, catch a few local bands including Current Events and The Upset Victory.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival June 8-11
Welcome to the land of good vibes! Held in Manchester Tennessee, Bonnaroo is the one festival that will have you hooked for life. Bonnaroo also referred to as The Farm, is host to 10 plus stages, over 130 artists, a comedy theater, a cinema tent and a ferris wheel. With stages named What Stage, Which Stage, This Tent and That Tent, you’re bound to have a fun time.
Just when you think you’ve experienced everything Bonnaroo has to offer, you find about ten more things you’ve somehow missed. It’s the festival that keeps on giving and bringing you back.
Now, you don’t have to camp at Bonnaroo but you’ll want to. A huge experience of Bonnaroo is setting up camp and meeting the people around you from all over the U.S and the world. By the end of the weekend, you’ll be swapping stories, sharing food and adding each other on Facebook. Plus, you get to camp right next to your car, keeping all of your belongings in sight and a quick way to cool down with some AC.
Ps. While you’re there, don’t forget to try the infamous Spicy Pie!
“Bonnaroo is a sacred space for many, including myself. This magical festival encourages positivity, happiness and a kindred bond between all people. Individuality shines and I always feel a unique sense of freedom. It is an uninhibited and cherished place to learn to love yourself and others, exactly as we are. Plus, incredible music!” - Andi Hilk Anderson
Mysteryland June 9-12
Held in Bethel Woods, NY where Woodstock 69’ was once held, Mysteryland USA returns for it’s fourth year as the world's longest-running electronic music, culture and arts festival. The entire production of the festival is quite dream like from the elaborate stages to the characters roaming the ground. Normally electronic music heavy, this year's lineup offers more diversity including G-Eazy, LCD Soundsystem and Major Lazer as their headliners. Mysteryland is another great festival to experience camping. Besides, who doesn’t want to say that they’ve camped on Woodstock grounds? Aside from the festival, Bethel Woods hosts a museum dedicated to the study of Woodstock; a must visit for any music fan.
“Mysteryland is on the original grounds of Woodstock, so the grounds themselves ooze music in its purest forms. This fact alone gives the festival a feel and energy that is unique to Mysteryland. In addition, Mysteryland is a smaller festival than some of the major mega festivals like Tomorrowworld or Tomorrowland, giving it a more intimate feel. Perhaps my favorite aspect of this festival though, is that in many ways I have used it to discover new artists. I "discovered" my passion for dark and grimy techno in the techno tents. The festival has its share of big names headlining however, it’s the side stages featuring some of the best that New York nightlife has to offer with stage hosts like Verboten and Webster Hall where guys like Space Jesus and Mija have played non-headlining sets prior to prominence. It really allows you to see artists and sample music made by artists that I may not have the time for at larger festival.” - Kyle Herbstreit
FireFly Music Festival June 15-18
Held in the woodlands of Dover, Delaware, FireFly Music Festival is all about fan curation. From fan surveys about the line up, to merchandise, poster design contests and more, Firefly is created by the people for the people. This year, fans can send handwritten letters to the artists that will be placed in their dressing rooms. This year, the fans chose The Weeknd, Muse, Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper and Bob Dylan to headline Firefly. With good music comes good food and drink found right at The Brewery or The Thicket.
Electric Forest June 22-25 / June 29-July 2
It’s name describes itself perfectly. Electric Forest brings you into a lush, green forest in Rothbury, Michigan that is illuminated with vibrant colors, music and people. The entire grounds are decorated with lights, art installations and characters roaming around while jam bands and electronic artists rock the multiple stages. Can’t make it to the first weekend? No, worries! Electric Forest offers two weekends to attend. Between weekend one and two, the lineup includes The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Odesza, My Morning Jacket, Above & Beyond, Flume, DJ Snake, Dillon Francis, Big Gigantic, Lotus and more.
Being held in the middle of the woods, taking care of the environment is vital. Electric Forest focuses heavily on encouraging green behavior and sustainability.
Forecastle Festival July 14-16
Just a short drive from Cincinnati, Forecastle offers a high quality music experience without the commitment. Much like Bunbury, Forecastle hosts itself right on the river at Waterfront Park offering a beautiful back drop to the music. Throughout the grounds, attendees can enjoy multiple stages, hop through fountains, and enjoy a bourbon bar along with great local eats. This year you can catch LCD Soundsystem, Weezer, Odesza, Sturgill Simpson, Cage The Elephant, Run the Jewels and more.
Louder than Life October
Another Louisville gem, Louder Than Life offers rock n rollers and bourbon drinkers alike, a unique get away experience for a weekend. Created by the same people who put on Rock on The Range, Louder than Life is a force to be reckoned with as a music festival and the world’s biggest bourbon festival. Roaming through the grounds, attendees will find a gourmet man food village stacked with BBQ and other good eats, along with craft beer options and lots of Bourbon to sip on. Now, if you’re looking to upgrade to VIP, it’s worth it at Louder Than Life. VIP’s enjoy access to a large Bourbon tent complete with multiple bars, bathrooms, seating, a view of mainstage,and even livestreaming of a few stages. Although the dates and lineup for 2017 have not yet been announced, the bar is set high with past artists like ZZ Top, Lynard Skynyrd, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Cheap Trick, A Day To Remember and much, much more. Louder Than Life is known to offer a killer mix from classic rock to metal, to artists on the rise to the leaders of Rock.