Polish off your bedazzled culottes and cowboy boots; music festival season is here. It’s that glorious time when legacy meets novelty in the musical arena. We come, we dance, we listen to music, we fall in love.
In an effort to streamline your party-planning, here’s a little guide to shed some light on the hottest music festivals this season:
Coachella – Indio, CA (April 12-14 and April 19-21)
Each year, Goldenvoice litters the desert with spectacular musical talent, the best and worst dressed celebrities, and mind-blowing installation art. Some past Coachella unforgettable moments include: the resurrection of Tupac, Daft Punk headlining, Roger Waters playing Dark Side of the Moon, and the sounds of Radiohead penetrating the desert atmosphere.
This year’s lineup, albeit heavy on the alt-rock, is wonderfully eclectic at heart. From trip-hop to hip-hop, there’s something for everyone. The headliners are Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix and Red Hot Chili Peppers.
- Check out the living, breathing art installations that are scattered across the dusty desert. Each piece will pair perfectly well with your heat-induced megalomania.
- The Heineken Dome is a must-see for the 21 and up crowd. When the temperatures rise to the triple digits, cool-off in the Heineken Dome and get your electro-dance fill.
- The lineup is packed with lesser-known acts too, be sure to check out these artists: Beach House (Dream Pop), Alt-J (Experimental), Baauer aka the DJ that brought you the 2012 hit “Harlem Shake” (Trap/Bass), Yeasayer (Psychedelic Pop), Wild Belle (Indie Rock), and the Neighbourhood (Indie Pop).
Governors Ball – Randall’s Island, NYC (June 7,8 & 9)
This is only the third installment of the Governor’s Ball, but the lineup is stacked. Kuddos to Founders Entertainment for securing power players like Kanye West, Kings of Leon and Guns n’ Roses to headline. The Governor’s Ball is a multi-sensory experience with fun-tivities, local eats, and an impossibly cool lineup, all set against the sparkly backdrop of New York City.
- NYC food trucks — enough said. Take a break from your head-bobbing and fist-pumping to savor some culinary magic.
- The Silent Disco, a Governor’s Ball tradition, is a must-see. Picture this – hundreds of people dancing their pants off while wearing wireless headphones that play music from live DJs.
- Everyone loves a good photo op. So take some photos on the Governor’s Ball’s dime.
- Frat parties aren’t the only place you can enjoy a casual game of corn hole or ping pong. Check out all the lawn games the Governor’s Ball has in store.
- The headliners are massive, but be sure to check out these acts too: Of Monsters and Men (Indie/Folk), Animal Collective (Experimental), Cut Copy (Electronic), Icona Pop (Synth Pop), the Lumineers (Folk Rock), Kendrick Lamar (Hip Hop), and Azealia Banks (Rap) to name a few.
Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN (June 13-16)
Imagine a festival set amidst lush greens, massive trees, blue skies, fresh air and flying songbirds. If Mother Nature herself could put on a music festival, it would be Bonnaroo. This Tennessee music festival runs for four glorious days across 700 acres of beautiful naturescape with over 10 music stages, a mini film festival and thousands of happy campers. This year’s main acts include: Sir Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Bjork. Take a look at the Slacker Bonnaroo Station to hear more from this years artist lineup.
- We’ve already mentioned it, but there are over 10 music stages. For those with festival ADD, your needs will be more than sated.
- There’s a comedy tent because Bonnaroo celebrates talent across a rainbow of genres.
- Bonnaroo’s got swagger — it was named one of the “50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll” by Rolling Stone.
- Attractions for days — Bonnaroo has craft vendors, a silent disco, a cinema tent and an obligatory music festival ferris wheel.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – New Orleans, LA (April 26-May 5)
The New Orleans Jazz Fest is a whopping 10-day festivus that celebrates all that is good in this world: music, cajun food, craft shops, art, mint juleps and partying. There’s heavy emphasis on the indigenous music and culture of good ol’ New Orleans, but new-age music styles influenced by bluegrass and jazz are also welcomed. The event is held at the Fair Grounds Race Course and is hailed as having a “wider, deeper lineup of essential American musical styles than any festival in the nation..” by Life magazine (nbd).
- Eclectic food items from local businesses including: alligator sausage po’boys, Jambalaya, Oyster patties, boiled crawfish, muffulettas, beignets, fried green tomatoes and cochon de lait. You must try all of these items.
- Each day of festival attendance includes a history lesson, access to crafts and immersion into Cajun culture.
- There are several colorful parades that deck the streets, as well as marching brass bands, social aids and pleasure clubs.
- This year’s lineup includes: Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5, the Black Keys, John Mayer, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, Willie Nelson & Family, Patti Smith, Ben Harper, Jimmy Cliff, B.B King, Widespread Panic and more.
Stagecoach – Indio, CA (April 26-28)
Stagecoach is not your average rodeo. Set against the backdrop of Palm Desert at the Empire Polo Club, also home to Coachella, is an outdoor country music festival of epic proportions. Cowboy boots, hats and flannel are recommended for this celebration of folk, bluegrass, country, roots, rock and alternative country. Prepare to be serenaded til sun down by some of the hottest country crooners in the world.
- This year’s already announced lineup includes: Toby Keith, Lonestar, Hank William Jr., Jeff Bridges & the Abiders, Riders in the Sky, Maggie Rose, Zac Brown Band and many more to come.
- It wouldn’t be a country music festival without a BBQ contest, BBQ vendors and a pancake breakfast in the campgrounds. Noteworthy vendors include: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Fisherman’s Market & Grill, Spicy Pie, Waffleman Ice Cream Sandwiches and Jackelope Ranch.
- For all the aspiring stars and wannabes, there’s Karaoke in the RV Resort from 10 pm- 1:30 am.
- Be sure to checkout the Country DJ also in the RV Resort located in the Dome near the General Store.
Movement – Detroit, MI (May 25-27)
This massive festival was dubbed best Music Fest of 2010 by the New York Post. Aptly named, Movement, is more than just a music festival –it’s a sound, dance and technology revolution. With over 100 artists and over 107,000 attendees, things are gonna get weird (in a good way). The production is grandiose to say the least, with state-of-the-art interactive stages that will literally melt your mind. The phase I & II lineups are already looking pretty legit with: Brodinski, Gesaffelstein, Big Gigantic, Andy C, Amtrac, John Digweed, Noisia, Soul Clap and Adult.
- The stages are seriously high-tech. You will be shot into outer space and floating around the atmosphere. Lights shoot out from every square inch of the stage, while glowing mass dance the night away.
- The festival is dedicated to electronica and technology, and the beautiful offspring they’ve procured. From electro legends to trap bass newcomers, Movement will accommodate EDM lovers across genres, ages and ethnicities.
- The location is prime Detroit real-estate. Your partying will be accompanied with views of the glittery city. You’re hard pressed to find a better melange of technology, music, human and metropolis.
Electric Daisy Carnival – Las Vegas, NV (June 21-23)
Now the largest North American music festival, this is EDC’s 17th annual celebration. It is one of the most highly anticipated events of the year and an incredible 3-day exploration of electronic dance music. Thirsty souls and music lovers can satisfy their wanderlust among a sea glittery faces, laser light shows and deeply penetrating bass. Born in LA, EDC has transformed itself into a brand new experience with every new chapter. This year’s festival attendees can expect over 150 musical acts, 500 theatrical performers, 12 massive interactive art installations, exhilarating pyrotechnics and over 300,000 music fans.
- The EDC celebrations extend further than the Motor Speedway with daytime pool parties at some of the hottest clubs on the strip. For example, Kaskade will be playing EDC weekend at Marquee Dayclub for his Summer Lovin’ residency.
- You’re hard pressed to find a more accommodating hostess than Miss Sin City herself. You can literally party 24/7 (not that we recommend it), but from after hour clubs to daybeds that open at 10 am, it’s nearly impossible to not party your face off.
- The Discovery Stage is a must-see; in an effort to recognize talent in all forms, Insomniac hosts a DJ talent contest and amasses the winners to play on this stage. It’s refreshing, progressive and entirely spellbinding.
- Neatly organized chaos. There are seven stages including: the kineticFIELD, cosmicMEADOW, circuitGROUNDS, neonGARDEN, bassPOD, heinekenDOMES, and Q-Dance Stage. Each stage has a unique theme, style and genre specific talent.
- Thirty hours of EDM, ‘nuf said.