- GRAMMY Live
With the annual Bonnaroo and Vans Warped Tour festivals gearing up to take place in just a few days, music festival season is in full swing. Though major events such as Coachella, Stagecoach and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival are behind us, there are still plenty more to look forward to.
In fact, there are seemingly more large-scale live music options in the United States than ever before, with festivals becoming a primary destination for music fans looking to see dozens of artists (both GRAMMY winners and emerging stars) in one fell swoop. Needless to say, there's a lot to choose from. To help you decide which grassy field you will end up dancing on, below we present our selective list of 15 must-see music festivals taking place across the States in the coming months.
Vans Warped Tour
Date: June 11–Aug. 3
Location: Across the United States
Lineup Includes: Air Dubai, Born Of Osiris, Bowling For Soup, Echosmith, I The Mighty, Ice Nine Kills, MC Chris, Saves The Day, and Yellowcard
The Scene: A reasonably priced ducat for the punk rock disaffected, the Vans Warped Tour has always drawn a diverse crowd of rock, goth, metal, and punk fans and has served as the breakout tour for many up-and-coming acts. Under 18? You can bring a parent or guardian for free.
Date: June 12–15
Location: Manchester, Tenn.
Lineup Includes: The Avett Brothers, James Blake, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Lauryn Hill, Elton John, Janelle Monáe, Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Jack White, and Zedd
The Scene: With more than 10 stages spread across 700 acres of Tennessee countryside, Bonnaroo maintains its own special feeling of camaraderie. Between sets, festivalgoers will enjoy comedy, films, shopping, water slides, and a complimentary hair washing and styling station.
Firefly Music Festival
Date: June 19–22
Location: Dover, Del.
Lineup Includes: Band Of Horses, Beck, Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Jack Johnson, the Lumineers, Ziggy Marley, and Weezer
The Scene: Set in the lush wooded area of the Dover International Speedway, Firefly is considered the East Coast's "premier music experience." The lineup offers something for everyone, from alternative rock (Third Eye Blind) and dance/electronica (Pretty Lights) to folk/rock (Amos Lee) and rap (Childish Gambino). Plus, as its name suggests, Firefly features lighting and video displays throughout the forest that will "put your neighborhood Christmas-lighting enthusiast to shame."
Electric Daisy Carnival
Date: June 20–22
Location: Las Vegas
Lineup Includes: Afrojack, Avicii, Bassnectar, Chromeo, Benny Benassi, Diplo, Cedric Gervais, Calvin Harris, Tiësto, and Armin Van Buuren
The Scene: Now in its 18th year in Las Vegas, EDC is a fully immersive audiovisual adventure. Featuring more than 180 artists, 500 theatrical performers and large-scale interactive art installations, EDC provides a nonstop dance party from "dusk 'til dawn."
Connect: @EDC_Las Vegas
Date: July 3–6
Location: New Orleans
Lineup Includes: Erykah Badu, Mary J. Blige, Robert Glasper, Ledisi, Prince, Lionel Richie, the Roots, Jill Scott, and Charlie Wilson
The Scene: Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the Essence Festival is putting the "big" in the Big Easy by hosting some of R&B's biggest stars at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome during Fourth of July weekend. The festival will also host a bevy of inspirational guest speakers, including Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin and the Rev. Al Sharpton, among others.
Pitchfork Music Festival
Date: July 18–20
Lineup Includes: Beck, Dum Dum Girls, Kendrick Lamar, Neutral Milk Hotel, Pusha T, Schoolboy Q, St. Vincent, and Sharon Van Etten
The Scene: Pitchfork is one of the most "welcoming, comfortable, reasonably priced, and rewarding weekends of music," according to its website. Organized by Pitchfork Media, publishers of the popular indie music site, Pitchfork hosts 50,000 attendees of all ages for a wide array of activities beyond music, including specialty fairs that promote the local Chicago arts community. The festival will host a separate installment in Paris during Halloween weekend.
Newport Folk Festival
Date: July 25–27
Location: Newport, R.I.
Lineup Includes: Ryan Adams, Deer Tick, Lucero, Nickel Creek, Conor Oberst, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Mavis Staples, and Jeff Tweedy
The Scene: Located in Fort Adams State Park at the mouth of Newport Harbor, festivalgoers are surrounded by panoramic views of the Newport Bridge and the East Passage. The festival features four stages of folk music, food, crafts, and a number of art displays, and guests can either spend their nights camping on festival grounds or in nearby hotels.
Date: Aug. 1–3
Lineup Includes: Arctic Monkeys, Broken Bells, Eminem, Foster The People, Kings Of Leon, Lorde, Nas, OutKast, and Skrillex
The Scene: The venerable Perry Farrell-curated festival, which has called Chicago's Grant Park home since 2005, has become so popular that in 2011 it expanded its scope into South America, launching festivals in both Chile and Brazil. The Chicago festival now features multiple stages and more than 100 artists.
Date: Aug. 7–9
Location: Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Lineup Includes: Jason Aldean, the Band Perry, Florida Georgia Line, Brad Paisley, Travis Tritt, and Zac Brown Band
The Scene: Since 1983, country music fans have been retreating to Soo Pass Ranch for WE Fest, regarded as a leading country music festival. For the complete WE Fest experience, festivalgoers can pitch a tent or park their Airstream trailers on festival grounds. And if you fancy yourself a singer, check out the WE Fest Karaoke Roundup for the chance to perform at the festival.
Made In America
Date: Aug. 30–31
Location: Los Angeles and Philadelphia
Los Angeles Lineup Includes: Los Angeles lineup includes Chance The Rapper, Cypress Hill, Imagine Dragons, Juanes, John Mayer, Rita Ora, Rise Against, and Weezer
Philadelphia Lineup Includes: Awolnation, J. Cole, De La Soul, Girl Talk, the National, Tiësto, Pharrell Williams, and Kanye West
The Scene: Since 2012, festival co-founder Jay Z has been shutting down Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia over Labor Day weekend for his Made In America music festival. Now, the GRAMMY winner is going bicoastal and bringing the party to L.A. The fest features food trucks and multiple stages of music personally curated by Hova.
Date: Aug. 30–Sept. 1
Lineup Includes: the Afghan Whigs, the Both, Elvis Costello And The Imposters, Charlie Musselwhite, Gregory Porter, the Replacements, and Wu-Tang Clan
The Scene: Billed as "art in the great northleft," Seattle's venerable music festival not only offers great music, but also features the best in film, comedy, spoken word, dance, theater, and performance and visual arts. The festival claims to be the largest of its kind in North America.
Date: Sept. 26–28
Location: Chattahoochee Hills, Ga.
Lineup Includes: Martin Garrix, David Guetta, Richie Hawtin, Kaskade, Morgan Page, Skrillex, and Wolfpack
The Scene: TomorrowWorld — where "yesterday is history, today is a gift and tomorrow is history" — is a three-day music festival and five-day camping experience spread over 8,000 acres of forests and lakes. The event, which originated in Belgium, promises "mind-blowing decor, massive artist lineups, luxury camping, and gourmet food."
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Date: Oct. 3–5, 10–12
Location: Austin, Texas
Lineup Includes: AFI, Asleep At The Wheel, Iggy Azalea, Fitz & The Tantrums, Interpol, Lana Del Rey, Major Lazer, Pearl Jam, Phantogram, and Sam Smith
The Scene: One of the last festivals of the season takes place, appropriately, in the "Live Music Capital of the World." As a result of its growing popularity, in 2013 ACL pulled a Coachella and expanded its festival to two weekends.
A3C Hip Hop Festival
Date: Oct. 8–12
Lineup Includes: To be announced. The 2013 installment featured A$AP Ferg, Bun B, Ghostface Killah, Talib Kweli, Lecrae, Meek Mill, Questlove, and Schoolboy Q
The Scene: Celebrating its 10th year, A3C has become the preeminent hip-hop festival in the United States. It's grown from a regional showcase to an internationally renowned cultural experience that intersects music, education, art, film, fashion, and pro-audio.
Date: Oct. 31–Nov. 2
Location: New Orleans
Lineup Includes: To be announced. The 2013 installment featured Bassnectar, the Cure, Calvin Harris, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, New Found Glory, and Pearl Jam
The Scene: This three-day music and art experience combines a top-notch performance lineup with the spiritual folkways of New Orleans voodoo. The event takes place rain or shine in New Orleans City Park on the Voodoo Festival Grounds, and kids under age 10 get in for free.