The summer festival season is fast upon us, and every year there seems to be more amazing options to choose from.
From the dazzling lights and mind-blowing bass drops of Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) to the funky good times and cultural offerings of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, there’s a fest out there for just about everyone.
As the global popularity of festivals has grown in recent years, a new phenomenon has arisen: festival tourism. Festivals are increasingly drawing attendees from out of state – and out of the country – making for a more eclectic and international festival scene than ever. Are you considering traveling to the US for a music festival? Are you ready to experience legendary festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo for yourself? Here are 10 US music festivals not to miss in 2015.
Electric Daisy Carnival
The first Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) was held in 1997 in Southern California and has since has expanded to multiple locations in the US, the United Kingdom, Mexico and Puerto Rico. EDC consistently features the best DJs from around the world, treating fans of electronic dance music to all the lights, lasers, intense build-ups, and epic drops they could ever dream of. Highlights at last year’s festival in Las Vegas – which drew a record-setting 400,000 people – included DJ Tiesto, A-Trak, Carl Cox, Diplo, and so much more.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival turns 46 this year with its biggest blowout yet, bringing together international superstars, homegrown musical talent, and a heaping helping of Louisiana culture for one of the country’s most beloved and unique festivals. With 12 stages of music, hundreds of artists, and an extensive array of cultural showcases, Jazz Fest’s diverse range of offerings is seriously impressive. This year’s line-up features rock and pop icons like Elton John and Lady Gaga as well as an extensive array of jazz heavyweights like Cassandra Wilson and New Orleans’ own Irvin Mayfield. The festival is split into two weekends in late April/early May, treating festivalgoers to seven full days of unforgettable music and culture.
Learn more about Jazz Festivals in the United States
Rock in Rio USA
Rock in Rio originated in its namesake Brazilian city and has since been held in Lisbon and Madrid. In 2015 the multi-genre festival will make its US debut with a highly anticipated event in Las Vegas. With its genre-spanning blend of pop, rock, indie, metal, and more, Rock in Rio has become one of the world’s largest festivals, drawing out crowds the size of small cities. Rock on!
CMA Music Festival (Country Music Association Music Festival)
Head on down to Nashville, Tennessee for four days of rootin’ tootin’ guitar strummin’ at the CMA Music Festival. The country music festival takes place each June and features more than 400 artists rocking out, attending autograph sessions, and holding at meet-and-greets with their devoted fans. It’s an intimate and unique festival experience to say the least — the CMAs are where country music’s most beloved stars go to connect with their fans.
Coachella is Southern California’s premier music and arts festival, held annually during mid-April on the expansive lawns of the Empire Polo Club in Indio. The festival features a consistently incredible line-up, a vibrant camping experience, an abundant display of topnotch fashion, and, of course, California’s blazing sunshine. Simply put, it perfectly encapsulates what music festivals are all about. The festival’s eclectic line-up caters to a wide range of tastes – this year’s highlights included everything from rock favorites ACDC and Jack White to hip hop heavyweight Drake, indie sensation St. Vincent, and EDM wunderkind Alesso.
Learn more about the Coachella Music Festival.
Newport Folk Festival
Every year in late June the biggest names in blues, country, bluegrass, and folk descend upon Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island for the Newport Folk Festival. The festival has been around since the ‘70s and is rich with history — Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, and Bob Dylan have all taken the stage at Newport. Camping is encouraged so grab your gear and head for the park!
Farmborough Country Music Festival kicks off its inaugural shindig in 2015, and buzz around the festival is already big. Farmborough will take place in late June on Randall’s Island in New York City, which boasts panoramic vistas of the Manhattan skyline. Complementing the world-class views will be some of country’s biggest stars including this year’s trio of heavyweight headliners Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, and Luke Bryan.
Learn more about Farmborough NYC.
Beale Street Music Festival
Every year the Beale Street Music Festival kicks off the Memphis in May International Festival with a bang. The three-day festival features a diverse mix of genres – rock, indie, rap, and more — and promises fun for all ages. Memphis is known for its music scene, unique culture, and delicious BBQ delicacies — all of which can be enjoyed during the music festival. This year’s festival features Lenny Kravitz, Ed Sheeran, Hozier, and more — head south to Memphis in May and soak up some Southern hospitality at this festival season staple.
Learn more about the Beale Street Music Festival.
Situated on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest is one of the best outdoor music venues in the country: The Gorge Amphitheatre. Every year over Memorial Day weekend, Sasquatch! Music Festival takes over the amphitheatre for a weekend of camping, merry-making, and world-class music. This year’s line-up features Kendrick Lamar, Modest Mouse, Lana Del Rey, Sleater-Kinney, and Tame Impala, just to name a few. If you’re looking to combine breathtaking scenery with one of the best line-ups the summer has to offer, Sasquatch! is the festival for you.
Learn more about Sasquatch! Music Festival.
Bonnaroo started as a folk and jam band showcase, but over the years it has grown to include just about everything — indie, hip hop, jazz, country, pop, electronic… there’s something for everyone at Bonnaroo. This year’s highlights include Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, and more. The four-day affair takes place in mid-June at the Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee, and is one of festival season’s most beloved traditions.
Learn more about Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.