Coachella, Lollapalooza and SXSW are often the first US festivals that come to mind. From the celebrated favourites, to a few surprises in between, here’s our breakdown of the finest events in the US…
Festival lineup: Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Ariana Grande, Janelle Monáe, The 1975, Solange, Khalid, Kid Cudi
Selling out fast every year, the Indio desert becomes a fashionable hive of the coolest bands watched by trendy people and celebrities. Near the top of everyone’s bucket list of festivals, the Coachella lineup is a constant source of annual anticipation and a hotbed for musical discussion.
When & where: 12-14 & 19-21 April 2019, Indio, California
Festival lineup (2018): Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Jack White, Travis Scott, The National, Vampire Weekend, ODESZA
A wonderful gathering of music, dance, comedy and craft booths, Lollapalooza is another multi-genre delight which also provides a platform for political and non-profit artists and groups. The festival is forever creating historical moments in many a musicians career firmly cementing it in the global hall of fame for festivals.
When & where: 1-4 August 2019; Grant Park, Chicago
3. South By South West
Regarded as the ultimate trend-setter and launcher of careers, SXSW is an annual showcase of music, film and interactive highlights enjoyed through performances, showcases, talks, screenings and more. Virtually taking over the city of Austin, everyone in the world of music from fans to media flock here to discover the next big thing.
When & where: 8-17 March 2019; Austin, Texas
4. Pitchfork Music Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Tame Impala, Fleet Foxes, Lauryn Hill, Courtney Barnett, Chaka Khan, The War on Drugs, Earl Sweatshirt, Blood Orange
Organised by independently focused music source Pitchfork Media, this three day event is a music genre melting pot of rock, hip-hop, electronic, jazz, punk and any other genre and sub-genre you want to celebrate. With a record fair, food, art and beverages from local and national vendors, this truly is a cultural feast.
When & where: July 2019, Union Park, Chicago
5. Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas
Festival lineup (2018): Armin van Buuren, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, Eric Prydz, Hardwell, Diplo, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Ferry Corsten
Aside from its two popular US events, this fairytale carnival experience has also visited Puerto Rico, Mexico and the UK. Inviting attendees into an EDM wonderland of neon decor and walkabout performers, every year the event pulls in a record attendance with fans desperate to escape reality through electronic music.
When & where: 17–19 May 2019; Las Vegas, Nevada
6. Austin City Limits Music Festival
Festival lineup (2018): Khalid, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Hozier, David Byrne, CHVRCHES, Deftones, Lil Wayne
Inspired by a concert series of the same name, the festival is an eight stage celebration of all things music, along with an art market, delicious food and drink, a dedicated family area and much more. Originally a one weekend event, the festival successfully expanded to two weekends in 2012 after the local council voted unanimously to allow it to do so.
When & where: 4-6 & 11-13 October 2019; Zilker Park, Austin
7. Ultra Music Festival
Festival lineup: Adam Beyer, Afrojack, Alesso, Armin van Buuren, Carl Cox, The Chainsmokers, Black Coffee, David Guetta
Seen as the ultimate gathering for electronic music fans across the nation and globe, the streets of Miami turn into a bold and pumping party with worshipped DJs providing the summertime soundtrack.
When & where: 29-31March 2019; Miami, Florida
8. The Governors Ball Music Festival
Headliners: Florence + the Machine, Major Lazer, The 1975, The Strokes, Tyler, the Creator, Lil Wayne, Brockhampton, Nas
Another event which proves the music loving potential of Randall’s Island Park is Govenors Ball, an exciting and infectious mix of rock, hip-hop, electronic, pop and folk. Providing a variety of music and food tastes, whether you look to kick back and relax or surrender yourself to beats and riffs, Governors Ball has what you want.
When & where: 31 May – 2 June 2019; Randall’s Island, New York
The Governors Ball Music Festival 2019 Guide & Waiting List
9. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Festival lineup: The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Katy Perry, Santana, Van Morrison, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jimmy Buffet & The Coral Reefer Band
Few festivals mean more to their community than New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals. Dating back to 1970, the festival is a complete cultural experience reaching well beyond the music. A rigid, stuffy affair this is not: Jazz Fest has expanded its purview over the years, growing alongside one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
When & where: 25-28 April & 2-5 May 2019; New Orleans, USA
10. Electric Zoo
Festival lineup (2018): Kaskade, Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Virtual Self, Tiësto, Alesso, Jauz, Rezz
Turning the parkland of Randall’s Island Park into an electronic dance utopia, the creative minds behind Tomorrowland, Mysteryland and Sensation have taken over the event injecting the same passionate magic into an event all dance fans anticipate.
When & where: August / September 2019; Randall’s Island, New York
11. Electric Forest
Festival lineup: ODESZA, Kygo, Bassnectar, Zeds Dead, Gorgon City, Honey Dijon, Alison Wonderland, Gramatik
Fusing bands with electronic DJs, this forest takeover is an alternative to the field-only festivals we are used to, as festival goers are immersed in the colours of the nature surrounding them, as thumping sounds follow them around from stage to stage.
When & where: 27-30 June 2019; Rothbury, Michigan
12. Burning Man
Festival lineup: Burning Man doesn’t have a lineup per se, instead showcasing a programme of music, art and culture driven by its attendees.
Burning Man is the ultimate festival, taking place in the Nevada desert. Started in 1986, the festival has grown into a cultural phenomenon and has inspired imitation festivals around the globe.
When & where: 25 August – 2 September 2019; Black Rock Desert, Nevada
13. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Festival lineup: Phish, Childish Gambino, Post Malone, ODESZA, The Lumineers, Solange, Cardi B, Grand Ole Opry
Originally focused on jam bands and folk rock, this festival has expanded to include an impressive array of genres and was once praised by Rolling Stone magazine as being amongst the “50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll”.
When & where: 13–16 June 2019; Great Stage Park, Tennessee
14. Hot 97 Summer Jam
Festival lineup (2018): Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, A$AP Ferg, Tory Lanez, Swizz Beatz & Friends, Remy Ma, Rich the Kid, Megan Ryte & Friends
No festival has been more integral to the development of hip hop than Hot 97 Summer Jam. Giving a platform to the freshest names, as well as providing fans with an opportunity to see the superheroes of rap, the festival has hosted its fair share of classic moments, with performers bringing out huge special guests having become the norm.
When & where: 9 June 2019; East Rutherford, USA
15. AFROPUNK FEST Brooklyn
Festival lineup (2018): Erykah Badu, Miguel, Tyler, The Creator, Janelle Monáe, The Internet, Twin Shadow, Lolawolf, Jaden Smith
Starting out as a DIY movement in the US, as a response to feeling like an outsider and desiring a sense of belonging, AFROPUNK is now one of the world’s most famous cultural movements. Its mix of art, activism and music now attracts up to 60,000 people and spreads its message in cities around the globe, celebrating black culture and giving community to those who feel marginalised in modern western societies.
When & where: August 2019; Brooklyn, New York