Spring is just around the corner and with that comes festival season. Enthusiastic festival-goers and music lovers from all over will flock to some of the most energetic cities in the U.S. for world-class live music and immaculate vibes. The best festivals are adventures, perfect for making new friends. So here is our list of the best spring music festivals you don't want to miss.
The 9 Best Spring Music Festivals
1. South by Southwest (SXSW)
Austin, Texas, is known as the Live Music Capital of the World, but there's more to the city than live music and scrumptious food trucks. Overflowing with art and tech, the city hosts SXSW, the well-renowned two-week event that not only offers the best in music, art, and tech, but also film and much more. The festival takes over downtown Austin from March 11-20, where its badges get you access to different shows, conferences, panels, exhibitions, premieres, and more based on what package you purchased. It's the ultimate networking event for creatives and business people alike, who will get to hear from the world's most innovative and creative celebrities such as Lizzo, BEEPLE, Mark Cuban, Bob Odenkirk, Beck, and Neal Stephenson. Check out our list of Airbnbs to stay in Austin while exploring all SXSW has to offer.
2. Ultra Music Festival
If you're looking for a really wild time, then head to Miami, Florida, for Ultra Music Festival. Known as one of the world's leading electronic music festivals, the event invites all those who are looking for massive crowds, crazy light shows, and EDM. It'll be held during the weekend of March 25-27, celebrating dance music with an incredible lineup filled with the most world-renowned DJs including Tiesto, Afrojack, DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, and Knife Party. This festival is great for college students going on spring break or adults looking for a high-energy getaway. Check out our list of Airbnbs to book in Miami for your stay during this event.
3. Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival
In Indio, California, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival never fails to hold its reputation as one of the most popular music festivals in the U.S. to attend. Always featuring the biggest names in music for its headliners, the festival plans to bring Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Run the Jewels, Kanye West, Swedish House Mafia, and more to its stages this year. Coachella has two attending options to pick from with relatively the same lineup both weekends: April 15-17 and April 22-24. It's also a camping festival, if you want easy access to the festival grounds instead of having to plan for transportation from your accommodations. The festival also features iconic art installations that many who attend look forward to capturing their Coachella memories in front of.
4. New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Also known as Jazzfest, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival honors the Louisiana city's unique and local culture through music, cuisine, and art. The highly acclaimed fest has been named "Festival of the Year" four times by Pollstar magazine and has been called "the country's very best music festival" by Life magazine. Kelsey James is the social media manager and editor of River Beats Media, a brand based out of New Orleans that covers music, art, festivals, pop culture, and more. James, having previously attended Jazzfest, explained what's amazing about this festival and why it's worth traveling down south for.
"The diversity of artists in addition to the iconic musicians Jazzfest brings are what make this festival great. Many of the artists playing are once-in-a-lifetime shows with the possibility of never being able to see that artist again (especially those older musicians)," she said. "The diversity, from the food to the music to the local art vendors. Each and every day, Jazz Fest brings over 50+ food vendors and 70+ bands and artists to the New Orleans Fair Grounds, which is a massive feat in itself. It's a huge draw for not only locals but tourists, bringing in people from all walks of life coming together to enjoy the festival."
The event will have 12 stages featuring the variety of music genres that are historically significant in the area, including jazz, gospel, blues, R&B, funk, rock, Cajun, zydeco, African, Latin, Caribbean, folk, and more. Headliners include the Who, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Buffet & the Coral Reefer Band, Luke Combs, Lionel Richie, Erykah Badu, Norah Jones, and Willie Nelson. Potential attendees will have the option to pick one of two weekends: April 29- May 1 and May 5-8. Check out our list of Airbnbs to stay in New Orleans while attending Jazzfest.
5. Shaky Knees Music Festival
Hipsters and music elitists will unite in Atlanta, Georgia, on the weekend of April 29- May 1, for the ultimate indie rock festival. Shaky Knees Music Festival feels like home to the biggest fans of alternative music and will present on its mainstage some of the more popular names in the genre including Green Day, Billy Idol, Kurt Vile & the Violators, My Morning Jacket, Khruangbin, Band of Horses, and Japanese Breakfast. Check out our list of Airbnbs to stay in Atlanta while attending Shaky Knees.
Devin Dandis has been attending Shaky Knees for four years, traditionally going with her father and sister. A Georgia native, she explained why the event is special to her and why it's the best event for those who greatly appreciate alternative music.
"What I love about the festival is the vibes. Whether you're by yourself, with a group, or just with your partner, you're guaranteed a good time. Alternative music is my music home and to have a fest that is focused on that is a blessing," she said. "Most of the audience are also alternative fans, so it feels like a very safe space to be the weird, indie kid or the cool, rock dad. They've had legends like David Byrne and Tears for Fears play, where my dad flipped out, and I'm watching over at Jack White shredding an air guitar. The music they bring and the audience that comes with it make it one of the best fests around."
Dandis also highlighted how the festival offers the best food trucks, most coming from the city's favorite local restaurants, as well as many other famous eats throughout the Southeast. "The food trucks are so good and worth the line every time," she advised. "Atlanta is also one of the best cities in the nation! It's always fun to stay downtown and scooter to and from the event."
6. Electric Daisy Carnival
Another world-renowned electronic music festival, Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, Nevada, is the perfect event for those who want to escape to the desert for a few days. The rainbow wonderland is full of creative art installations and insane light shows, in between the massive stages that hold the best in EDM. Attendees plan to stay up all night, letting the colorful lights and fireworks illuminate the dark sky. The weather may get a little chilly, but it's still perfect enough to wander around in as this festival will be held on the weekend of May 20-22. Check out our list of Airbnbs to stay in Las Vegas while partying at EDC.
Jina Kim is a festival and an EDM blogger, the mastermind behind the brand SideWalkTalk. She explained what makes EDC so special, especially for those who love the electronic music community. "EDC is where I fell in love with everything about EDM. Not only that, but the festival's production is on a different caliber. You feel like you've entered a different world," she said. "And what I really love about EDM festivals is the people. From attendees, artists, to even people working at the festivals. Everyone is so kind. I think everyone goes into these festivals with a certain mindset of letting go of their stresses and just having a great time for a few days. "
7. BottleRock Napa Valley Festival
If you want to take advantage of your time off during Memorial Day weekend, then consider heading to the West Coast for some sun, wine, and good music. BottleRock Napa Valley Festival will run from May 27-29, and will feature big names such as Metallica, P!nk, Twenty One Pilots, Kygo, Pitbull, and more. In true Napa fashion, the festival will offer the best wines from all around the world. You can also count on pairing your wine choices with food from Michelin star rated restaurants. But if wine isn't your thing, there will be plenty of brew options, especially since the event is North of San Francisco, where craft beer is important.
8. Governors Ball
It might feel like summer come June, but there are a couple of festivals worth mentioning that are happening right before the official season begins. The Governors Ball Music Festival will be held on June 10-12, at Citi Field on Randall's Island in New York. This Northeast festival is planning to bring all types of artists to its venue, including Kid Cudi, Black Pumas, Halsey, Glass Animals, Kaytranada, Clairo, and more. The festival features a plethora of food and drinks to choose from, offering vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options too. With massive festivals happening all over the country, this event was built by New Yorkers for New Yorkers. So experience the Big Apple in a way a true native would.
9. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
As one of the most popular camping festivals in the U.S., Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival brings four full days of music, community, and fun to Manchester, Tennessee. During June 16-19, Great Stage Park will be full of attendees who come ready with their tents, cars, and RVs to listen to the heavy-stacked lineup that ranges from hip-hop to country music. J. Cole, Flume, the War on Drugs, Dayglow, Tash Sultana, Stevie Nicks, and Machine Gun Kelly are just a few of the big names that will be performing, and it's no wonder people can camp there for almost a week. Community is a big emphasis with this event, where you'll get to meet new people and have plenty of experiences regardless if you're with your family or friends. Their camping sites also have accessibility features for those who need it.
What're your favorite music festivals to attend in the U.S.? Share your answers with us on our Wide Open Roads Facebook!
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