It’s been estimated by Billboard that 32 million people go to at least one music festival in the United States every year…32 million! And that number continues to grow year after year.
Luckily for the musically inclined, that means there’s certainly no shortage of amazing music festivals to choose from. So we narrowed it down a bit to present you with seven of the coolest music festivals in the US today. Enjoy!
Dirtybird Campout West (Waterford, CA)
Next Dates: October 5 – 7, 2018
Prior Lineup Highlights: Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, J. Phlip, Cut Snake
Dirtybird Campout takes the concept of “camping festival” to a whole new level by creating an atmosphere that is reminiscent of days at summer camp (you know, if you were a kid lucky enough to get to attend a summer camp).
In addition to a stacked lineup from all your favorite Dirtybird artists (and then some!), campers can also expect a full roster of camp activities such as field games (like kickball and ultimate frisbee), tournaments (like dodgeball and tug of war), fireside storytelling, a talent show, and much, much more!
Team events make it easy to connect and bond with your fellow campers, and you’re sure to see Claude VonStroke and other Dirtybird DJs participating in the activities and mingling with attendees throughout the 3-day weekend event.
So rally the troops, grab your camping gear, plan your best costumes, and head on out to California for what is sure to be one of the best camping festival experiences out there.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (New Orleans, LA)
Next Dates: October 26 – 28, 2018
Prior Lineup Highlights: Tool, The Chainsmokers, Die Antwoord, Porter Robinson, Rebelution
Voodoo festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018, and it certainly goes without saying that you don’t survive that long as a music festival by accident.
It’s morphed over the years from a single-day fest focusing solely on musical acts, to now a 3-day festival that includes a stacked multi-genre lineup (seriously…check it out) as well as various art installations, amusement rides, and a culinary experience that rivals any festival I’ve been to.
While this festival has been around for a long time, it has yet to blow up in size to the epic proportions you see at festivals like Coachella…and that’s a good thing! It feels more intimate, the festival bathrooms are kept immaculately clean, and you don’t have to wait in line too long for practically anything.
I also love that it’s remained so reasonably priced – you can get a 2018 GA ticket for $140 + fees. That’s almost unheard of on the festival circuit with a lineup like Voodoo’s!
Combine all that with being in New Orleans for Halloween weekend, and you’ve got yourself a well-rounded experience worth traveling for!
Friendship (Miami, FL / Bahamas)
Next Festival Dates: December 11 – 15, 2018
Prior Lineup Highlights: To Be Determined
The maiden voyage of Friendship is embarking on the Bahamas this December. Wait, what? Maiden voyage? How can it be on a “coolest music festivals in the US” if it hasn’t even occurred yet?
The answer to this is really two-fold:
1) Friendship is being put on by none other than Gary Richards (DJ name: Destructo), the mastermind behind the wildly successful Holy Ship festival up until his departure from HARD in 2016
2) Gary’s loyal ship following (AKA shipfam) have so much faith in him that his new venture sold out in a matter of days
Now Gary is back in the ship festival game and competing directly with his former brainchild. Shipfam is rallying hard behind Richards and looking forward to how he will take on this new venture and make it different from his old one.
Some key notables already in the works? He’s brought the boat back to Miami, mixed up the cruise line by contracting with Celebrity cruises, and picked a port of call in the Bahamas where a dock is currently under construction (thus fixing the weather issues that have plagued prior Holy Ships and canceled planned private beach parties).
But what can we be sure of NOT changing? Gary’s dedication to shipfam, a perfectly curated lineup sure to satisfy all tastes, and a fully inclusive community feel that you don’t get from every music festival out there.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Indio, CA)
Next Dates: April 2019 – two weekends offered
Prior Lineup Highlights: Beyonce, Calvin Harris, AC/DC, The Weeknd
Can you have a listing of best music festivals in the US and not include the most famous of them all? I think not.
This 3-day music festival attracts attendees from all over the world, including some of your favorite celebrities who are sure to be sporting their hottest fest gear. It’s a mixed genre festival, so there’s something on the lineup for everyone in your crew!
Coachella is one of those large-scale festivals where the producers continue to spend top-dollar to guarantee the best experience for all attendees. Beyond the music, Coachella includes a number of large-scale art installations every year (and many are oh-so-Instagram worthy), 100+ food vendors to satisfy any craving, and plenty of side parties and after parties to attend.
It’s known to be a scorcher in Indio this time of year, and the location is also known to be quite dry (read: dust), so be sure to prepare appropriately for that.
Hangout Music Festival (Gulf Shores, AL)
Next Dates: May 2019 – typically the third weekend in May
Prior Lineup Highlights: The Chainsmokers, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, Alabama Shakes
Looking to enjoy some of your favorite musical acts with your feet in the sand and the ocean at your back? Then look no further than Hangout Fest!
This is another multi-genre festival that will have a variety of acts to suit all musical tastes in your crew. And when you’re ready to take a break from the music, Hangout fest includes plenty of activities like a roller disco, ferris wheel, and a puppy kissing booth (sign me up!).
The festival has been recognized multiple times with nominations for “Festival of the Year” from industry awards groups. In 2015, the company behind Coachella took notice of Hangout Fest’s success and entered into a joint venture to produce the festival going forward. This has only increased the production value of the event and brought along with it Coachella-adjacent vibes, but on a beach setting. Doesn’t get much better than that!
Sasquatch! (Gorge Amphitheatre, WA)
Next Dates: May 2019 – typically Memorial Day weekend
Past Lineup Highlights: Modest Mouse, Chance the Rapper, Twenty One Pilots, Rufus Du Sol
Location, location, location! This is certainly an instance where a festival gets major points for being put on at one of the most beautiful venues in the US.
Sasquatch! is held at the Gorge Amphitheatre – an outdoor venue located in a grassy knoll in the foothills of the Cascade mountain range with views of the Columbia River (gorge is right!). The setting lends itself to more of a “no frills” type atmosphere where festival producers leave it up to good old Mother Nature to supply all the ambiance needed. Therefore, you won’t find any large art installations ala Coachella here, but I promise you, you won’t even miss it!
This is a true camping festival and every ticket includes onsite camping in the cost. Like all camping festivals, you’ll have to decide how much you want to “rough it” or if you want to splurge for premium camping amenities (like running showers).
For attendees, there’s no better place to spend Memorial Day weekend than dancing the night away listening to your favorite artists and making new best friends at the gorge.
Electric Forest (Rothbury, MI)
Next Dates: June 2019 – two weekends offered
Past Lineup Highlights: The String Cheese Incident, Odesza, Bassnectar, DJ Snake, Skrillex
Ask any of Electric Forest’s annual attendees and they’ll tell you: there’s magic that happens in those trees! Electric Forest is so beloved by many festival goers that it’s not uncommon to meet someone who has been attending for five, six, seven-plus years.
Set in a literal forest in Michigan, pictures don’t do the festival true justice. Amongst the trees you can find art installations, amazing stage setups, hammocks, and even a wedding chapel. And of course, all are absolutely glowing with an impressive amount of lights, lasers, and projections.
Electric Forest is a festival where you can expect an amazing crowd that really feels more like a community or family than many other festivals.
Add to that an amazingly diverse lineup to fit any mood, free showers, plenty of water stations and food vendors, and it’s easy to understand why this festival has become so successful.
It’s easy to see we are completely spoiled in the US with so many amazing music festivals to choose from. Did we miss one of your favorite USA music festivals? Let us and your fellow readers know in the comments below why YOUR favorite music festival belongs on our list!