It doesn’t matter if it’s Bach, the Beatles, Brad Paisley or Bruno Mars. Your favorite music likely triggers a similar type of activity in your brain as other people’s favorites do in theirs.
Now, let’s picture the following: music, sun, friends and thousands of unknown people willing to enjoy the moment as much as you do. I bet you’re already in the mood, right? Here’s a list of the best 25 music festivals for you and your friends to have the time of your life. Remember not to miss number #13, 11, 4 and 3!
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#21. Meadows In The Mountains
The Meadows Music And Arts Festival is New York City’s newest rock, pop and urban music festival. It is set to go down at Citifield in Queens, New York, lasting the whole weekend. With a plethora of artists hitting four stages, music lovers will fall to their knees in sheer delight.
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In its first year, which was in 2016, it featured incredible artists such as JAY Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz, Future, Nas, Bassnectar, Weezer, Run The Jewels, M.I.A., Erykah Badu and more, capping a lineup packed to the brim with New York City artists and the most electric performers from around the world. Outstanding street art, signature craft cocktails, loads of food vendors and more complemented the blasting aura the next year.
The Stagecoach Country Music Festival, born in 2007, has become a staple with country music fans across the world. This multi-day event features unparalleled music performances and activities for the entire family. Last time, 80.000+ people descended once again upon the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA to enjoy the festival.
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Allegedly, it features the greatest country-based performers. In addition, for country fans more interested in the ambiance of the desert festival, amenities like Honkytonk Dance Hall and Nikki Lane’s Stage Stop Marketplace have their own place along with old favorites like the Half-Pint Hootenanny, the Budweiser Clydesdales, and Guy Fieri’s Stagecoach Smokehouse.
The Pitchfork Music Festival is an annual must for those seeking for the latest and greatest. Held since 2005 in Union Park in Chicago, Illinois, it’s recognized for its quite diverse music genre array. its lineup, focused primarily on artists and bands from alternative rock, hip hop, electronica, and dance music, has also ranged into hardcore punk, experimental rock, and even jazz.
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This festival, created by Pitchfork Media, not only focuses on music but on the whole experience instead. In addition to 40+ artist presented throughout its 3 days lasting, Pitchfork Music Festival features a wide variety of vendors such as Beat Kitchen, Billy Goat Tavern, BenjYehuda, Black Dog Gelato, The Chicago Diner, Churros Factory, Connie’s Pizza, Donermen Food Truck, Estrella Negra and more.
The Hangout Music Festival, or just Hangout, is the single most known beach-located music festival among the youngsters right now. Its name comes from one of two main stages, called The Hangout Stage after its host, The Hangout Restaurant. The other main stage is placed at the opposite end of the beach – And yes, you’ve read right, this festival takes up an entire beach!
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At this annual three-day music festival held at the public beaches of Gulf Shores, you’ll be entertained by rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic dance music artists ranging from Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters or Red Hot Chili Peppers to Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Khalid or Cardi B. Feeling exhausted? just grab a cold drink, or simply take a quick splash!
The Firefly Music Festival takes place in The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, a 105-acre festival ground in Delaware, over the span of three days. It’s the perfect opportunity for music lovers who happen to love camping as well, since having fun camping while listening to nice live-music is what this festival is all about.
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First held on 2012, it managed to present over 100 performances per season, thanks to its 7-stage layout: The Porch Stage, The Lawn Stage, The Backyard Stage, the Treehouse, The Coffee House, The Pavilion and The Firefly Stage. What else can you ask for?
#16. Governors Balls
Produced by the same company as The Meadows Music&Art Festival, the Governors Balls Music Festival presents more of a contemporary lineup. With Indie rock, alternative rock, hip-hop and EDM 60+ artists playing across 4 stages, there’s always something for everyone!
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Food and entertainment are the best things after music in this NY-placed festival. A selection of restaurants, food trucks, and menus, as well as interactive photo booths, life-size board games, and unique outdoor activations, makes this an experience quite hard to forget.
#15. Outside Lands
The Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival is one of the many perfect ways to get right into the Cali vibe. Held at Golden Gate Park since 2008, it hosts 100+ art and music artists for more than 60.000 people a day, even though it was hardly criticized for its disruption to the normally quiet Richmond and Sunset District neighborhoods.
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In the 2018 season, its name hit the books by becoming the first American music festival featuring what was called “Grass Lands”, an area known for selling more than $1 million in cannabis products such as edibles and vaping cartridges over the three-day event.
Peace and Music overflow the upstate New York streets during the three days Woodstock Music Festival lasts. It’s best known for its ’69 iteration when literally more than half a million people encountered themselves into what would be known as the most memorable hippie music festival in history.
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Woodstock co-founder Michael Lang said:
“Woodstock 1969 was a reaction by the youth of its time and the conditions we faced. We proved that it is possible to live together in harmony and with compassion…with only our best selves represented. Woodstock gave people around the world hope, which is why I think it remains relevant today“.
Lollapalooza Festival, better known as Lolla, is a matter of talk since 1991. Originally conceived in Chicago as a rock/indie kinda music festival, it nowadays takes place in the USA, Chile, Brasil, Argentina, Germany, and France featuring artists from all over the globe.
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170+ alternative rock, punk rock, rap, indie rock, indie pop, electro house, nu-metal, and even alternative metal artists perform in 8 different stages, each one perfectly timed to accommodate to everyone’s liking alike. There’s even an inner mini-festival for the youngest of them all!
#12. South By Southwest
Mostly known by a millennial variation of its acronym, SXSW, the South By Southwest Music Festival takes place in Austin, Texas every spring. It’s known as the gate to success for all of those rising artists willing to take their portion of the pie, enhancing their career by performing for new audiences – professionals and others alike.
Photo: Courtesy of The University of Texas at Austin
Professionally, it’s a heck of an opportunity to make both professional and personal connections with the ones already in the business. What is the benefit for us, the other 99%, you may wonder? Well, you’ll be able to enjoy incredible live-performances for free as artists congregate together into every corner of Austin city.
#11. Austin City Limits
Austin City Limits (ACL) is a one-of-a-kind show from top to bottom. Its lineup mushes up a number of artists, 125+ to be more accurate, ranging from rock and electronic to even Americana, a genre that’s a mush up of its own, finding its roots in various music styles, including country, roots rock, folk, gospel, and bluegrass.
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Did I already mention that this electrifying experience lasts for 2 weekends? Yeah, you’ve read right. 2 weekends for you and your friends to enjoy tacos, brews, vegan options and more. The ACL Eats Food Court at ACL Fest offers the most delicious festival food, drinks, and sweets from Austin and the surrounding area’s favorite restaurants. The festival also features an Art Market, phone charging stations, photogenic spaces, merch and more.
Launched at 2019, Dreamville Festival was set to be a one-of-a-kind event for the region as it looks to provide a thoughtfully designed, multi-stage music event, hosted by J. Cole himself. Raised in nearby Fayetteville, North Carolina, this was an opportunity for the artist to give back something to his home state, the one that helped shape what he has become.
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The festival itself aimed to provide a unique opportunity for everyone alike to enjoy a music celebration in one of Raleigh’s largest park – a 300-acre greenspace called Dorothea Dix Park. It’s a unique celebration of local culture, food, and art that also features a curated selection of music performers blending together some of the up-to-date biggest national acts with exciting up-and-comers.
Located in Haarlemmermeer, The Netherlands, Misteryland is an event with musical diversity deeply rooted in its DNA. More than 300 artists performing on 17 stages, covering all genres within the spectrum of electronic music: from House, Big Room, Bass, Techno, Deep-House, Trance, Trap and Minimal to Hardstyle, Hardcore, RnB and Hip Hop.
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Their handcrafted stages range from outdoor dance floors to massive tents filled with LED screens, laser shows, and the world’s most advanced sound systems. Next to the dance floors, the various paths through forests and grassy fields will guide you to hidden chill-out spaces, art installations, food courts and unexpected encounters with like-minded travelers.
Bonnaroo is a festival going down every June or so in Manchester, TN. It features world-class lineups year after year, and more than 150 performances you can shake a stick at. 10+ stages and entertainment that goes non-stop, so you’ll always find something to do.
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There’s so much room for activities! Whether you’re chilling out at yoga, painting water-colors with a local artist, or bringin’ the heat in the Seventh “First Annual” 5k, Bonnaroo always has what you’re looking for (and plenty of the unexpected too).
The Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts, commonly abbreviated as Glastonbury or even Glasto, is a performing arts festival that takes place near Pilton, Somerset (England), known for its contemporary music and also for dance, comedy, theater, circus, cabaret, and other arts.
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Coincidentally first held a couple of hours after Jimi Hendrix passed away, it was a contraction of another popular festival at the time, called The Blues festival. But little did Michael Eavis, the o.g creator, know that 150.000+ music fans would attend this new monstrous festival he was going to put up with.
#6. Rolling Loud
The Rolling Loud is a 3-days music festival that started not so long ago in Miami, FL. Nowadays, it also hosts festivals in Bay Area, New York, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and has plans to expand to Europe and even grow into Japan, after having already conquered China.
Photo: Courtesy of Billboard
All ages are welcomed to attend Rolling Loud Festival to enjoy incredible performances from artist such as Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Post Malone, Future, Kodak Black, Lil Uzi Vert, Migos, Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, A$AP Rocky, Travis Scott, Lil B, and many more.
Coachella is a music festival held over two weekends in The Empire Polo Club, Indio, California. It pushes itself and its guests to do better and to be better, taking deliberate steps into developing a festival culture that is safe and inclusive for everyone. People of any gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, age or ability are welcome at this festival.
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Certainly, its conscientious roots boosted the numbers in some way – Each Coachella set new records for both festival attendance and gross revenues. With more than 250.000 attendants in 2017, music is obviously not what this festival is all about. Art, food, games, giveaways and good times are also what the festival is about.
The Ultra Festival is an intense 3-day musical experience, unlike anything you have experienced before. Among one of the more important aspects of enjoying and attending the event is wearing comfortable shoes and clothing, staying hydrated – since Miami is hot and humid – and making sure you and your friends are prepared to re-define the meaning of the word “joy”!
Photo: Courtesy of Ultra Music Festival
Some of the last artists to hit the stage of this world-wide known festival are: Martin Garrix, Zedd, Armin Van Buuren, Tchami, Nghtmre + Slander, Cash Cash, Salvatore Ganacci, Mykris, Tommie Sunshine, The Chainsmokers, David Guetta, Afrojack, Oliver Heldens, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Lost Kings, Jonas Blue, Young Bombs, Kryomann and more.
Tomorrowland is a Belgian electro-dance music festival, first held in 2005 and now widely known as one of the largest, most noticeable of its kind. It takes place over the span of 2 weekends and with 400.000+ people trying to get their claws into some tickets, so they usually sell-out in scarce minutes.
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Entertaining almost half a million people is everything but an easy task. Its lineup is only constituted by the best of the best: Anjunabeats, Crosstown Rebels, Diynamic and Monstercat, Armin van Buuren, Amelie Lens, Carl Cox, Don Diablo, Fisher, Oliver Heldens, Adam Beyer, Charlotte de Witte, Andhim, La Fleur, Paul Van Dyk, Nervo and more.
Oshega is an annual festivity that sites itself on Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal, in Canada. It features comfortable and spacious festival grounds, iconic side-by-side main stages with a breathtaking view of the Montreal skyline, and an Arts Village – all of this in addition to a family-friendly Kids Zone, with free admission for children 10 and under.
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In spite of being a marble of its own, this festival also happens to have an excellent location – only steps away from Jean-Drapeau metro, and only 15 minutes by public transit from downtown Montreal. Its lineup range from The Lumineer, Flume, Hozier, and Interpol to Gucci Mane, Childish Gambino, J Balvin and more.
Primavera Sound Festival has been striking Barcelona between every May and June since 2001. The physiognomy of the festival, urban and integrated into the city, and the wide range of groups represented has motivated Primavera Sound to be a meeting point for artists and spectators from different generations.
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Part of its last lineup was composed by: Pixies, Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age, The National, Nine Inch Nails, Kendrick Lamar, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Portishead, Pet Shop Boys, Pavement, Echo & The Bunnymen, Lou Reed, My Bloody Valentine, El-P, Pulp, Patti Smith, James Blake, Cat Power, Public Enemy, Grinderman, Franz Ferdinand, Television, Devo, Enrique Morente, among others.