Coachella, Burning Man, 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…
AFROPUNK FEST Brooklyn
Headliners (2016): Ice Cube, TV On The Radio, Tyler The Creator, Flying Lotus
Inspired by the movement of the same name, Afro Punk celebrates the culture of black communities within the punk and alternative scene, whilst bringing together respected Urban artists from around the world. The lineup often features a mixture of punk, rap, rock, metal and world bands featuring black or mixed race artists.
When & where: 26–27 August 2017, Brooklyn, New York
Headliners: Bassnectar, The String Cheese Incident, ODESZA, My Morning Jacket
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: 22–25 June; 29 June – 2 July 2017, Rothbury, Michigan
MADE IN AMERICA
Headliners (2016): Rihanna, Coldplay, ColleGrove, Jamie xx
Founded by rapper, record producer and all round business mogul Jay-Z, Made In America is a cultural celebration of bands from the states along with artists on the rappers label. When narrating the ad for the first event Jay-Z said the theme of the festival was to unite “like-minded people together” and “trade of each others culture”.
When & where: September 2017, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Headliners (2016): Tiësto, Bassnectar, Hardwell, Claptone
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: 1–3 September 2017, Randall’s Island, New York
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS MUSIC FESTIVAL
Headliners (2016): Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Mumford & Sons, Major Lazer
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: 6–8; 13–15 October 2017, Zilker Park, Austin
ELECTRIC DAISY CARNIVAL LAS VEGAS
Headliners (2016): Aless, Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Knife Party
Aside from its two popular US events, this fairytale carnival experience has also visited Puerto Rico and London. 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: 16–18 June 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada
SASQUATCH! MUSIC FESTIVAL
Headliners (2016): Florence + The Machine, The Cure, Disclosure, Major Lazer
In a relatively remote part of Washington, this festival has a popular campsite and while featuring all music genres, the lineup often has a larger concentration of indie rock bands and adored singer-songwriters. Taking place over Memorial Day weekend, tickets for this are often in high-demand as many include this festival amongst their summer time must attend events.
When & where: 26–29 May 2017, Gorge Amphitheatre, George, Washington
BONNAROO MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL
Headliners: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Chance The Rapper
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: 8–11 June 2017, Great Stage Park, Tennessee
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Headliners: Ice Cube, Major Lazer, The Prodigy, 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: 24–26 March 2017, Miami, Florida
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Headliners (2016): Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole
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: 3–6 August 2017, Grant Park, Chicago
THE GOVERNORS BALL MUSIC FESTIVAL
Headliners: Chance The Rapper, Pheonix, Tool, Lorde
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: 2–4 June 2017, Randall’s Island, New York
Headliners (2016): FKA Twigs, Carly Rae Jepsen, Savages, Twin Peaks
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: 14–16 July 2015, Union Park, Chicago
Described as “an experiment in community, art, radical self-expression, and radical self-reliance”, Burning Man is more of an artistic escape than a music festival, with each camper providing a service or performance for their space over the event. There is also the famous annual burning of a large wooden effigy, along with surprise performances, interactive sculptures and the chance to meet a wonderful variety of free sprits.
When & where: 27 August – 4 September 2017, Black Rock Desert, Nevada
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: 10–19 March 2017, Austin, Texas
Headliners: Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé
Selling out fast every year, the Indio desert becomes a fashionable hive of the coolest bands watched by trendy people and celebrities. Considered to be a bucket-list event the rumour mill for the lineup is a constant source of annual anticipation for music press and fans alike.
When & where: 14–16; 21–23 April 2017, Indio, California