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Music festivals are the best way to soak up the sun while listening to many of your favorite artists live. A majority of music festivals occur in the summer since they usually take place outside. Live performances are only one aspect of a typical music festival. There are often many options of additional activities such as lawn games, photo booths and a wide selection of delicious foods. Many music festivals are annual and some are organized as for-profit while others are benefits for specific causes. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the "World’s Largest Music Festival" is Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Summerfest, which is an 11 day event that has held that title since 1999. Summerfest features a collection of artists with Adele and Luke Bryan headlining in 2016. Recurring yearly festival tours include Mayhem Festival, Ozzfest, and Warped Tour, which have shows in a variety of U.S. cities throughout the summer.
Other popular music festivals include the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival held in Manchester, Tennessee, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival located in Indio, California, Governors Ball in New York City, New York, and Sasquatch! Music Festival in George, Washington. One of the newer festivals on the scene is the IHeart Radio Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. And also happening in Vegas, new for 2016 the Route 91 Harvest Festival brings some of the biggest names in country music to Sin City. Some of the most popular electronic music festivals include Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival. Tickets to the Ultra Music Festival had such a high demand in 2015 that early bird tickets were sold out minutes after going on sale and their advanced tickets sold out in twenty minutes. Famous festivals from around the world include Glastonbury Festival in England, Reading and Leeds Festival in England, Primavera Sound in Spain, and Tomorrowland, which is held in Belgium. Music and arts festivals attract music lovers from all over the world to see the best live performances.
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo February 11-28 San Antonio, TX – The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo is one of the largest livestock shows and rodeos in the country. Held every year over 3 weeks in February, its home is the AT&T Center in San Antonio. After the rodeo events there is a concert given by several, mostly Country, artists. In addition to putting on a great show, and attracting over 1 million fans, the association has committed over $64 million through scholarships, cattle auctions and other means.
PAX East March 6 – 8 Boston, MA – Taking place at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, PAX East is just one in a series of festivals celebrating the gaming culture (the others in Seattle, San Antonio, and Melbourne, Australia). Defining characteristics of the “Penny Arcade Expo” include an opening keynote speech from an industry insider, panels on game topics, booths from both indie and major game developers, and of course video game freeplay areas.
South by Southwest March 13-22 Austin, TX – An Interactive, Film, and Music Festival, South by Southwest is held in March every year (this year it’s the 13th-the 22nd) in Austin, Texas,. The Music Festival is the largest in the world, with over 2,200 official performers and bands playing in over 100 venues. The festival has been the launching point for major artists, such as John Mayer and Katie Perry, and certainly will continue to introduce great musicians to the world.
Ultra Music Festival March 27 – 29 Miami, FL – Taking place at Bayfront Park in cultural downtown Miami, the Ultra Music Festival is an annual outdoor electronic music event bringing together some of the biggest names in the industry. This year’s lineup includes the likes of Avicii, David Guetta, Skrillex, and Steve Aoki.
Vans Warped Tour (2015 dates: various between April 7 – August 8) – Taking place across a variety of locations and venues throughout the summer, the Vans Warped Tour is the largest and longest running travelling music festival in America. The tour began as a showcase for punk rock music, but its more recent lineups have featured diverse genres. Some well-known acts performing this year include Asking Alexandria, Black Veil Brides, and Riff Raff.
Country Thunder Florece, AZ (2015 dates: April 9 – 12 & July 23 – 26) – Country Thunder is a country music festival that hosts two 4-day events each year. The first takes place in Florence, Arizona from April 9 – 12 and the second in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin from July 23 – 26. Each festival offers live entertainment on multiple stages, drawing close to 100,000 fans throughout the four-day span. This year’s lineup includes the likes of Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, and Dustin Lynch.
Coachella Indio, CA (2015 dates: April 10 – 12 & April 17 – 19) – Taking place at the Empire Polo Club in the Colorado Desert of Indio, California, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual two-weekend, three-day event featuring music performances across various genres, as well as art installations and sculptures. Coachella showcases popular and established music artists, as well as emerging artists and reunited groups. This year’s lineup includes the likes of AC/DC, David Guetta, and Drake, among countless others. This event has become a staple in the industry and consistently attracts music fans and festival goers from around the world.
StageCoach Festival Indio, CA (2015 dates: April 24 – 26) – Among the premier Country Music festivals in the country, 2015 Stagecoach brings some of the biggest names in the biz. Get your tickets now to watch acts like Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, ZZ Top, George Thorogood, Blake Shelton, Dierks Bentley, The Band Perry, Gregg Allman perform at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, CA and get ready for a wild time!
Sunfest West Palm Beach, FL (2015 dates: April 29 – May 3) – Taking place annually during the first week of May in downtown West Palm Beach, Florida, Sunfest is a musical and art festival featuring performances from various genres including rock, blues, R&B, folk, and pop. It is Florida’s largest waterfront festival and attracts more than 275,00o visitors per year. Headliners this year include Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravitz, Paramore, and Kaskade, among many others.
Electric Daisy Carnival (New York) (2015 dates: May 23 - 24) The premier EDM festival takes place in cities across the globe, but in 2015 it is again taking place at Metlife Stadium in New Jersey, with some of the biggest names in electronic music performing, including Tiesto, Bassnectar, Kaskade, Calvin Harris Afrojack, Hardwell, Benny Benassi, Martin Garrix and many more. EDM has seen close to half a million people over three days, and it's one EDM festival you don't want to miss.
Rock on the Range (2015 dates: May 15-17) – Marketed as the festival “Where Rock Lives,” Rock on the Range is held in mid-May in Columbus, Ohio. Each festival showcases mainstream rock bands, with a few older, famous bands headlining the show. This year, those performers are Slipknot, Judas Priest, and Linkin Park. There is also a Battle of The Bands at the festival, which gives aspiring bands the opportunity to win over $15,000 in prizes.
Boston Calling (2015 dates: May 22 – 24) – Set in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts at City Hall Plaza, the Boston Calling Music Festival is a three-day event bringing together a variety of big acts, ranging from rock to pop to hip-hop. Headliners this year include Beck, My Morning Jacket, and the Pixies, as well as St. Vincent, Tame Impala, TV on the Radio, and Tenacious D.
Bayou Country Superfest (2015 dates: May 23-24) – Held every Memorial Day weekend at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge Louisiana, Bayou Country Superfest is a great country event. Each year features both big stars and up-and-comings; this year's lineup includes Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Tyler Farr, David Nail, Cassadee Pope, and more! In addition to the concerts inside the stadium, there is the fanfest outside, which includes tailgating, DJs, and a Meet & Greet area.
Governor's Ball (2015 dates: June 5-7) – Held in Randall’s Island Park in New York City each June, Governor's Ball hosts dozens of artists and bands of various genres. This year some of their big names include Drake, The Black Keys, Deadmau5, Lana Del Rey, and Florenc. + The Machine. In addition to all the concerts, the festival has other fun activities including a silent disco, art installations to view, photo booths, and face and body painting. This year’s festival is sure to be a blast!
Bonnaroo (2015 dates: June 11 – 14) – Taking place throughout 700 acres of Tennessee nature, the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is an annual four-day celebration featuring multiple stages of live music from a diverse array of genres. Headliners this year include Billy Joel, Deadmau5, and Kendrick Lamar.
CMA Music Festival (2015 dates: June 11-14) – Appropriately located in Nashville, the CMA Music Festival is one of the biggest Country events of the year. Home to both new voices and old alike, some names from the lineup this year are Florida Georgia Line and Brett Eldredge, along with Alan Jackson and Wynnona & The Big Noise. In recent years, there have been over 400 artists attending, and hundreds of thousands of people with the opportunity to meet them. Be one of the crowd this June.
Electric Daisy Carnival - Las Vegas (2015 dates: June 18 - 21) - The Las Veags Electric Daisy Carnival takes place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over three days and will bring the biggest names in EDM together for a party for the ages. Almost half a million people have attended Electric Daisy in the past, and with names like Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Bassnectar, Tiesto and the other big guns in EDM, you know this is going to be one wild and crazy party.
Summerfest (2015 dates: June 24 – 28 & June 30 – July 5) – Taking place along a 75-acre lakefront at Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Summerfest aka “The Big Gig” is an 11-day music festival featuring 11 stages of entertainment. Guinness World Records recognizes Summerfest as the world’s largest music festival, boasting performances from over 700 bands and attracting close to 1,000,000 people each year. Headliners this year include Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Luke Bryan, and Outkast among countless others.
Electric Forest (2015 dates: June 25 – 28) – Taking place at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan, The Electric Forest Festival is a four-day multi-genre event, with a focus on the electronic and jam band varieties. Headliners this year include powerhouses Bassnectar, Skrillex, and Kaskade, among countless others.
Essence Music Festival (2015 dates: July 2-5) - One of New Orleans’ biggest events, the Essence Music Festival has been called “the party with a purpose.. It’s the largest event celebrating African-American culture and music in the United States. Accordingly, there are 35 black artists prepared to perform for thousands of people in the Superdome, which will have one main stage and four lounge stages. Some big names that will be at the festival this year are Nico & Vinz and Kool Moe Dee. The event takes place over the first weekend in July.
Mad Decent Block Party (2015 dates: July - November) – The Mad Decent Block party is a travelling music festival which hits 19 North American cities between July and September. In addition, this year in November, the Mad Decent Block Party is being transformed into a Mad Decent Boat Party. The festival will be a five day long travelling extravaganza aboard a cruise ship travelling from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, and a private Caribbean island. There will be dozens of performers and is sure to be a blast.
Lollapalooza (2015 dates: July 31 - August 2) – Originially conceived by Jane's Addition frontman Perry Farrell, the Lollapalooza Festival has grown to become among the biggest festivals of the year. Held annually at Grant Park in Chicago, Lollapalooza attracts more than 65,000 attendees for three days of incredible music and much, much more. The 2015 Lollapalooza festical features Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence and the Machine, Sam Smith, Bassnectar and many, many more. Don't miss out!
Ovo Fest (2015 dates: August 3-4) – Created by the R&B artist Drake, OVO Fest is held the first weekend of August in his hometown of Toronto. OVO stands for October’s Very Own, a record label founded by Drake. The festival has hosted several major R&B and rap artists including Rick Ross, Stevie Wonder, Nicki Minaj, and Lil Wayne, among others. This year’s headliners are Outkast and Drake himself.
Riot Fest (2016 dates: September 2-4 & September 16 – 18) – Riot Fest is a punk, rock, and alternative music festival taking place in the cities of Denver, Chicago, and Toronto. The festival proposes a diverse lineup consisting of buzzed-about reuinions, one-offs, special guest appearances, and popular punk mainstays. In past years, the stages of Riot Fest have seen the likes of Jane’s Addiction, Rise Against, and Weezer.
Electric Daisy Carnival - Las Vegas (2016 dates: June 17 - 19) - The Las Veags Electric Daisy Carnival takes place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway over three days and will bring the biggest names in EDM together for a party for the ages. Almost half a million people have attended Electric Daisy in the past, and with names like Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki, Bassnectar, Tiesto and the other big guns in EDM, you know this is going to be one wild and crazy party.
Burning Man (2016 dates: August 29 – September 5) – Taking place in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, the Burning Man Festival is a week-long celebration of community, art and self-expression culminating in the burning of a large wooden effigy. The event begins on the last Monday in August ends on the first Monday in September, which is also Labor Day.
Austin City Limits (2016 dates: September 30 – October 2 & October 7 – 9) – Taking place at Zilker Park in Austin, Texas, The ACL Music Festival is an annual event that spans over two consecutive three-day weekends. The festival has eight stages where musical groups from genres including rock, indie, country, folk, electronic, and hip hop perform for approximately 75,000 fans each day. In addition to the live acts, there are food and drinks, an art market, and a kids area for families.
Knotfest (2016 dates: October 23-26) – Created in 2012 by metal band Slipknot, Knotfest is becoming a yearly tradition, occurring each fall in different locations. This year’s metal fest is in San Bernadino, CA, October 23rd-26th. In addition to the headliner Slipknot, other performing bands include Five Finger Death Punch, Atreyu, and The Devil Wears Prada. It’s sure to be a killer good time!