It's a new year and that means now is the time to set yourself on course to have the best year possible. And of course that means seeing as much live music as you can. Festival season proper is still a few months off, but luckily the music never stops in America.
There are a number of great music festivals of all shapes, sizes, and sounds happening from sea to shining sea this January. Here are our choices for the best of the best.
Groove Cruise Orlando
Festival Lineup: Claude VonStroke, CloZee, Ferry Corsten, Gorgon City, Sofi Tukker, Markus Schulz, Barclay Crenshaw
Groove Cruise is the premier electronic music cruise series in the States. The Orlando edition is taking place on the top of the line Mariner of the Seas cruise ship which will set off from Port Canaveral and sail to Haiti before returning home. The four day festival is 96 straight hours of partying, with some of dance music's finest electronic artists soundtracking the expedition. With all the amenities you can handle and more DJ sets than you can possibly take in, this is a dance music lover's dream.
When & Where: January 20-24, 2022; Orlando, Florida
Groove Cruise Orlando 2022 Guide
Festival Lineup: Ghost Rydr (Joyryde B2B Ghastly), Kayzo, NGHTMRE, Slushii, 12th Planet, Blunts & Blondes, Getter B2B Eptic
The aptly named Wobbleland is San Fransisco's premier bass music festival. For three days the Bill Graham Auditorium will be shaking with chest-rattling, mind-altering beats that utilize the subwoofers to their full potential. Dating back to 2010, Wobbleland is one of the scene's more established festivals, bringing the community together for over a decade of partying.
When & Where: January 14-16, 2022; San Fransisco, California
30A Songwriters Festival
Festival Lineup: Mavis Staples, Emmylou Harris, Jenny Lewis, Dawes, Rickie Lee Jones, Brothers of a Feather (Chris & Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes), Steve Earle
30A is the most established songwriters festivals in the country. What differentiates a songwriter festival from a regular one is that they're more intimate and aimed at actually helping songwriters improve their craft. To do this they utilize things like workshops, panel discussions, and artist rounds (where multiple songwriters are on stage at once trading songs back and forth). Every year 30A welcomes some of the most revered songwriters to play alongside 175 talented artists for over 250 performances across a wide range of venues.
When & Where: January 14-17, 2022; South Walton, Florida
Alter Ego Festival
Festival Lineup: Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons, Kings of Leon, Willow, All Time Low, Måneskin
If you're looking for name recognition, Alter Ego is the place for you. The festival, produced by iHeartRadio, annually puts together a tightly curated lineup of superstar rock acts for a one day all out musical celebration. You'd be hard-pressed to find more star power on a single bill anywhere outside the biggest of the big festivals. What more needs to be said? Do you like stadium status rock? Then here you go.
When & Where: January 15, 2022; Los Angeles, California
Tomorrow Never Knows
Festival Lineup: Best Coast, Diet Cig, Geese, DJ Zolita, Sam Evian, Muzi, Waltzer
From the biggest stars of today at Alter Ego to the potential stars of tomorrow at Tomorrow Never Knows. This showcase festival features rising indie and alternative talent spread out over 6 venues and 5 days. Started in 2005, acts like Snail Mail, badbadnotgood, Big Thief, Torres, Whitney, Zola Jesus, and Pup have all played the festival before blowing up.
When & Where: January 19-23, 2022; Chicago, Illinois
Festival Lineup: Ozuna, Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, Kali Uchis, Nicky Jam, Black Eyed Peas, Natti Natasha
Calibash puts latin musical culture front and center for three days every year. Here you can check out the biggest players in the sounds that are influencing mainstream pop music more than anything else these days: reggaeton and latin pop. Bring your dancing shoes and get ready to groove to some undeniable beats.
When & Where: January 14-16, 2022; Los Angeles, California
Ann Arbor Folk Festival
Festival Lineup: Emmylou Harris, Glen Hansard, Patty Griffin, Punch Brothers, Oshima Brothers, Madison Cunningham, The Ghost of Paul Revere
Celebrating its 45th anniversary in 2022, Ann Arbor Folk Festival is an absolute institution. The festival has been upholding the long and storied folk tradition for almost half a century now and has welcomed a number of the genre's most revered artists such as John Prine, Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Alison Krauss, Donovan, Richie Havens, and many, many more. The most powerful part of the festival is when a number of the artists on the bill come together Saturday night to sing together on stage as one.
When & Where: January 28-29, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan