Coachella, 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 festivals in the US...
Selling out fast every year, the Indio desert becomes a fashionable hive of the coolest artists watched by trendy people and celebrities. Near the top of everyone's bucket list of festivals, the Coachella lineup is a constant source of annual anticipation and a hotbed for musical discussion.
When & where: April 14-16 & 21-23, 2022; Indio, California
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: August 3-6, 2023; Chicago, Illinois
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: March 10-19, 2023; Austin, Texas
Pitchfork Music Festival
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: July 2023; Chicago, Illinois
Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas
Aside from its two popular US events in Vegas and Orlando, this fairytale carnival experience has also visited Puerto Rico, Mexico and the UK. Inviting attendees into an EDM wonderland of neon decor and walkabout performers, every year the event pulls in a record attendance with fans ready to escape reality through electronic music.
When & where: May 19-21, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada
Austin City Limits Music Festival
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: October 7-9 & 14-16, 2022; Austin, Texas
Ultra Music Festival
Seen as the ultimate gathering for electronic music fans across the nation and globe, the streets of Miami turn into a bold and bumping party with worshipped DJs ushering in what will be the sounds of summer.
When & where: March 24-26, 2023; Miami, Florida
The Governors Ball Music Festival
Moving off of Randalls Island to Citi Field in Queens, Gov Ball is an exciting and infectious mix of rock, hip-hop, electronic, and pop. Providing a variety of music and food tastes, whether you're looking to kick back and relax or surrender yourself to beats and riffs, Governors Ball has what you need.
When & where: June 2023; New York, New York
The Governors Ball Music Festival Guide & Mailing List
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Few festivals mean more to their community than New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Dating back to 1970, the festival is a complete cultural experience reaching well beyond the music. A rigid, stuffy affair this is not: Jazz Fest has expanded its purview over the years, growing alongside one of the most vibrant cities in the world.
When & where: April 28-30 & May 4-7, 2023; New Orleans, Louisiana
Life Is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival
The youngest mega festival on this list, Life Is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival was founded in 2013. Melding commercial and critical darlings across pop, rock, hip hop, and electronic genres on the bill every year, rest assured you will witness some of the biggest names in music plying their craft in the heart of North America's hedonist capital.
When & where: September 22-24, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada
Boston Calling Music Festival
Boston Calling is the biggest multi-genre festival in New England. Set over Memorial Day weekend, the festival brings some of the most influential acts from rock, hip hop, and electronic to the Harvard Athletic Complex. Beyond the music, Boston Calling features an all star selection of the city's best food vendors, art installations, immersive games, and an eye-catching 100ft ferris wheel.
When & where: May 2023; Allston, Massachusetts
Boston Calling Guide & Mailing List
Festival lineup: Burning Man doesn't have a lineup per se, instead the festival feature music, art and cultural programs put on by its attendees.
The organisers might not like the word, but Burning Man is the ultimate festival. Taking place in the Nevada desert, it's all about bringing freedom back into an increasingly regulated life. Started in 1986, Burning Man has grown into a cultural phenomenon, inspiring numerous imitation festivals around the globe.
When & where: August 2023; Black Rock Desert, Nevada
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Originally focused on jam bands and folk rock, this festival has expanded to include an impressive array of popular genres. Once praised by Rolling Stone magazine as being amongst the "50 Moments That Changed Rock & Roll," Bonnaroo has firmly cemented its place as one of the most influential festivals in North America.
When & where: June 15-18, 2023; Great Stage Park, Tennessee
Day N Vegas
The newest festival on the list, Day N Vegas is heading into its second edition in 2021. It's not hard to see why the fledgling festival has rocketed up the American pecking order so quickly: its lineups to date have been nothing short of eye-popping. Grabbing headline sets from the biggest names in hip hop and filling out the rest of the bill with a who's who list of buzzy genre mainstays and up-and-comers, the sky's the limit for this festival.
When & where: TBA November, 2022; Las Vegas, Nevada
Starting out as a DIY movement in the US, as a response to feeling like an outsider and desiring a sense of belonging, AFROPUNK is now one of the world's most famous cultural movements. Its mix of art, activism and music now attracts up to 60,000 people and spreads its message in cities around the globe, celebrating black culture and giving community to those who feel marginalised in modern western societies.
When & where: September 2023; Brooklyn, New York
One of the country's leading boutique festivals, III Points has been raising the bar in terms of giving creativity a platform since 2013. Firmly anchored in electronic music, the festival also showcases the best from hip hop, rock and beyond with only one criteria to make it on the bill: your music has to be good.
When & where: October 2023; Miami, Florida
Firefly Music Festival
An American multi-genre behemoth, Firefly is the east coast's biggest camping festival. Everything about this festival is top of the line, from the lineup which is annually made up of the biggest names in popular music to an utterly immersive experience onsite with tons of areas to explore.
When & where: September 2023; Dover, Delaware
Desert Daze Festival
Perhaps the premier psychedelic-tinged festival in The States, the sun-drenched, fuzzed-out sounds that pervade the artists' music that make up the bill are perfectly melded with Desert Daze's palm tree lined, beach-fronted location on Lake Perris. Skip tripping in Joshua Tree and come here instead.
When & where: September/October 2023; Lake Perris, California
Rolling Loud Festival
In only a few short years Rolling Loud shot up to become the undisputed king of all hip hop festival series. With editions held in New York, LA, the Bay Area, Australia, Toronto, the Netherlands, Portugal and of course its flagship in Miami, the festival is by far the biggest festival dedicated to hip hop by any metric.
When & Where: July 21-23, 2023; Miami, Florida
Stagecoach is the Coachella of country music in every way. The lineup is one of the most hotly anticipated in the country and annually features the biggest names in modern (country) music, you're likely to spot some celebs onsite and it even takes place on the same hallowed grounds in Indio, California.
When & Where: April 28-30, 2023; Indio, California