5 Music Festivals Everyone Should Attend
Fanny packs have made a comeback thanks to the ever-growing popularity of the music festival. What began as a few isolated events scattered throughout the country in the ’80s and ’90s has exploded into a full-blown musical movement thanks to the power of millennials. In fact, there are now so many music fests throughout the year (especially the warm summer months) that you couldn’t fly to all of them even if you wanted to. That’s why we’ve compiled the top 5 music festivals everyone should experience before they die. So fill up your fanny pack (better known as a “festival bag”) and jet off to one of these music fests.
- Lollapalooza. Lolla is an iconic festival, one of the first of its kind. In its first year, 1991, only nine performers took to the stage, mostly alternative artists, a few rock and punk bands. By 2014, the festival in Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park—nestled right up against the heart of downtown, known by locals as the Loop—hosted a whopping 133 artists and bands. Everyone from Pearl Jam to Lady Gaga has headlined this now international festival. So you can expect this year’s lineup to, once again, feature the best of underground bands mixed with Billboard toppers. You might finally get to be that friend who discovers a killer band before its big break.
- South by Southwest. A music festival first and foremost (with some film mixed in), South by Southwest is just as established as Lollapalooza. Now nearly three decades old, the festival has the unique advantage of being located in Austin—a notoriously hip and lively city. With the thriving metropolis as its backdrop, South by Southwest showcases a whopping 2,200 acts from all over the country. With more than 100 stages, there’s plenty of room for artists of all different genres to play. You can Snapchat all day long without ever double-posting the same band.
- Coachella. Coachella may be less than two decades old, but that hasn’t slowed it down. A famous stomping ground for the young and beautiful in Hollywood (which happens to be just a few hours’ drive away), Coachella is almost as popular for celeb-spotting as it is for listening to new music. Its focus skews more alternative than other fests. Beck and Rage Against the Machine helmed the very first festival back in 1999, and Outkast, Muse, and Arcade Fire did the honors in 2014.
- Bonnaroo. Every year, 85,000 campers fill the fields around Bonnaroo’s stages. Roughly 700 acres of Tennessee’s untamed wilderness are devoted to this festival, a blank canvas for the performances that artists will paint across each stage. Bonnaroo refuses to commit to just one musical genre, which is why its lineup always has a little bit of everything. In 2014, for instance, Elton John, Kanye West, and Jack White all shared the spotlight as some of the most famous performers. There aren’t as many performances at Bonnaroo (a little more than 10 stages total), so you should be able to Instagram nearly every big name’s performance.
- Made in America. Made in America is the only festival that spans the country. The brainchild of Jay Z, its performances unfold both in Philadelphia and Los Angeles. Though it’s only a few years old, the magnetic star power of its founder has attracted everyone from Beyonce to Kanye West to Made in America’s main stage. Reserve your hotel room in Philly far in advance if you want to attend this festival (there’s no camping) and grab an Uber or the subway to the grounds—right in front of the Rocky steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.