Destination Deep-Dive 9 MINS READ

The 15 Best Music Festivals in The USA

The 15 Best Music Festivals in The USA

Destination Deep-Dive 9 MINS READ
Excited crowd during music concert.

The United States is buzzing with a vibrant mass of music festivals that keep tourists and locals on their toes throughout the year.

From pulse-pounding EDM concerts to larger-than-life rock shows and passionate jazz performances, there has got to be something for everyone in the USA’s robust lineup of festivals.

Dreaming of celebrating the return to travel and festivals at the same time? Say no more. We’ve gathered a list of the top 15 music festivals that should be on every music lover’s bucket list in 2021/2022. Have a look!

Note: Make sure to double-check COVID 19 precautions, protocols, and operating hours before you visit any of these sites.

The Top Music Festivals In The US

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Kaskade performs onstage at The Other Tent during day 3 of the 2018 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival on June 9, 2018 in Manchester, Tennessee

When: Sep 2 – Sep 5, 2021

Where: Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tennessee

Line up: Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Tame Impala, Young The Giant, Leon Bridges, Rufus du Sol

Held in the Bonnaroo Farm, in Manchester (Tennessee), Bonnaroo is a vibrant annual four-day music festival that features a sparkling lineup of 150+ musicians and other artists.

With 10+ performance stages, the festival brings some of the most influential acts from pop, alternative rock, indie rock, hip hop, R&B, electronic, funk, and other musical genres, making it one of the most sought after events in the United States.

Noteworthy past performances include concerts by U2, Pearl Jam, Billy Joel, and Elton John, just to name a few.

Find Places To Stay In Tennessee, USA

Coachella

Escape Velocity. Art by Poetic Kinetics (Tyler Hanson) at Coachella 2014.

When: April 15-17 & 22-24, 2022 (Two Weekends)

Where: Empire Polo Field, Indio, California

Line up: To be announced.

Of all the amazing music festivals happening in the US throughout the year, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival has got to be one of the most-awaited.

Held annually in the picture-perfect Coachella Valley, in California, the festival features a dazzling array of musical artists from many genres — from rock, to hip hop and electronic dance music —, including names like Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Snoop Dogg, and Amy Whinehouse.

Known for the buzz and vibrance of its lineup, Coachella attracts over 200,000 people each, and in addition to hosting live music, the festival showcases visual artworks, like installation art and eye-popping sculptures.

Find Places To Stay In Indio, California

Recommended Read: The Ultimate California Travel Guide

Lollapalooza

The temporary Lollapalooza sign downtown Chicago, at the entrance to Grant Park.

When: July 28-31, 2022

Where: Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois

Line up: To be announced.

Boasting 8 stages, and 170+ bands from all around the world, Lollapalooza is something every music lover should experience at least once in their life.

This worldwide known music festival was created in 1991 as a farewell tour by Perry Farrell, singer of Jane’s Addiction, and it’s held throughout four days in Grant Park, Chicago, during the summertime.

Thanks to its captivating array of concerts that include a variety of genres, from heavy metal, punk rock to electronic music, Lollapalooza draws a massive crowd of almost 500,000 people each year.

Past performers include big-names like Kanye West, Metallica, Outkast, Nine Inch Nails, Lady Gaga, and Tyler, The Creator, just to name a few.

Find Places To Stay In Chicago, Illinois

Recommended Read: The 6 Best Day Trips from Chicago

Ultra Music Festival

Ultra Music Festival at the Miami Marine Stadium in Virginia Key, Florida.

When: March 25-27, 2022

Where: Bayfront Park, Miami

Line up: To be announced.

Consistently ranked the world’s #1 music festival by DJ Mag, Ultra Music Festival is an electrifying event that takes place every March in Miami, Florida.

This massive waterfront festival is a veritable wonderland for electronic music lovers, and it brings together more than 170,00 attendees that are dreaming of seeing performances by names like David Guetta, Armin van Buuren,  Justice, Major Lazer,  Benny Benassi, and Steve Aoki.

Covering all electronic genres — from house to techno, and EDM —,  Ultra Music Festival became so internationally-renowned, that it now takes place in 26 and 29 countries, including Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Croatia, and South Africa.

Find Places To Stay In Miami, Florida

Electric Daisy Carnival

Electric Daisy Carnival, Las Vegas, United States

When:  Oct 22 to Oct 24, 2021

Where: Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas

Line up: Alesso, The Chainsmokers, Tiësto, and Martin Garrix

Also known as EDC, the Electric Daisy Carnival is the largest electronic music festival in North America. 

As soon as you step foot in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where the event takes place, you’ll be transported to a magical carnival wonderland filled with three-dimensional superstructures, glow-in-the-dark environments, and multicolored LED-infused flora and fauna.

Aside from the mesmerizing setting, the festival features thrilling rides,  pyrotechnics, circus performers, and exhilarating sets by electronic artists like Armin van Buuren, Calvin Harris, Diplo, Alesso, Martin Garrix, Zedd, Afrojack, and Tiësto.

Find Places To Stay In Las Vegas, Nevada

South By Southwest (SXSW)

Signer, songwriter, and rapper Anderson Paak performs at a concert during SXSW 2016 in Austin, Texas.

When: March 11-20, 2022

Where: Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas

Lineup: To be announced

Over a 10-day span, SXSW brings together a dazzling wealth of parallel events, including film screenings, tech conferences, and comedy shows, all in one place. Held in Austin, Texas, in mid-March, this multidisciplinary festival also features a series of music concerts by nearly 300 showcasing artists, from big-name to new hitters.

While next year’s lineup is yet to be announced, expect to be granted a stellar list of performers like Jack White, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Mumford & Sons, Travis Scott, and more.

Find Places To Stay in Austin, Texas

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival 

Crowd at JazzFest, New Orleans.

When: Apr 29 – May 8, 2022

Where: Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana

Lineup: To be announced

An enticing Creole cuisine, gorgeous riverfront parks, lovely townhouses, and well-preserved historic neighborhoods make New Orleans one of the best long weekend getaways in the US. A vibrant musical scene also draws thousands of visitors to the city each year, especially to witness the massive Jazz Fest, which is a lively celebration of the local music and culture.

Taking place every spring, from April to May, this bustling musical festival features multiple stages where attendees can marvel at top-notch performances of contemporary jazz, afro-centric and world music, blues, gospel, and even live cooking demonstrations.

The Jazz Fest also features an array of food trucks, where visitors can sample a variety of authentic dishes like crawfish beignets, cajun jambalaya, jalapeño bread, and fried green tomatoes.

Find Places To Stay In New Orleans, Louisiana

Burning Man

Group of people riding on bikes in dust storm

When: August 21 to September 5, 2021

Where: Virtually

Held in the sun-drenched Black Rock Desert, in Nevada, Burning Man is not a festival. It’s an annual experiment that celebrates art, identity, self-expression, and self-reliance.

The event features larger-than-life interactive installation artworks, electronic music camps, spontaneous musical performances, and dancing.

In 2021, Burning Man will happen virtually with the theme “The Great Unknown” as an invitation to emerge from the world’s collective isolation, and explore the unfamiliar contours of a changed reality.

Electric Zoo

Electric Zoo Festival, NY.
Credit: Instagram @electriczoony

When: September 3-5, 2021

Where: Randall’s Island Park, New York City

Lineup: Tiësto, Steve Aoki, Kaskade, Alesso, and Claptone.

Held over Labor Day weekend on Randall’s Island, Electric Zoo is New York’s premier Electronic Music Festival, and one of the largest events in the city. Each year the festival brings together the most iconic names in electronic music, including Tiësto, Steve Aoki, and Alesso.

Aside from thrilling DJ sets, the festival also features some delicious food options that are sure to give you extra energy from the beginning to the end! This year’s highlights include Tica’s Tacos, Grilled Cheese Poojas, and Ponti Rossi Pizza.

Find Places To Stay In New York City, New York

Firefly Music Festival

Firefly music festival
Credit: Instagram @fireflymusicfestival

When: Sep 23-26, 2021

Where: The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, Dover, Delaware

Lineup: Billie Eilish, Diplo, Megan Thee Stallion, Portugal. The Man, Tame Impala

Offering an unlimited variety of spellbinding experiences that go way beyond music, the Firefly Festival is one of the most praised events in the country.

This three-day event is held in The Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, in Dover, Delaware, and in 2021 will spoil visitors with a fascinating lineup of more than 120 bands across 7 stages.

When not frantically dancing to captivating songs in the festival’s concerts, visitors can indulge in a plethora of activities like shopping in the Bazaar Central Market, skating on the Roller Rink, relaxing on the Hammock Hangout, and participating in free yoga sessions in the meadows.

Hungry yet? Then don’t miss the lip-smacking food vendors that will participate in the event. From elaborate cocktails to vegan treats and hearty pizzas, there’s something for everyone.

Find Places To Stay In Delaware, USA

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin City Limits Festival, Austin, Texas.

When: October 1-3, 8-10

Where: Zilker Park, Austin, Texas

Lineup: Miley Cyrus, Erykah Badu, Chet Faker, Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Modest Mouse, Duran Duran, Greta Van Fleet, St. Vincent, Karol G

Over the course of two weekends, the Austin City Limits Music Festival grants jostling crowds of music lovers with electrifying concerts by over 130 bands across 8 stages.

Covering an endless number of music genres, like rock, indie, country, folk, electronic and hip hop, the festival is attended by almost 450,000 people each year.

Artists who have played at the Austin City Limits Music Festival include Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, Muse, Vampire Weekend, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, and Pearl Jam.

The event also boasts a mini-fest for kids, and delicious food options like tacos, brews, and more treats for when the hunger strikes.

Find Places To Stay In Austin, Texas

Governors Ball Music Festival

People having fun at Governors Ball Music festival at Randall's Island in New York City at summer

When: Fri, Sep 24, 2021 – Sun, Sep 26, 2021

Where: Citi Field, New York City, New York

Lineup: Future Islands, J Balvin, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Leon Bridges, Ellie Goulding, and Phoebe Bridgers

“Music. Art. Food. Experiences. Community. Surprises”. These are the thrilling offers that visitors can indulge in when attending Governors Ball Music Festival. A bustling event held annually on Randalls Island, in New York City, the festival features an array of genres and styles of music, from electronic and hip-hop, to indie and folk.

While mind-blowing concerts by artists like J Balvin, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, Leon Bridges, Ellie Goulding, and Phoebe Bridgers are 2021’s most popular attractions, the festival also flaunts a multitude of popular New York restaurants and food vendors.

Find Places To Stay In New York City, New York

Stagecoach Festival

Crowd at Stagecoach Festival, Indio, California.
Credit: Instagram @stagecoach

When: April 29-May 1st, 2022.

Where: Empire Polo Club, Indio, California

Lineup: Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett, Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne, Luke Combs.

Country music lovers, rejoice! Stagecoach Festival is back in 2022 bringing together some of the top performers of the country, including names like Carrie Underwood, Brothers Osborne, and Luke Combs.

Held in the sun-kissed grounds of the Empire Polo Club, in Indio, California’s country music festival will feature a fun-wealth of attractions, like a honky-tonk dance hall, a Ferris wheel, and a pop-up bbq restaurant by the one-and-only Guy Fieri!

Find Places To Stay In Indio, California

Pitchfork Festival

Charli XCX aka Charlotte Emma Aitchison performs at Pitchfork Music Festival.

When: September 10–12, 2021

Where: Union Park, Chicago, Illinois

Lineup: Thundercat, Cat Power, Flying Lotus, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Animal Collective.

The Pitchfork Music Festival will proudly celebrate its 15th anniversary in 2021 with an electrifying list of music concerts throughout an entire weekend in September. 

Taking place in the Union Park, Chicago, this year’s event will be headlined by Erykah Badu, St. Vincent, and Phoebe Bridgers, and will feature performances by Cat Power, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Animal Collective, and more.

Find Places To Stay In Chicago, Ilinois

Afropunk Festival

Pharell Williams performing at Afropunk Festival.
Credit: Instagram @afropunk

When: September 26-26, 2021
Where: Atlantic Station, Atlanta, Georgia
Lineup: Foushée, Wale, Rico Nasty, Tems, Amindi, Smino.

The Afropunk Festival is an annual event that includes live music, film, fashion, and art performances produced by an influential community of black artists.

This year’s edition is back in Atlanta offering an exciting weekend-long musical experience that caters to their diverse community. Top performances include artists like Foushée, Rico Nasty, Smino, and more.

Not to mention that they’ll also have a number of delicious black-owned food trucks to give attendees extra energy between concerts!

Find Places To Stay In Atlanta, Georgia

Frequently Asked Questions About Music Festivals In The United States

What is the biggest music festival in the United States?

Summerfest, in Milwaukee (Wisconsin), attracts approximately 800,000 people each year and is the largest music festival in the USA.

What are the top 10 festivals in the USA?

  • Coachella;
  • Lollapalooza;
  • Ultra Music Festival;
  • Austin City Limits Festival;
  • Electric Daisy Carnival;
  • Bonnaroo;
  • Electric Zoo;
  • South By Southwest (SXSW);
  • Firefly Music Festival.

Is Coachella the biggest music festival in the US?

While Coachella is not the biggest music festival in the United States, it’s one of the most-awaited events of the year, attracting around 600,000 people annually.

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