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Summer 2015’s 50 Must-See Music Festivals

From Jazzfest to Electric Daisy Carnival and beyond, a guide to the season’s biggest and loudest bashes

Music Festivals

This summer boasts some of the biggest, loudest and most unique music festivals, from Jazzfest to Electric Daisy Carnival and beyond.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Looking for a weekend when you can relax with your family, rave with your friends or just hang out and listen to some of your favorite artists? No matter what you like or where you live, this summer almost certainly has a festival for you. Just as, say, Midwestern techno fans can find their rhythm at Detroit's Movement, rural New Englanders can vibe off alt-country and marvel at hot balloons from the grass of Western Massachusetts' Green River. But what if you're a nu-metal diehard stuck in western Quebec? Then Amnesia Rockfest has you covered. Below are the 50 summer festivals we're most excited about, from local events like the aforementioned to international travel destinations such as ATP Iceland and Primavera Sound.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty commands Jazzfest.

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New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

When: April 24th-26th, April 30th-May 3rd

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Why Go: No city in the South has a richer cultural and musical heritage than the Big Easy, the birthplace of jazz, chicory café au laits and crawfish everything. Toss in a slew of internationally renowned blues, R&B, hip-hop and gospel musicians, plus Native American pow wows and a minimum of four parades per day, and you've got the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. This gloriously diverse celebration of Louisiana culture can't be recreated anywhere else, and you won't find many other lineups that bring together No Doubt, Buddy Guy and the Who.

Must-See Acts: No Doubt, Ryan Adams, Elton John, Wilco, Sturgill Simpson, the Meters, Big Freedia, Kermit Ruffins Tribute to Louis Armstrong, Juvenile and Mannie Fresh, Galactic, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, Jimmy Buffet and the Coral Reefer Band, Hozier, Ed Sheeran, T.I.

Official Site:

Shaky Knees Music Festival

Alex Ebert of Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeroes performs during the 2nd Annual Shaky Knees Music Festival at Atlantic Station on May 11, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Chris McKay/Getty Images

Shaky Knees Music Festival

When: May 8th-10th

Where: Atlanta, Georgia

Why Go: Atlanta's Central Park might not be the most exotic location, but this relatively new event includes a strong lineup of both festival regulars (Mac DeMarco) and creative bookings (Social Distortion), along with up-and-comers like Nashville's Blank Range and neo-outlaw Nikki Lane. And as anyone whose ever spent double-digits on a soggy Sunday corn dog can tell you, it's a big plus that the midtown location puts you within walking distance of local food trucks and great barbeque.

Must-See Acts: The Strokes, Mastodon, Mac DeMarco, TV on the Radio, Pixies, Blank Range, Neutral Milk Hotel, the Mountain Goats, Social Distortion, Wilco, Nikki Lane, Tame Impala, Ryan Adams, James Blake, Interpol

Official Site:

Austin Psych Fest

Atmosphere during Day 1 of Austin Psych Fest at Carson Creek Ranch on May 2, 2014 in Austin, Texas.

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Austin Psych Fest

When: May 8th-10th

Where: Austin, Texas

Why Go: Leaving enough time to recover from the maelstrom that was SXSW, Austin keeps it weird with the annual Psych Fest, held at Carson Creek Ranch. This year's lineup suggests that freaks of all generations are welcome, spanning 50 years of psychedelic excellence. 13th Floor Elevators and the Jesus and Mary Chain headline, but don't miss contemporary local greats like Tele Novella. If you can spare $274 and endure the brutal pollen count, weekend admission with a camping pass is the way to go.

15 Must-See Acts: 13th Floor Elevators, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Melody's Echo Chamber, Mac DeMarco, the Soft Moon, Lightning Bolt, Health, Metz, Fat White Family, Föllakzoid, Las Robertas, White Fence, Tele Novella, Spiritualized, Primal Scream

Official Site:

Rock in Rio

Fans celebrate during a concert in the Rock in Rio Festival on September 13, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The festival will be held in Las Vegas in 2015.

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Rock in Rio USA

When: May 8th-9th, May 15th-16th

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

Why Go: Previously hosted in Brazil, Portugal and Spain, the carnivalesque Rock in Rio makes its U.S. debut this year in our most carnivalesque city. Rockers and pop fans get two separate weekends, with EDM and indie stages thrown in for good measure, but we assume there will be equal distribution of pyrotechnics. Oh, and in conjunction with the Cirque du Soleil, this year's fest boasts a flying DJ table and a 400-foot zip line that shoots your body across the crowd.

Must-See Acts: Rock Weekend: Sepultura, Metallica, the Pretty Reckless, Linkin Park, Deftones, No Doubt, Coheed & Cambria, Of Mice and Men. Pop Weekend: Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Empire of the Sun, Charli XCX, Whitney Fierce.

Official Site:

Hangout Music Festival, Diarrhea Planet

Hodan Dickie of Diarrhea Planet performs during the 2014 Hangout Music Festival on May 17, 2014 in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

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Hangout Music Fest

When: May 15th-May 17th

Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama

Why Go: Perched on the Gulf of Mexico's white-sand shores, Hangout doesn't try to be serious. Why bother, when everyone is either topless (him) or in a bikini (in most cases, her)? Imagine a super-charged MTV Beach House with acts like the Foo Fighters, Jenny Lewis and Skrillex playing to a crowd pushing a day-long sun buzz, all looking for a good excuse to raise one more margarita toward to the sky.  

Must-See Acts: Foo Fighters, Sam Smith, Beck, My Morning Jacket, Spoon, Jenny Lewis, Sylvan Esso, Father John Misty, Zac Brown Band, Skrillex, Paramore, Houndmouth, Jeff the Brotherhood, Future Islands, Major Lazer

Official Site:

Outkast, Counterpoint Festival

Andre 3000 and Big Boi of Outkast perform onstage during the 2014 Counterpoint Festival at Kingston Downs on April 27, 2014 in Rome, Georgia.

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CounterPoint Music and Arts Festival

When: May 22nd-24th

Where: Kingston Downs, Georgia

Why Go: Held on 5,000 acres near the Etowah River, CounterPoint keeps costs low by booking a tight lineup of dance, rock and funk. Expect the Roots to bring all three, and enter the "Sunday Summer Vibes" Stage at your own risk.

15 Must-See Acts: The Roots, Zedd, Umphrey's McGee, Travis Scott, ILoveMakonnen, Cherub, Lunice, Widespread Panic, RL Grime, Dillon Francis, Knife Party, Zeds Dead, Kygo, Chet Faker, Joe Russo's Almost Dead

Official Site:

Summer Camp

Summer Camp

Summer Camp Music Festival via YouTube

Summer Camp Music Festival

When: May 22nd-24th

Where: Chillicothe, Illinois

Why Go: Summer Camp is ground zero for the kind of crossover that only makes sense in hindsight. Here, trance-inducing jam bands roll on alongside trance-indebted EDM acts, and come Sunday night, the planet is a tiny bit chiller than it had been on Friday morning. Headliners Umphrey's McGee and Moe. each play five sets – catch 'em all, Pokémon-style.

Must-See Acts: Umphrey's McGee, Moe., Steve Miller Band, Widespread Panic, Krewella, Violent Femmes, Griz, Paul Oakenfold, Big Gigantic, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Keller Williams and Grateful Grass, A-Trak, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, Trampled by Turtles, Ween

Official Site:


Joey Timmer


When: May 22nd-25th

Where: Bethel, New York

Why Go: Rain and a series of tech glitches put a damper on last year's Mysteryland, but everyone is hopeful the kinks have been worked out by now. This might be only the festival's second year, but think of it as EDC New York's chill big bro: The acts are a little more sophisticated, the setting is a little less severe and it doesn't mind if you smoke a little herb.

Must-See Acts: Diplo, the Martinez Brothers, Dillon Francis, Anna Lunoe, ILoveMakonnen, A-Trak, Lee Foss, Robin Schulz, Matthew Dear, Maya Jane Coles, Skream, Kygo, Porter Robinson, Richie Hawtin, Nicole Moudaber

Official Site:

Bayou Country Superfest, Hunter Hayes

Hunter Hayes performs during 2014 Bayou Country Superfest at LSU Tiger Stadium on May 25, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

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Bayou Country Superfest

When: May 23rd-24th

Where: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Why Go: A three-day event if you count Taylor Swift's separately ticketed May 22nd performance at Tiger Stadium, Bayou Country Superfest combines two Louisiana passions – country music and tailgating – in one convenient location. Some of the genre's biggest stars – including Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Brantley Gilbert – provide the party-hearty soundtrack for this fan-friendly weekend that features artist meet-and-greets before beer-guzzling bros whoop it up in the lot until 2 a.m.

Must-See Acts: Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Tyler Farr, Kip Moore, Colt Ford, David Nail, Kristian Bush, Cassadee Pope

Official Site:

Movement Electronic Music Festival

An aerial view of the Movement Electronic Music Festival.

Movement Electronic Music Festival via YouTube

Movement Electronic Music Festival

When: May 23rd-25th

Where: Detroit, Michigan

Why Go: Movement is the Barbara Mandrell of EDM fests: It was techno when techno wasn't cool. Local legends like Kevin Saunderson and British house imports like MK would elsewhere be relegated to for-the-heads side-stages, but around here, they're the stars of the show. If loving that is wrong, we don't want to be right.

Must-See Acts: Disclosure, Tuskegee (Seth Troxler and the Martinez Brothers), Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May, Dog Blood (Skrillex and Boys Noize), MK, Richie Hawtin, Kerri Chandler, Maya Jane Coles, Danny Brown, Ben Klock, Dixon, Josh Wink, Phuture, Marcell Dettmann, Thread

Official Site:

Reignwolf, Sasquatch Music Festival

Reignwolf (Jordan Cook) performs live at the Sasquatch Music Festival at The Gorge on May 24, 2013 in George, Washington.

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When: May 22nd-25th

Where: George, Washington

Why Go: Held at the breathtakingly beautiful Gorge Amphitheater, this is the place to catch once-a-year views behind a lineup that rivals just about any of the summer. Sasquatch! is packed with top talent from a pretty diverse run of genres: Kendrick Lamar, Sleater-Kinney and Lana Del Ray, together at last. All that and one of the best stage sets around, the dramatic, moss-dusted cliffs of the Columbia Gorge Canyon.

Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, Sleater-Kinney, Lana Del Rey, Ryan Adams, St. Vincent, the War on Drugs, Run the Jewels, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Future Islands, Courtney Barnett, King Tuff, Chromeo, Diarrhea Planet, Perfume Genius, Jenny Lewis

Official Site:

Primavera Sound

Festival goers, Primavera Sound Festival, Parc del Forum, Barcelona, Spain.

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Primavera Sound

When: May 28th-30th

Where: Barcelona, Spain

Why Go: Barcelona's Primavera is celebrating its 15th anniversary by booking some of the most notable rock reunions of the past few years. Sleater-Kinney, Babes in Toyland, Ride and the Replacements are just a few of the together-again alt-rock legends who will be taking over Spain's early-summer party. Meanwhile, Strokes fans can go for the triple crown, catching Albert Hammond Jr. and Julian Casablancas' respective solo projects before seeing the New York City band play in full.

Must-See Acts: Patti Smith, Sleater-Kinney, the Replacements, Babes in Toyland, the Strokes, Antony and the Johnsons, Interpol, Caribou, Swans, Damien Rice, the Black Keys, Tyler, the Creator, Benjamin Booker, the Julie Ruin, Tobias Jesso Jr.

Official Site:

The Roots, Roots Picnic

Questlove of The Roots performs at the 6th Annual Roots Picnic at the Festival Pier June 1, 2013 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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The Roots Picnic

When: May 30th

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Why Go: The Philly hip-hop icons (and Jimmy Fallon's right-hand band) curate their eighth annual party on the banks of the Delaware River. They'll perform first alongside Erykah Badu then in their own closing set, and they usually manage to dazzle the crowd by jamming with an unannounced guest or two. If you've got enough energy after a long day at the Festival Pier, head towards the Theatre of the Living Arts for an OkayFuture afterparty featuring Hudson Mohawke.

15 Must-See Acts: The Roots, the Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Phantogram, Rae Sremmurd, DJ Mustard, Erykah Badu, Hiatus Kaiyote, Hudson Mohawke, Afrika Bambaataa, Win Butler (as DJ Windows 98), Raury, King Britt, Bishop Nehru, Chronixx

Official Site:

Lost Highway Festival

Lost Highway Festival via YouTube

Lost Highway Motorcycle Show and Concert

When: May 29th-30th

Where: San Bernardino, California,

Why Go: Because you love motorcycles, camping and Toby Keith, who isn't letting his truck sponsorship stop him from headlining this celebration of Southern California's rudest bikes. The festival lasts all weekend, but there's only music on Saturday. Bring earplugs – not to block out the bands but the sound of a hundred Harleys revving in unison.

Must-See Acts: Toby Keith, Social Distortion, Eli Young Band, Reverend Horton Heat, Lucero, Chris Janson, Lindi Ortega, Rick Monroe, the Brave Ones

Official Site:

Governors Ball

Atmosphere during day 1of the 2014 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on June 6, 2014 in New York, United States.

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Governors Ball

When: June 5th-7th

Where: New York City

Why Go: It's not hard to find most of the acts on this fest's lineup around New York. Many are locals, most have played venues like Bowery Ballroom or Music Hall of Williamsburg and one even features a guy who sometimes lectures at Barnard College. But this weekend, catch them all in one place, with headlining sets from a Toronto rapper, a MoMA-approved Icelandic singer-songwriter and two garage-rock grumps flown in from Ohio.

Must-See Acts: Drake, Björk, the Black Keys, Florence and the Machine, Lana Del Rey, Chromeo, Conor Oberst, St. Vincent, Charli XCX, Flying Lotus, Rae Sremmurd, "Weird Al" Yankovic, Chronixx and the Zincfence Redemption, Sharon Van Etten, Clean Bandit

Official Site:

Northside Music Festival, Jurassic 5

The American hip hop group Jurassic 5 performs a live concert at Northside Festival 2014.

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Northside Festival

When: June 8th-14th

Where: Brooklyn, New York

Why Go: In March, many New Yorkers ditch the cold by flying to Austin for a week of panels and bands. By the second week of June, when hometown temperatures reach 80, residents can get a similar experience to SXSW by walking a few blocks to Northside. The festival's 2015 edition might focus on indie rock (Best Coast, Built to Spill), but don't miss sets from Chicago footwork maestro DJ Spinn and Queens rapper Heems.

Must-See Acts: Neko Case, Best Coast, Against Me!, Sleigh Bells, Heems, the Very Best, Beverly, Ex Hex, DJ Spinn, Kal Marks, Total Freedom, Vulture Shit, Zola Jesus, Yvette, Femi Kuti and the Positive Force

Official Site:


Aerial view of the Main Stage, 'What Stage' and camping during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, 2014 in Manchester, Tennessee.

Douglas Mason/Getty Images


When: June 11th-14th

Where: Manchester, Tennessee

Why Go: The country's largest summer festival features 125 bands and 20 comedians performing on 12 stages. This means a lineup that's both wide and deep: older stars like Billy Joel and Earth, Wind & Fire, plus thoroughly now names like Kendrick Lamar and Alabama Shakes. And with plenty of outliers like Flying Lotus and Tanya Tagaq mixing things up, the former jam-band Mecca celebrates the diversity of America's live-music potential on a site that's more anything-goes theme park than mere venue.

Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, Billy Joel, Florence and the Machine, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Alabama Shakes, D'Angelo and the Vanguard, Flying Lotus, Gary Clark Jr., Slayer, Against Me!, Courtney Barnett, Rhiannon Giddens, Tove Lo, Who Is William Onyeabor?, this year's to-be-arranged Superjam

Official Site:

CMA Festival

Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line perform at the 2014 CMA Festival on June 7, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.

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CMA Music Festival

When: June 11th-14th

Where: Nashville, Tennessee

Why Go: If there's ever a time to attend an NRA-hosted brunch called "Kegs and Eggs," it would be before heading to a baseball stadium packed with country fans ready to see the same male-dominated main-stage acts that have played CMA Fest seemingly every year in recent memory. The true magic happens away from LP Field, in the gridlock of downtown's smaller stages. Although the full 2015 lineup has yet to be released, Nashville's endless array of primo up-and-comers and generations of classic musicians might draw even indie or alt-country fans unwilling to schlep out to Manchester for Bonnaroo, which takes place the same weekend.

Must-See Acts: Eric Church, Brad Paisley, Ashley Monroe, Sam Hunt, the Band Perry, Oak Ridge Boys, Zac Brown Band, Alan Jackson, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Maddie and Tae, Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Tanya Tucker, Kristian Bush

Official Site:

Riot Fest Chicago

Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello.

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Amnesia Rockfest

When: June 18th-21st

Where: Montebello, Quebec

Why Go: No event is working harder to keep the early Aughts alive than Amnesia Rockfest, and this summer it's doing so in the heaviest way possible. Hard-rock arbiters System of a Down, Linkin Park and Slayer lead the guitar-friendly lineup, but it's an appearance from Snoop Dogg that takes this year's edition to the next level. Comedy outfits including Tenacious D and Steve-O of Jackass round out what promises to be a wild weekend in the Great White North.

Must-See Acts: System of a Down, Linkin Park, Snoop Dogg, the Offspring, Pixies, Deftones, Tenacious D, Buzzcocks, Melvins, Slayer, Rancid, Tom Green, Cro-Mags, Bad Religion, Gogol Bordello

Official Site:

Firefly Music Festival, Twenty One Pilots

Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots performs during day 3 of the Firefly Music Festival on June 21, 2014 in Dover, Delaware.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival

Firefly Music Festival

When: June 18th-21th

Where: Dover, Delaware

Why Go: Set in the woods of Delaware, Firefly's an event for those who like to set up camp and feel marooned – even if there's a mall located conveniently in their backyard. It's also one of only two stateside festivals Sir Paul McCartney is playing this year, and its three-day lineup is a smart balance of marquee names (Kings of Leon, Hozier, Snoop Dogg) and smaller-font acts like rapper Le1f and electronic duo Vindata.

Must-See Acts: Paul McCartney, Charlie XCX, Morrissey, Modest Mouse, Run the Jewels, Snoop Dogg, Gary Clark Jr., Sturgill Simpson, Zola Jesus, the Killers, Hozier, Snoop Dogg, Zedd, DJ Mustard, Le1f, Odesza

Official Site:

Electric Daisy Carnival

DJs/producers Sebastian Ingrosso (L) and Axwell perform as Axwell /\ Ingrosso on the kineticFIELD stage during the 18th annual Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on June 23, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Electric Daisy Carnival

When: June 19th-21st

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada

Why Go: This is EDM's epicenter, turning up in the desert and remaking a city once known for the blackjack and the Rat Pack into the center of beats and drops. The lineup will likely be announced after the New York Electric Daisy Carnival, but general admission tickets have already sold out. To avoid dehydration, following a simple rule of thumb: Don't do anything that Dean Martin wouldn't do.

Must-See Acts: Lineup to be announced.

Official Site:

Kid Rock, Summerfest

Kid Rock performs at the Marcus Amphitheater on July 3, 2011 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images


When: June 24th-28th, June 30th-July 5th

Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Why Go: The Guinness Book of World Records has certified this music festival as humankind's largest, but it's also one of our most affordable. Spanning 11 days and 11 stages – and costing no more than $80 to see it all – Summerfest sits lakefront on 75-acre Henry Maier Festival Park. Think of it as an all-ages rock & roll day camp.

15 Must-See Acts: Rolling Stones, Kendrick Lamar, Public Enemy, Florida Georgia Line, Schoolboy Q, Kaskade, Halestorm, Ximena Sariñana, Gogol Bordello, the Flaming Lips, Santigold, the Isley Brothers, Sheryl Crow, Kings of Leon, "Weird Al" Yankovic

Official Site:

Electric Forest

A general view during day 1 of the 2012 Electric Forest Festival at Double JJ Ranch on June 28, 2012 in Rothbury, Michigan.

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Electric Forest

When: June 25th-28th

Where: Rothbury, Michigan

Why Go: Remember that dream where you do-si-do'd to the String Cheese Incident's progressive bluegrass then raved to the pulse of Steve Angello's Swedish house? That wasn't a dream, it was a flashback to last year's Electric Forest. The aptly named rural festival literally lights up the woods, blasting Wonderland visuals into the natural environment. Once again, the soundtrack will include EDM, jam bands and a lot of twentysomethings saying, "Ooh."

Must-See Acts: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Skrillex, Kaskade, Carl Cox, Flux Pavilion, Galactic with Macy Gray, Green Velvet, Joe Russo's Almost Dead, John Digweed, Paul Oakenfold, Flume, Lettuce, Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires, Four Tet

Official Site:

Dierks Bentley, Farmborough

Dierks Bentley will headline the inaugural Farmborough in New York City.

Mark Horton/WireImage

Farmborough Country Music Festival

When: June 26-28

Where: New York City

Why Go: New York City is undergoing another country transformation – first a radio station dedicated to the genre, now a massive festival full of chart-topping, truck-and-moonlight superstars. It may be dominated by male acts (where are you, Miranda, Carrie, Kacey?), but the party vibes are balanced by a lineup of new outlaws – Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Brandi Clark and leader of them all, Dwight Yoakam. Expect lots of tailgaters, plenty of tanlines.  

Must-See Acts: Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakam, Maddie and Tae, Sturgill Simpson, the Cadillac Three, Charlie Worsham, Brandy Clark, Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton, Lindsay Ell, Kip Moore, Luke Bryan, Randy Houser, Wade Bowen

Official Site:

Linkin Park, Loudwire

Linkin Park will headline this year's Loudwire Music Festival.

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Loudwire Music Festival

When: June 26th-28th

Where: Grand Junction, Colorado

Why Go: Loudwire's lineup is filled with some of the country's biggest hard rock and metal bands, from Linkin Park to Halestorm. The event may be new this year, but its location, Colorado's Jam Ranch, has been hosting music festivals for decades. That means a raging yet well-organized event from promoters thoughtful enough to include a "Quiet Area" in the back of the campground.

Must-See Acts: Linkin Park, Rob Zombie, Weezer, Halestorm, A Day to Remember, Hoobastank, Hinder, All That Remains, Chevelle, Vajra

Official Site:

Mary J. Blige, Essence Music Festival

Recording artist Mary J. Blige performs the 2014 Essence Music Festival on July 5, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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Essence Festival

When: July 2nd-5th

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

Why Go: The long-running Essence Festival is both a musical and cultural experience. Daytime events include an "Empower U" conference with panel discussions, a career fair and speakers such as Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra and Iyanla Vanzant. Nighttime is for concerts by superstars like Mary J. Blige and 2015 Super Bowl MVP Missy Elliott. If you just want to have fun all weekend, skip "Empower U" and head to the Essence DJ Party Series at the Sugar Mill, where Funkmaster Flex and DJ Drama will command the dance floor.

Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, Usher, Common, Mystikal, Erykah Badu, Floetry, Bilal, Robert Glasper, Lecrae, Trey Songz, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, Nico & Vinz

Official Site:

Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop of Iggy and The Stooges performs on stage in London, England on June 20th, 2013.

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ATP Iceland

When: July 2nd-4th

Where: Ásbrú, Keflavík, Iceland

Why Go: What's cooler than ATP fest? ATP fest in Iceland. Indeed, there may be no better way for the music cognoscenti to escape the summer heat – which isn't to say that headliner Iggy Pop will wear a shirt. Or that this year's typically, and gorgeously, eclectic lineup – ranging from rabble-rousing hip-hop to shoegazing black metal – won't leave clothing sweat-soaked and faces melted.

Must-See Acts: Iggy Pop, Drive Like Jehu, Belle and Sebastian, Public Enemy, Swans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Run the Jewels, Mudhoney, Deafheaven, Bardo Pond, Lightning Bolt, the Bug, Iceage, Clipping., Chelsea Wolfe

Official Site:

Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival, Body Count

Atmosphere as Body Count performs during the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival at Shoreline Amphitheatre on July 6, 2014 in Mountain View, California.

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Rockstar Mayhem Festival

When: June 26-August 2nd

Where: Chula Vista, CA; San Bernadino, CA; Mountain View, CA; Auburn, WA; Nampa, ID; Phoenix, AZ; Albuquerque, NM; Morrison, CO; Council Bluffs, IA; Milwaukee, WI; Noblesville, IN; Clarkston, MI; Tinsley Park, IL; Toronto, ON; Camden, NJ; Burgettstown, PA; Hartford, CT; Holmdel, NJ; Gilford, NH; Bristow, VA; Mansfield, MA; Wantagh, NY; Atlanta, GA; New Braunfels, TX; the Woodlands, TX; Dallas, TX

Why Go: The name says it all: rockstars, mayhem and a relatively subtle energy drink sponsorship. Slayer and King Diamond co-headline, so expect both Reign in Blood and raining blood. This is Warped Tour for the truly warped.

Must-See Acts: Slayer, King Diamond, the Devil Wears Prada, Hellyeah, Whitechapel, Thy Art Is Murder, Jungle Rot, Sister Sin, Sworn In, Shattered Sun, Code Orange

Official Site:

Green River Festival, Lucius

Holly Laessig and Jess Wolfe of Lucius performs during the 2014 Green River Festival at Greenfield Community College on July 12, 2014 in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

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Green River Festival

When: July 10th-12th

Where: Greenfield, Massachusetts

Why Go: Bring the blanket and the baby: Green River is the rare festival designed to welcome families, where kids can hang in the play tent while mom and dad try not to get caught passing a joint to Steve Earle or the Wood Brothers. Don't expect late-night dance parties or light-show adorned DJ sets – this is a relaxed, guitar-centric vibe where you'll more likely spot a fiddle than a turntable. There are even hot air balloons.

Must-See Acts: Tune-Yards, the Wood Brothers, J Mascis, Steve Earle and the Dukes, Lydia Loveless, Langhorne Slim and the Law, Joe Pug, Parker Milsap, Punch Brothers, Milk Carton Kids, Valerie June, Sean Rowe, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Charlie Parr, Booker T. Jones

Official Site:

Kygo, Forecastle Music Festival

Kygo performs during the 2014 Forecastle Music Festival at Louisville Waterfront Park on July 19, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.

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When: July 17th-19th

Where: Louisville, Kentucky

Why Go: Headlining this year's Forecastle fest is Louisville's very own My Morning Jacket, who will hold down Saturday night while Sam Smith and Widespread Panic lead Friday and Sunday. Now in it's 30th year, the rock-leaning weekend celebrates local artists and big names in the Kentucky city's 85-acre Waterfront Park. If you're a drinker, be sure to check out the Forecastle Bourbon Lodge to sample another hometown favorite.

Must-See Acts: My Morning Jacket, Sam Smith, Modest Mouse, ZZ Ward, Kiesza, the War on Drugs, the Word, First Aid Kit, Shovels and Rope, Speedy Ortiz, Big K.R.I.T., Desaparecidos, Lizzo, Tweedy, Sturgill Simpson

Official Site:

Pitchfork Music Festival

General view of festival goers on Day 3 of Pitchfork Music Festival 2013 at Union Park on July 21, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

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Pitchfork Music Festival

When: July 17th-19th

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Why Go: You've read the ratings, now attend the festival. This year's edition is Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo minus the radio rock, alt-country, EDM and jam bands. Nothing wrong with that, though: Sleater-Kinney have been going as hard as ever, Waxahatchee's Katie Crutchfield cuts as deep as any singer-songwriter, Todd Terje will put your body in motion and, if asked, ILoveMakonnen would happily join your friends' game of hacky sack.

Must-See Acts: Wilco, Chance the Rapper, Sleater-Kinney, Future Islands, Caribou, Parquet Courts, Jamie xx, ILoveMakonnen, Courtney Barnett, Ex Hex, Tobias Jesso Jr., Perfume Genius, Todd Terje and the Olsens, Future Brown, Waxahatchee

Official Site:

Gathering of the Juggalos


Amy Harris/Corbis

Gathering of the Juggalos

When: July 22nd-26th

Where: Thornville, Ohio

Why Go: Juggalos were chanting "family" years before Vin Diesel and Paul Walker expanded theirs racing cars across the streets of L.A. And if you thought Furious 7 was hardcore, remember that it's Insane Clown Posse fans whom the FBI classifies as an actual gang. Head to the Gathering to see why the Feds have no clue what they're talking about. The lineup might be top-heavy, but the people couldn't friendlier and the side attractions remain the season's most unique: If Juggalo Family Feud is too quaint, sip your Faygo at the Juggalo Championship Wrestling ring and wait for the blood to splatter.

Must-See Acts: Insane Clown Posse, Tech N9ne, Twiztid, Waka Flocka Flame, Flosstradamus, Psychpathic Rydas, Anybody Killa, Dark Lotus, Puddle of Mudd, Blaze Ya Dead Homie, Boondox, Hopsin, Rittz, Big Hoodoo, Big Silva

Official Site:

Newport Folk Festival

Aerial view of the 2014 Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park on July 27, 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Newport Folk Festival

When: July 24th-26th

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

Why Go: God bless Americana. Oozing history galore (this is where Dylan went electric, dude), the Newport Folk Festival offers a relatively cushy spot from which to enjoy the latest developments in the evolution of folk, rock, country, blues, soul and everything in between. This year's lineup boasts a wealth of hungry new acts like Sturgill Simpson, Shakey Graves, Heartless Bastards and Nikki Lane, plus Leon Bridges' mellow soul and a rare acoustic set from Dinosaur Jr.'s J Mascis.

Must-See Acts: The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, First Aid Kit, Brandi Carlile, Calexico, Sturgill Simpson, Shakey Graves, Heartless Bastards, Watkins Family Hour, José González, Laura Marling, J Mascis, Angel Olsen, Nikki Lane, Leon Bridges

Official Site:

Diplo, Mad Decent Block Party

Diplo of Major Lazer performs onstage during the Mad Decent Block Party at Williamsburg Park on August 10, 2013 in Brooklyn, New York.

Roger Kisby/Getty Images

Mad Decent Block Party

When: July 31st-September 26th

Where: Atlanta, GA; Ft. Lauderdale, FL; Philadelphia, PA; Brooklyn, NY; Detroit, MI; New Orleans, LA; Dallas, TX; Austin, TX; Nashville, TN; Toronto, ON; Calgary, AB; Vancouver, BC; Berkeley, CA; Eugene, OR; San Diego, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, MI

Why Go: Mad Decent has been reaching new audiences with viral videos from artists like Baauer and a Major Lazer cartoon on FXX. But the label's bread-and-butter remains their annual block party, which roves the States and Canada throughout the summer. Diplo will no doubt be there, but the ever-shifting lineup also big-ups soca and regional club music.

Must-See Acts: Diplo, Dillon Francis, Jack Ü, Cut Copy, ILoveMakonnen, Skrillex, T-Pain, Tyler the Creator, Zeds Dead, Vic Mensa, Knife Party, Mija, Nadus, Major Lazer, Dillon Francis

Official Site:

Gathering of the Vibes

Gathering of the Vibes via YouTube

Gathering of the Vibes

When: July 30th-August 2nd

Where: Bridgeport, Connecticut

Why Go: The tie-dyed spirit of the Sixties abides in this annual seaside celebration of the Grateful Dead's improv-rock legacy – and few groups echo the Dead's roots experimentalism more than headliners Wilco. Similarly, the Dark Star Orchestra will re-create one of the Dead's classic shows, and members of three younger jam bands will join former Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann in his new Billy and the Kids. Expect Dweezil Zappa to mock the whole shindig, and keep an ear open for up-and-coming jam-heads like Twiddle.

Must-See Acts: Wilco, Bombino, the Word, the String Cheese Incident, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Weezer, Gregg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Billy and the Kids, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Zappa Plays Zappa, Electron, Greensky Bluegrass, Twiddle, Dark Star Orchestra

Official Site:


The general atmosphere of Lollapalooza 2014 at Grant Park on August 2, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois.

Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images


When: July 31st-August 2nd

Where: Chicago, Illinois

Why Go: Three generations headline Lollapalooza this year: a Beatle from the Sixties, metal masters from the Eighties, and the Kate Bush of the 21st century. That wide-ranging eclecticism runs through this year's edition of the venerated festival from top to bottom: Besides McCartney, Metallica and Florence and the Machine, there's new guitar god Gary Clark Jr., rock revivalists Alabama Shakes, bass music madman Flying Lotus, future-R&B diva FKA twigs, plus cosmic country upstarts like Father John Misty and Sturgill Simpson.

Must-See Acts: Paul McCartney, Metallica, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, Bassnectar, Tame Impala, Gary Clark Jr., Flying Lotus, Hot Chip, Father John Misty, DJ Snake, Toro y Moi, the Weeknd, FKA Twigs, Sturgill Simpson

Official Site:


An audience sits on a structure made of pallets to watch a band at the Tree Line Stage at the Pickathon music festival on August 1, 2014 in Happy Valley, Oregon.

Natalie Behring/Getty Images


When: July 31st-August 2nd

Where: Happy Valley, Oregon

Why Go: If you're looking for a side of sustainability with your music festival experience, Oregon's Pickathon is the place for you. Having eliminated plastic and single-use items like cups and utensils, Pickathon is so environmentally conscious that it invites attendees to bring their own dishware and make use of free water and sinks. The lineup is not too shabby either, offering a diverse range of artists across its three-day weekend.

Must-See Acts: Ex Hex, Shabazz Places, Ty Segall, Viet Cong, Thundercat, Sinkane, Sam Cohen, King Tuff, Jessica Pratt, Cloud Nothings, Heartless Bastards, Tune-Yards, Leon Bridges, Whitey Morgan, Happyness

Official Site:


A general view of day 3 at the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival on August 3, 2014 in Montreal, Canada.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images


When: July 31th-August 2nd

Where: Montreal, Quebec

Why Go: The 10th anniversary of Canada's premiere festival boasts an internationally beloved lineup, with the Black Keys and Florence and the Machine leading the 100-act pack in Montreal's Parc Jean-Drapeau. Thanks to the city's temperate summer, Osheaga's a good place to catch critical darlings, next-big-things and radio-friendlies without sweating it all out too much. Its organizers also work to integrate the visual arts, and past installations have included an igloo made of guitar amps – can't buy that at Urban Outfitters. 

Must-See Acts: Kendrick Lamar, Florence and the Machine, the Black Keys, Weezer, Alt-J, FKA Twigs, St. Vincent, Run the Jewels, Nas, First Aid Kit, Desaparecidos, Action Bronson, George Ezra, Interpol

Official Site:

Newport Jazz Festival

The Mingus Big Band performs during the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival at Fort Adams State Park on August 3, 2014 in Newport, Rhode Island.

Douglas Mason/Getty Images

Newport Jazz Fest

When: July 31st-August 2nd

Where: Newport, Rhode Island

Why Go: Now in its 61st year, Newport Jazz soldiers on with over 40 bands, 19 of which will be making their festival debut. Look out for 11-year-old newcomer Joey Alexander, performing on Saturday, and don't miss the Tennis Court Hall of Fame concert at the Newport Casino, which will feature Chris Botti and Jon Batiste.

Must-See Acts: Snarky Puppy, Matana Roberts' Coin Coin, Peter Evans Quintet, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, Chris Botti, Dr. John and the Nite Trippers, Kenny Garrett Quintet, José James, Cassanda Wilson, Jamie Cullum, Arturo Sandoval, Scott Robinson's Doctette, Pat Martino Organ Trio, Steve Lehman Octet, Ambrose Akinmusire Quartet

Official Site:

Hard Summer Festival

DJ Tiesto performs during HARD Summer at Whittier Narrows Recreation Area on August 3, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

Hard Summer

When: August 1st-2nd

Where: Pomona, California

Why Go: Last year, Hard moved from the shadow of Dodger Stadium to the more suburban Whittier Narrows Recreation Area. Come August, it heads even farther into the Inland Empire, bringing with it not just the aggressive EDM described in the name (Jack Ü, Dillon Francis, RL Grime) but also the slightly smoother sounds of craftsmen like Gorgon City and Jamie xx.

Must-See Acts: Jack Ü, Rae Sremmurd, Dillon Francis, RL Grime, Young Thug, Hudson Mohawke, Zeds Dead, Boys Noize, DJ Mustard and Friends, the Weeknd, Salva, MK, Caribou, Fetty Wap, Lunice

Official Site:

Drake, OVO Festival

Drake headlines the OVO Festival at the Molson Amphitheatre in 2013.

Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images

OVO Fest

Where: Toronto, Ontario

When: August 1st-3rd

Why Go: The official lineup features a Kevin Hart gig on the first night, J Cole's 2014 Forest Hills Drive tour on the second and Drake's sixth annual homecoming as a finale. But the real excitement lies in the famous special guests October's Very Own usually invites: In the past, Drizzy has brought out Stevie Wonder, Eminem and Kanye West. At the very least, he'll bring along his OVO crew.

Must-See Acts: Drake, J Cole, Kevin Hart, Big Sean, YG, Jeremih, Bas, Cozz

Official Site:

Outside Lands

Musician Kim Schifino of Matt & Kim performs at the Twin Peaks Stage during Day 3 of the 2013 Outside Lands Music And Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on August 11, 2013 in San Francisco, California.


Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival

When: August 7th-9th

Where: San Francisco, California

Why Go: Split across five stages (including a comedy stage and an EDM tent), this festival of music, art exhibits, gourmet food and wine tastings usually overwhelms both the senses and the wallet. Still, three-day passes to Outside Lands sold out within hours. (One-day passes remain available.) Keep your eyes and ears peeled for surprises: In 2012, Jack White pulled off a secret concert at his Third Man Records truck, playing alongside Boots Riley and Tom Morello.

Must-See Acts: Mumford & Sons, Wilco, D'Angelo and the Vanguard, the Black Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Elton John, Sam Smith, St. Vincent, G-Eazy, Caribou, Axwell ^ Ingrosso, DJ Mustard, Tame Impala, Porter Robinson

Official Site:

Made in America Festival

Music fans attend day 1 of the 2014 Budweiser Made in America Festival at Los Angeles Grand Park on August 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

Made in America Festival

Where: Los Angeles, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

When: August 30th-31st

Why Go: This two-day festival has ballooned since Jay Z and Steve Stoute co-founded it with main sponsor Anheuser-Busch four years ago. It added an L.A. edition last year, where Steve Aoki gleefully sprayed champagne and threw sheet cakes at the crowd and Kanye West stalked the stage in full Yeezus regalia.

Must-See Acts: Lineup to be announced.

Official Site:

Bumbershoot Music Festival, Wu-Tang Clan

Wu-Tang Clan performs at the Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival on August 30, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Suzi Pratt/FilmMagic


When: September 4th-6th

Where: Seattle, Washington

Why Go: The U.S. summer festival explosion is a rather recent phenomenon, but Seattle's Bumbershoot has existed in one form or another for four decades. 2015's lineup hasn't been announced yet, but last year's ranged from Elvis Costello and a tribute to Big Star's Third to hip-hop royalty Wu-Tang Clan. It showcased funk legends Bobby Womack and Bootsy Collins as well as up-and-coming rappers like Schoolboy Q and Danny Brown.

Must-See Acts: Lineup to be announced.

Official Site:

Electric Zoo

A general view of atmosphere during Electric Zoo 2013 at Randall's Island on August 31, 2013 in New York City.

Daniel Zuchnik/Getty Images

Electric Zoo: Transformed

When: September 4th-6th

Where: New York City

Why Go: For those who know only one Martin Garrix song, Electric Zoo vs. Electric Daisy is tough dilemma. For those who've downloaded every episode of the 18-year-old DJ's Internet radio show, it's a false choice. The two festivals bookend New York's extended summer, boasting a who's who of electronic music. But if you can only make one, EZoo is the better bet: Tickets are cheaper, but the bass is just as loud.

Must-See Acts: Lineup to be announced.

Official Site:

Hopscotch Festival

Jamie xx at CAM, 2014

Jillian Clark

Hopscotch Music Festival

When: September 3rd-5th

Where: Raleigh, North Carolina

Why Go: The 2015 lineup hasn't been announced yet, but the sixth year of Hopscotch promises to offer one of the headiest weekends of music out there. Last year boasted indie stalwarts like Spoon, St. Vincent and Mastodon, while also offering up an array of outsiders ranging from Hawkwind to minimalist composer Tony Conrad to dark ambient Björk collaborator the Haxan Cloak.

Must-See Artists: Lineup to be announced.

Official Site:


Festival goers pose with the Giant Disco ball in the background at Bestival at Robin Hill Country Park on September 4, 2014 in Newport, United Kingdom

Joseph Okpako/Redferns via Getty Images


When: September 10th-13th

Where: Isle of Wight, England

Why Go: Including the word "best" in a festival's name is a bold move, but this September soiree has been doing everything it can to live up to that promise since it began in 2004. Originally intended as an off-shoot of record label Sunday Best, the four-day event is a perfect end-of-summer dance party that blends tried-and-true legends (Duran Duran, the Chemical Brothers) with the most exciting up-and-comers (FKA Twigs, Charli XCX).

Must-See Acts: Charli XCX, Duran Duran, Jurassic 5, FKA Twigs, the Chemical Brothers, Girlpool, Future Islands, Annie Mac, Flying Lotus, Tame Impala, Guy Gerber, Action Bronson, Neneh Cherry, Fat White Family, Young Fathers

Official Site:

No Doubt, Kaaboo Del Mar

No Doubt will headline this year's Kaaboo Del Mar festival.

Richard Chapin Downs Jr./Getty Images for Global Citizen

Kaaboo Del Mar

When: September 18th-20th

Where: San Diego, California

Why Go: The first Kaaboo Del Mar festival describes itself as an "art and entertainment mix-perience" where music, comedy and art can be consumed across seven stages in sunny San Diego. Headlined by No Doubt and the Killers, Kaaboo's lineup focuses on alt-rock but makes room for Sheryl Crow, Snoop Dogg and a hefty selection of comedians. It also offers "personal indulgences" for ticket-buyers, making perks like massages and manicures available to all.

Must-See Acts: No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, the Killers, Sheryl Crow, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Minnie Driver, X, Spoon, Counting Crows, the Roots, Grace Potter, Foster the People, 311, Joel McHale, Lewis Black

Official Site:

TomorrowWorld, Armin Van Buuren

Armin Van Buuren at TomorrowWorld Electronic Music Festival on September 29, 2013 in Fairburn, Georgia.

Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


When: September 25th-27th

Where: Atlanta, Georgia

Why Go: Escape into the mythical TomorrowWorld, complete with floating bridges, scenic lakes, mushroom stages and dream lodges for three days of EDM and fantasy. Buried deep in the scenic Chattahoochee Hills, TomorrowWorld is the U.S. version of Belgium's most popular music festival, TomorrowLand. Last year, we overheard two Americans discussing the detailed work-out regimen and trans-Atlantic flights they needed to prepare for Europe – this year, maybe they'll just drive to Georgia.

Must-See Acts: Lineup to be announced.

Official Site:

Motorboat, Motorhead

Motorboat via Vimeo


When: September 28th-October 2nd

Where: Departs from Miami, making stops in the Bahamas

Why Go: For its second year, Motörhead's Motörboat cruise is about to get even louder. Joining Lemmy Kilmister and Co. will be Slayer, Anthrax, Hatebreed and more of the world's best metallic outfits. Plus, Motörboat promises more than just music, with a number of Q&A sessions, parties and games to be announced prior to three of the heaviest days at sea imaginable.

Must-See Acts: Slayer, Hatebreed, Motorhead, Anthrax, Crobot, Huntress, Fireball Ministry, Suicidal Tendencies, Exodus, Kyng

Official Site:

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