Indio, CA, April 14 - 16, April 21 – 23
Now in its 18th year, Coachella has become the premier music and arts festival in North America, as well as an unofficial seasonal fashion show for young, beautiful people and bohemian celebrities. Located two hours east of Los Angeles, the scenic festival grounds and consistently pleasant California weather make for a fantastic Summer kickoff vacation—and oh, there’s music too! Coachella is famous for its big-budget band reunions (Guns n’ Roses, Rage Against the Machine, Outkast), once-in-a-lifetime artist collaborations (Pharell with Gwen Stefani, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg with a hologram 2Pac), and surprise appearances (Prince, Madonna, Kanye West). And in addition to world-class live acts, the festival boasts massive art installations, pop-up galleries, boutique shopping and a surprisingly comfortable campground. Among this year’s 100-plus acts are headliners Beyoncé, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar, as well as Lorde, New Order, Future Islands and Bon Iver.
ULTRA MUSIC FESTIVAL
Bayfront Park, Miami, March 24-26
Voted #1 Festival in the World by DJ Magazine, Ultra Music is easily the highest-profile EDM festival in the nation, a huge open-air dance party on the Miami waterfront with enough confetti cannons and beat drops to exhaust even the most pro club goer. A six-time winner of the Best Dance and Music Event title from the International Dance Music Awards, Ultra also offers festivals in six other countries, including Spain, Japan, Singapore and Brazil. This year’s confirmed Miami headliners include Justice, Major Lazer, Cypress Hill, Ice Cube and Underworld, as well as DJ sets from Afrojack, David Guetta, Steve Aoki and Tiesto. Phase 2 of the event is a series of side stages that focus on specific dance genres, including psy-trance, dubstep, deep house and trap, and feature artist like Adam Beyer, Rabbit in the Moon, Alan Walker and Datsik. For those in search of a non-stop dance vacation, Ultra is the destination. Just remember to sleep at some point.
Memphis, TN, May 5–7
Likely the best choice for fans of all musical genres, Tennessee’s Beale Street festival offers an engagingly eclectic lineup of folk, rap, dance, hard rock and acoustic acts that probably never expected to be playing alongside each other. Located on a 30-acre park at the edge of the Mississippi River, the festival carries a laid-back southern vibe, but is still within walking distance of downtown Memphis, with plenty of easy lodging and great regional restaurants (we recommend the barbecue with barbecue sauce, and a side of barbecue). Past festival headliners include Weezer, Indigo Girls, Cypress Hill, Zedd, Barenaked Ladies, Panic! at the Disco and Beck. This year’s lineup announcement comes February 22nd. If you go, try your best to stick around for the World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest, which last year, smoked and served 16 tons of pork in three days.
Throughout the US, June 16 - August 6
Unlike most festivals, Warped Tour is a traveling musical event that hits 40-plus American cities over the course of seven Summer weeks. Known for its young, high-octane bands and energetic audiences, past Warped Tours have served as proving grounds for top-tier alternative and pop-punk acts like New Found Glory, Fallout Boy, Sum 41 and AFI. Now in its 23rd year, the tour has expanded to include up-and-coming electronic, pop and hip-hop acts. 2017’s feature lineup will be announced at the end of March, though supporting lineups often change with each show to include local acts, and occasionally, new headliners. Unlike any of its contemporaries, Warped Tour also offers multiple band meet-and-greets and autograph sessions. Given that it travels, and packs all the action into one day, Warped Tour is a prime choice for festival heads looking to staying close to home.
Chicago, IL, August 3-6
Founded in 1991 by Porno for Pyros lead singer Perry Farrell, Lollapalooza is the forefather of all modern American music fests. Having formed during the birth of the “alternative” genre, the festival’s earliest main acts included Beck, Alice in Chains, Rage Against the Machine, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. As the years progressed, Lollapalooza became a touring circus of not only alternative, but hip-hop, heavy metal, punk and noise artists, complimented by dance and comedy acts, craft marketplaces and non-profit and political groups. Separate Lollapaloozas were later spawned in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Germany and France, all of which continue annually. Though this year’s American lineup hasn’t been announced yet, recent headliners include Kanye West, Eminem, Kings of Leon, J.Cole, Lady Gaga, Foo Fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers.