My favorite season is upon us – festival season! If you don’t know me, I should tell you that I am somewhat of a concert junkie. I love pretty much any kind of music, especially if it’s live. The way some people justify spending hundreds of dollars on shoes and clothes is exactly how I feel about shelling out big bucks for a weekend of nonstop music and art. However, for those of us who can’t afford to make them all, the tough decisions come when it’s time to choose which festivals to attend.
I’m not going to all of these (I wish), but here are my top picks for U.S. festivals in 2014:
South By Southwest Music Festival -- @SXSW
Austin, TX // March 11-16 (music portion)
You’ve probably heard about SXSW because it’s not your average festival. It's really a week of innovation, networking, shows, speakers, panels, film and so much more. In addition to the music portion, there's a simultaneous SXSW Film Festival and SXSW Interactive component. An ever-growing event, SXSW Music is known for showcasing new talent and young bands, which is awesome! This one is coming up, so if you’re not lucky enough to attend, don't worry, you can actually stream the shows and after performances through iTunes. You can learn more about this, here, and stay tuned because our own Brooke will be going down with our client Whole Foods Market, and she’s been instructed to share the inside scoop on our blog!
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival -- @Coachella
Indio, CA // Weekend 1: April 11-13 // Weekend: 2 April 18-20
Coachella is one of the largest and most popular festivals in the U.S. as it features so many music genres, including rock, indie, hip hop, and electronic music, as well as a number of art installations and sculptures. What’s kind of nice is that as of 2012 they expanded the festival to two 3-day weekends with the exact same lineup due to the high demand. I’m a big Coachella fan and have vowed to go every year until I physically can’t, or if it’s just too embarrassing to be there at whatever age I may be. This year will be my fourth year and I cannot wait! #Weekend1
Sasquatch! Music Festival -- @Sasquatch
George, WA // Weekend 1: May 23-25 // Weekend 2: July 4-6
Sasquatch is an annual music festival held at the Gorge Amphitheater set again the beautiful backdrop of the Columbia River. For the scenery alone, this festival is worth checking out at least once! Much like its festival predecessors, Sasquatch offers a variety of music genres, with an emphasis on indie/rock bands. It’s also a really great place to see smaller and up-and-coming local artists who usually play during the day on the smaller stages. This year the festival will be two separate weekends with totally different lineups. When I attended the launch party a few weeks ago I asked someone from the Live Nation team about this change and he explained that because the sponsorship is all the same and it’s the same design, they decided to use split the weekends and keep the name for both. At the party, they debuted a trailer for the festival, ending with the two lineups, which was pretty cool. You can check it out here.
The Governor’s Ball Music Festival -- @GovBallNYC
New York, NY // June 6-8
If you read anything about last year’s festival, you probably saw a ton of photos making this look like the U.S. version of Glastonbury. Seriously, Hunter Boots should have made an ad! For those unfamiliar, Gov Ball is 3-day festival that takes place on Randall’s Island. Last year they encountered some stormy weather and flood warnings. Nevertheless, the show went on and the concertgoers danced on in the mud and rain. In its fourth year now, the festival is proving to be a new favorite and again features a variety of artists in genres like indie, rock, hip-hop, techno, folk and Americana. Hopefully the weather cooperates this year, but hey, us Seattleites can probably handle a little rain just fine, right?
Lollapalooza -- @Lollapalooza
Chicago, IL // August 1-3
Lollapalooza is another unique festival offering a range of musical acts as well as craft booths. Because of its location at Grant Park, it’s a great one for out-of-towners, too, with so much to do in Chicago! Lollapalooza is also recognized for being one of the better-organized festivals. When inclement weather rolled through in 2012, they were actually able to reschedule a number of sets and carry-on with the weekend – impressive! The lineup for this year hasn’t been released yet, so if you’re interested, keep an eye out!
Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival
San Francisco, CA // August 8-10
Held every August in Golden Gate Park, Outside Lands offers a range of musical acts, art installations, and has a budding food and wine culture, too. Another unique characteristic about this particular festival is its dedication to being eco-friendly and educating the public about eco-friendly movements. There festival features solar power stages, a refillable water program, a waste diversion program, a recycling program, bike valet parking program, farmer’s market vendors and urban gardening workshops. This is another festival that’s a little ways out, so the lineup and ticket sales have not yet been released. I’m hoping to make it this year!
There are so many festivals to choose from, not to mention the dozens that happen around the world, it can be kind of overwhelming to weigh them against one another. One plus I’ve found about most major festivals being back to back, is that a lot of the acts overlap, or the artists are simultaneously on tour, so if there’s someone you’re dead set on seeing, you’ll probably have some options.
If you’re a fellow festival fan, or have seen any great artists lately I’d love to hear about it – let’s chat!