With spring approaching and temperatures slowly rising, music fans around the US are thawing out and getting ready for the best time of the year: festival season. With over 800 music festivals in North America alone and new ones popping up every year, it can be overwhelming to try and find one with the perfect lineup and atmosphere to match your personal style.
That’s why we’ve gone ahead and found the five music festivals you may not know about yet, each with a diverse lineup of artists and unique setting that take you from down South to the majestic plains, and from the bumping beats of Techno to the savage sounds of Metal.
While this festival, currently in its 15th year, may not have the name recognition of Ultra or Electric Daisy Carnival, it stands out as one of the most well-rounded and diverse electronic music festivals for everybody from teenage ravers to techno purists. Movement boasts a long and impressive lineup that mixes elder statesmen of electronic dance like Jeff Mills and Richie Hawtin with the hottest acts in EDM like Flosstradamus, Boyz Noise and Ryan Hemsworth.
It’s very fitting that it happens in the birthplace of techno music, Detroit, acting as a shrine in dedication to the electronic gods that have emerged from the city. Hart Plaza, where the festival is held, is situated between the Detroit River and the towering skyscrapers of Downtown Detroit, providing a perfect urban playground for dancing the day away. And dance you will, because as the name implies, Movement is all about finding the right groove to move your body to, whether it be Drum and Bass, House or Trap.
This festival, going strong for nine years, delivers the best of hard rock, hardcore and metal to the heartland of America. Perfect for the crowd who would rather drink beer and headbang than worry about an album’s score on Pitchfork, Rock on the Range features a lineup of over 53 bands including Slipknot, Marilyn Manson and Judas Priest.
Rock on the Range is the largest festival to be included in the World’s Loudest Month, a collection of festivals dedicated to bringing hard rock to the huge communities of fans in Middle America. This festival is perfect for everyone from the rebellious teen looking to escape suburbia to the grizzled metalhead with a tattered denim vest over a sleeve of tattoos.
Buku Music + Arts festival has the immediate advantage of being located in New Orleans, known most famously for Mardi Gras, but also home to a rich history and a nonstop party scene. Buku manages to fuse together a lineup of the hottest acts in hip-hop, indie rock and EDM, highlighted by heavyweights Bassnectar, Passion Pit and A$AP Rocky.
With an emphasis on art as well as music, you will find live painting done by graffiti artists on the festival grounds. The festival also features a wide variety of stages, from the main stage that looks out on the ramshackle Market Street Power Plant, a large warehouse to fulfill your rave vibes, to the VIP SS Blu-Ku, a New Orleans-style riverboat docked in the Mississippi River that hosts special performances throughout the festival. A must-attend event for the music fan with a diverse taste who needs an excuse to travel to New Orleans.
Hangout Festival has the unique advantage of being the only American festival that takes place on a beach, with clean white sands and palm trees to provide some shade from the constantly sunny weather. While digging your toes in the sand, the bumping sounds of some of the best contemporary bands will fill the air.
Hangout Fest will be headlined this year by the Foo Fighters, Sam Smith and Beck, as well as the pumping party music of Major Lazer, assuring fans an unforgettable and well-rounded festival experience. It also benefits from a strong offering of Gulf Coast cuisine like shrimp, crab and oysters, all fresh and locally sourced. The scenery of the Alabama coastline provides the perfect backdrop to rock out to the sounds of the impressively deep lineup.
A relatively new festival in only its third year, Shaky Knees has established itself by featuring arguably one of the best lineups for fans of indie and alternative rock. Moving the location to Atlanta’s Central Park, the new venue reflects this growing festival’s effort to provide an experience on caliber with more established festivals. With a lineup that includes The Strokes, Wilco, the Pixies, Ryan Adams, Social Distortion and Neutral Milk Hotel, that shouldn’t be too difficult.
Easy travel between stages, which eliminates the problem of having to decide between bands with overlapping set times, as well as an abundance of food and drink vendors help make this festival accessible and exciting. With a dedication to curating a guitar-centric sound, Shaky Knees promises to deliver the finest indie rock festival in the country. If you’re more in the mood for good old fashion country music, you can also check out Shaky Boots, the countrified spinoff of Shaky Knees that features Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts, among many others.
Ready to leave New York or Austin and take a trip into the heartlands? We know we are.