Jump to FM.tv

Festivals

22 Best Music Festivals of 2015

Here's everything you need to know about Bonnaroo, Warped Tour, Voodoo, ACL, Lollapalooza and each major music event in between

1 / 22

South By Southwest

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 14: Billie Joe Armstrong of Foxboro Hot Tubs performs at Yahoo's Brazos Hall during 2014 SXSW Music, Film
Michael Buckner/Getty Images for SXSW

When: March 13-22
Where: Austin, TX

2015 Highlights:

Why You Should Go: It's the best festival in the world for uncovering new raw talent. SXSW means hopping around bars and venues in Austin, mingling with a mixed group of music fans and music industry people and watching future stars earn their stripes. Of course, you get the big names, too—who could forget Gaga's high-octane/vomit art performance last year?—but half the fun is stumbling across a brand new act, loving them and then bragging about it when that act blows up four months later.

2 / 22

Ultra Music Festival

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 28: Atmosphere as Diplo performs during the Ultra Music Festival at Bayfront Park Amphitheater on March 28,
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When: March 27-29
Where: Miami, FL

2014 Lineup Highlights: Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, Deadmau5, David Guetta, Kaskade, Tiesto, Zedd, Carl Cox and more.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Avicii, David Guetta, Skrillex, Kiesza, Tiësto, Eric Prydz, Steve Aoki, Krewella, Die Antwoord, Gorgon City.

Why You Should Go: Ultra is the most famous EDM festival in North America and for good reason. Do you see the highlights from 2014 up there? We could have kept adding more if we wanted. Also, Miami is a hell of a city to throw a huge party in. Ultra was condensed from two weekends to one in 2014, but that just means the fun is more concentrated.

3 / 22

Coachella

INDIO, CA - APRIL 20: Escape Velocity art installation by Poetic Kinetics is seen during day 3 of the 2014 Coachella Valley M
Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Coachella

When: April 10-12, April 17-19
Where: Indio, CA

2015 Highlights: 

Why You Should Go: Taking place in the middle of the desert, Coachella is a top-notch festival experience. It provides an argument each year that its lineup is king of all festivals, and 2014 was no exception. Organizers snagged the first confirmed OutKast reunion appearance, the Replacements played only their fourth show since 1991, and the rest of the headliners made for two weekends that kicked off festival season right.

4 / 22

Beale Street

John Durgee for Fuse

When: May 1-3
Where: Memphis, TN

2014 Lineup Highlights: Kid Rock, Alabama Shakes, Foster the People, Snoop Lion, Juicy J, Motorhead and Avenged Sevenfold. 

2015 Lineup Highlights: The Avett Brothers, Ed Sheeran, Pixies, The Flaming Lips, Lenny Kravitz, Paramore, Hozier, John Fogerty, Five Finger Death Punch, Wilco, Cage the Elephant and Ryan Adams.

Why You Should Go: Beale Street consistently brings forth one of the most eclectic festival lineups we see year to year. It's a huge advantage to be able to catch such a wide variety of acts in one weekend, so if you're looking for one festival to take in and you have scattered tastes, this might be the one for you.

5 / 22

Hangout Fest

GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 17: Hodan Dickie of Diarrhea Planet performs during the 2014 Hangout Music Festival on May 17, 2014 in
Josh Brasted/WireImage

When: May 15-17
Where: Gulf Shores, AL

2014 Lineup Highlights: The Black Keys, The Killers, OutKast, Jack Johnson, Wiz Khalifa, Childish Gambino and Zedd.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Foo Fighters, Zac Brown Band, Beck, Paramore, Skrillex, Foster The People, My Morning Jacket, Major Lazer, Spoon and more.

Why You Should Go: Gorgeous beaches aren't your typical setting for a major music festival, but Hangout manages to draw massive headliners to the beautiful Alabama coastline for a weekend of serious shredding. As its name implies, Hangout is a chill affair that balances the more high-energy antics of Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy Carnival and the like with a lineup that is always wildly eclectic.

6 / 22

CounterPoint Festival

ROME, GA - APRIL 27: A general view of the 2014 Counterpoint Festival at Kingston Downs on April 27, 2014 in Rome, Georgia.
Paras Griffin/Getty Images

When: May 22-24
Where: Kingston Downs, GA

2014 Lineup Highlights: OutKast, Pretty Lights, Foster the People, J. Cole, Major Lazer, Krewella and Janelle Monáe.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Widespread Panic, The Roots, Zedd, Umphrey's McGee, iLoveMakonnen, Dillon Francis, Chet Faker and more.

Why You Should Go: CounterPoint only kicked off in 2012, but it's already become a viable contender for one of America's best electronic festivals. OutKast played a rousing hometown set here. Pretty Lights, Skrillex, Avicii and more performed, and this year Counterpoint has moved to the same venue that TomorrowWorld was held at in 2013.

7 / 22

Sasquatch!

GEORGE, WA - MAY 25: Major Lazer dancers performs on stage on day 3 of Sasquatch! Music Festival  at the Gorge Amphitheater o
Steven Dewall/Redferns via Getty Images

When: May 23-25
Where: George, WA

2015 Highlights:

Why You Should Go: The setting alone is enough to coax hordes of people to Sasquatch!, as the main stage is literally on the precipice of a giant cliff overlooking a majestic gorge. Between OutKast's incredible headlining set, Chance The Rapper's triumphant return to the festival circuit and HAIM's most hard-rocking performance of the season, Sasquatch!'s run in 2014 brought about tons of memorable musical moments. (Not like we'd expect anything less from a festival that sold out in a record 90 minutes in 2013.)

8 / 22

Electric Daisy Carnival

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 22: Lisa howard (L) and Ron Howard of New York pose at the 18th annual Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Ve
Steven Lawton/Getty Images

When: February 21-22 (Puerto Rico), February 28-March 1 (Mexico), May 23-24 (New York), June 19-21 (Las Vegas)
Where: San Juan (Puerto Rico), Mexico City (Mexico), New York, NY, Las Vegas, NV

2014 Lineup Highlights: Tiesto, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Armin Van Buuren, Major Lazer, Afrojack, Boy's Noize and A-Trak.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA

Why You Should Go: The New York City event is a two-day warm-up for the bigger attraction, which is the insane party in Las Vegas—and 2015 marks the year that EDC went international! There's nary an EDM festival that's more widely anticipated, and Electric Daisy does it right by having acts perform between sunset and sunrise as opposed to during the day. Make sure you stay hydrated—you'll get surprisingly tired considering the sun's not out—but besides that, it's a blast of a festival.

9 / 22

Governors Ball

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 08: A general view of atmosphere during the 2014 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on Jun
Daniel Zuchnik/FilmMagic

When: June 5-7
Where: New York, NY

2015 Highlights: 

Why You Should Go: Governors Ball 2013 proved to be the meaning of "the show must go on," as the festival weathered a tropical storm and a flash flood warning on New York's Randall's Island. With an incredible lineup, it was a weekend where attendees had to look past their own mud-caked features and appreciate the music at hand. 2014 paid off for those who returned, as they got to watch major talents hailing from every genre rock so loudly their tunes bounced off the nearby Robert F. Kennedy Bridge. Even the super-celebs were stage-hopping: Madonna made sure to catch Disclosure's set, and André 3000 brought his son Seven to the photo pit in order to get up close and personal with Childish Gambino.

10 / 22

Bonnaroo

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 15: A general view of fans during the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival on June 15, 2014 in Mancheste
C Flanigan/WireImage

When: June 11-14
Where: Manchester, TN

2015 Highlights: 

Why You Should Go: None of the top few American festivals are as "hardcore" as Bonnaroo for most people who go. It's one of the greatest camping experiences at any festival in the world, and Bonnaroo organizers constantly deliver a fantastic lineup. Once you survive four days sleeping outside and watching awesome bands in the intense Tennessee heat, no one will doubt your festival experience. (And definitely try to catch at least one late-night super jam.)

11 / 22

Warped Tour

POMONA, UNITED STATES - JUNE 20: Vocalist Tyler "Telle" Smith of The Word Alive performs at the Vans Warped Tour on June 20,
Chelsea Lauren/WireImage

When: June 19 - August 8

Where: Throughout North America

2015 Highlights: 

Why You Should Go: Warped Tour is the only festival on this list that's actually a full North American tour. It stops in more than 40 cities throughout the course of eight grueling summer weeks, setting up and tearing down a mini-city each day. The festival celebrated its twentieth year in 2014 and continues to blend acts ranging from pop to metalcore to pop-punk to electronic and everything in between. If you're looking for one full, action-packed day of watching bands, Warped is a great place to go and probably not too far from you.

12 / 22

Firefly Music Festival

DOVER, DE - JUNE 23: A general view of atmosphere at the Firefly Music Festival at The Woodlands of Dover International Speed
Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Firefly Music Festival

When: June 18-21
Where: Dover, DE

2014 Lineup Highlights: Foo Fighters, OutKast, Jack Johnson, Imagine Dragons, Pretty Lights, the Lumineers, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer and more! 

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: Firefly can still be classified as a start-up of sorts, only launching in 2012. But the festival claims a unique home in the beautiful woodlands of Delaware and has come on strong with two powerful lineups. There's camping available as well, so you can make a lot out of this fest!

13 / 22

Newport Folk Festival

NEWPORT, RI - JULY 27: Atmosphere during the 2013 Newport Folk Festival at Fort Adams State Park on July 27, 2013 in Newport,
Douglas Mason/Getty Images

When: July 24-26
Where: Newport, RI

2014 Lineup Highlights: Jack White, Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy, Valerie June, Lake Street Dive, Houndmouth and enough strap and twang to satiate your inner troubadour.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: Newport Folk is an American music tradition at this point, but it's hardly just for the family-friendly/Dylan-crooning set. Over the course of three days, musicians that redefine "folk" in every fashion from the soulful belts of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings to the hard-rocking ways of Jack White descend upon Fort Adams and let their music waft across the sail boat-speckled Narragansett Bay. It's scenic, it's chill and it's a great excuse to eat lobster rolls for an entire weekend while rediscovering an appreciation for banjos.

14 / 22

Lollapalooza

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 02: General atmosphere as Calvin Harris performs at Bud Light stage during 2014 Lollapalooza  Day Two at
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

When: July 31 - August 2
Where: Chicago, IL

2014 Lineup Highlights: Eminem (with a surprise Rihanna cameo), OutKast, Kings of Leon, Skrillex, Calvin Harris, Lorde, Nas, Childish Gambino and Arctic Monkeys. 

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: Lolla has a great reputation as one of the most organized festivals in the country, as we saw in 2012 when a gnarly storm shut things down for part of the weekend. Sets were rescheduled and the show impressively went on. Other pros about the Chicago fest: Krewella says you don't have to dress fancy and you can explore the city by day.

15 / 22

KCON

RYU Kon uk/Courtesy of CJ E&M

When: July 31 - August 2 (California), August 8 (New Jersey)
Where: Los Angeles (California), Newark (New Jersey)

2014 Lineup Highlights: G-DragonGirls' Generation, CNBLUE, IU, Teen Top, CNBLUE, B1A4, BTS, VIXX and SPICA.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: KCON has been called the Mecca of all things K-pop culture and has grown exponentially since it was first introduced in 2012 (a.k.a. the year of "Gangnam Style"), evolving from a one-day convention to a multi-coast extravaganza. This year, KCON will hold three days of panels, workshops, artist meet-and-greets, games and other activities in L.A. with two nights of concerts at the famous Staples Center. The following weekend, KCON makes its East Coast debut at Jersey's Prudential Center for a whirlwind day and night of convention and concerts. Even if you aren't well versed in all things K-pop, the extreme passion you'll see from fans is engaging as any other major festival culture. 

16 / 22

Riot Fest

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 21: Atmoshere as Bouncing Souls perform during the Riot Fest Music Festival at Sports Authority Field
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When: September 11-13
Where: Chicago, IL

2014 Lineup Highlights: Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Slayer, The Cure, Social Distortion, The National, Rise Against, The Offspring, Taking Back Sunday, Wu-Tang Clan, Descendents and many more.  

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: Riot Fest provides the ultimate cross between mainstream and independent acts, current punk rock megastars and legendary bands from the past. This was on full display in 2013, when Humboldt Park hosted two mega-awesome modern headliners in Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy, and then followed it up with Weezer bringing some serious musical might to the stage alongside acts like the Flaming Lips and Descendents. If the relatively new Riot Fest can keep the momentum going, it'll soon be mentioned in the same breath as America's heaviest-hitting festivals.

17 / 22

TomorrowWorld

FAIRBURN, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Atmosphere  at TomorrowWorld Electronic Music Festival on September 29, 2013 in Fairburn, Georgi
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

When: September 25-27
Where: Chattahoochee Hills, GA

2014 Lineup Highlights: David Guetta, Skrillex, Steve Tiësto, Diplo, Kaskade, Martin Garrix and a never-ending list of cohorts.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: TomorrowWorld is the American expansion of global phenomenon Tomorrowland, which is widely considered one of the most popular festivals in the world. 2013 was its first incarnation, and if they had to work out any kinks, they weren't all that noticeable. The festival's debut was a huge success and offers an experience unlike any other with its "Dreamville" camping area, and it's set to outdo itself in 2015.

18 / 22

Austin City Limits Festival

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 03: Atmosphere at the Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Park on October 3, 2014 in Austin, Tex
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When: October 2-4 and 9-11
Where: Austin, TX

2014 Lineup Highlights: Eminem, Pearl Jam, Outkast, Skrillex, Beck, Calvin Harris, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, The Replacements, Zedd, Major Lazer and more.  

2015 Lineup Highlights: Foo Fighters, Drake, The Weeknd, The Strokes, Deadmau5, and more.

Why You Should Go: ACL Fest comes later in the calendar than Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and SXSW, but that's what makes this festival such a special one to attend. Make no mistake, it's still a huge deal and has sold out for the last decade! But falling in October means that the summer festival rush has ended and this serves as a positive: You get a more relaxed crowd, milder temperatures in Austin and less chaos on the whole. Plus, it's two weekends long now, so the party is twice as good!

19 / 22

CMJ Music Marathon

The Irish Band "September Girls" perform at the Knitting Factory October 23, 2014 in New York.  More than 1,300 musicians des
DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images

When: TBD, but it typically extends over the third week of October
Where: New York, NY

2014 Lineup Highlights: This festival isn't a headliner-heavy one, but you can check out who played last year on their website

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: If you want to find some of the best new, raw talent in the country, CMJ is for you. It's called a "music marathon" for a good reason. Lasting an entire week, you have the opportunity to see a ton of music and attend music industry-related conferences.

20 / 22

The Fest

Courtesy of PropertyOfZack.com and Allison Newbold

When: TBA, but probably October 30 - November 2
Where: Gainesville, FL

2014 Lineup Highlights: Descendents, Lifetime, Hot Water Music, Less Than Jake, Mineral, Strike Anywhere, The Menzingers, Chuck Ragan and Banner Pilot.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: If you like punk rock, The Fest is probably one of your favorite weekends of the year. It's a mecca of sorts for punk fans, drawing attendees from countries all over the world. Held in downtown Gainesville, it's a lot like SXSW in that you'll be hopping between multiple venues every day, but the similarities end there, as it's retained a DIY feel throughout each of its 12 years. Held on the same weekend as the annual Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville, the University of Florida's college town is left entirely to the 5,000 punks who descend upon it, and the atmosphere is something you have to witness.

21 / 22

Voodoo Music Experience

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 31: Atmosphere during the 2014 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience at New Orleans City Park on October 3
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When: October 30 - November 1
Where: New Orleans, LA

2014 Lineup Highlights: Foo Fighters, Outkast, 30 Seconds to Mars, Skrillex, Zedd, Pretty Lights, Arctic Monkeys, Slayer, AWOLNATION, Big Freedia and more!

2015 Lineup  Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: Everyone talks about summer festivals, but November's Voodoo Music Experience, in the lively city of New Orleans, challenges the summer fests with an attitude of its own. Whether you're looking for a top-tier festival to beat the heat or wanting to cap off an awesome summer of music with one more weekend of watching huge-name acts, Voodoo is a great choice.

22 / 22

Fun Fun Fun Fest

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 08: Girl Talk performs in concert during day 2 of FunFunFun Fest at Auditorium Shores on November 8, 20
Merrick Ales/FilmMagic

When: TBD, early November
Where: Austin, TX 

2014 Lineup Highlights: Judas Priest, Nas, Girl Talk, Wiz Khalifa, Modest Mouse, Neutral Milk Hotel, alt-J, 2 Chainz and The Blood Brothers.

2015 Lineup Highlights: Still TBA.

Why You Should Go: Austin just keeps on giving. Fun Fun Fun Fest prides itself on highlighting independent and progressive music, and while it doesn't get the same mainstream love as SXSW or the Austin City Limits Festival, it's still an impressive lineup. All music fans need to make a trip to Austin eventually, and FFF Fest provides an excellent opportunity to do so.

User Comments

Advertisement

Photo of the day

May 27: Back To Blue

We've seen Halsey rock many cool cuts and colors, but she's still best known for her blue hairdo. Well, the blue is back! In a selfie posted on Twitter, Halsey shows off her aquamarine tresses and added "it's time." The "New Americana" singer just proves that she can wear her hair in any way she wants to and look good.

Advertisement