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22 Music Festivals You Need To Attend in 2016

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

1 / 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 3 - 5
Where: New York, NY

2016 Lineup Highlights: Kanye West, The Strokes, The Killers, Beck, Robyn, Death Cab for Cutie, M83, HAIM, Of Monsters and Men

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. Don't even get us started on 2015, with Lana Del Rey, deadmau5, Black Keys, Drake and more.

2 / 22


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 9 - 12
Where: Manchester, TN

2016 Lineup Highlights: Pearl Jam, LCD Soundsystem, J. Cole, Ellie Goulding, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

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.)

3 / 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 24 - August 13
Where: Throughout North America

2016 Lineup Highlights: Good Charlotte, Less Than Jake, New Found Glory, Waka Flocka Flame, Sum 41, The Summer Set, Yellowcard

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.

4 / 22


RYU Kon uk/Courtesy of CJ E&M

When: June 24 and 25 (New York) and July 29-31
Where: LA & NYC

2016 Lineup Highlights: BTS, Girls' Generation-TTS, CNBLUE, Seventeen, Dynamic Duo, Crush, Twice

2015 Highlights:

Why You Should Go: KCON has been called the Mecca of all things K-pop, 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. 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.

5 / 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 16 - 19
Where: Dover, DE 

2016 Lineup Highlights: Mumford & Sons, deadmau5, Florence + The Machine, Blink-182, Kings of Leon and more.

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 powerful lineups. There's camping available as well, so you can make a lot out of this fest!

6 / 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 22 - 24
Where: Newport, RI

2016 Lineup Highlights: Father John Misty, Ray Lamontagne

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.

7 / 22


CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 01: Image processed using digital filters) General atmosphere of day 2 of Lollapalooza at Grant Park on
Timothy Hiatt/WireImage

When: July 28 - 31
Where: Chicago, IL

2016 Lineup Highlights: Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, J. Cole, LCD Soundsystem, Ellie Goulding, Major Lazer, Lana Del Rey

2015 Highlights:

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 say you don't have to dress fancy and you can explore the city by day.

8 / 22

Made in America

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

When: September 3-4, 2016
Where: Philadelphia, PA

2015 Highlights: 

Why You Should Go: How could a festival founded by Jay Z not be cool? Already in its fifth year, Made in America continues to get more ambitious with both the type of talent and amount of talent it brings to Philly each year. There's an emphasis on pop, hip-hop and electronic acts here, and even though the fest is no longer bi-costal, it still becomes an excellent way to spend Labor Day weekend and close out your summer.

9 / 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 16 - 18
Where: Chicago, IL 

2015 Lineup Highlights: Alexisonfire, The Prodigy, Weezer, All Time Low, Rancid and more.

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. 2015's lineup (No Doubt, System of a Down) was just as exciting. 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.

10 / 22

Austin City Limits

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: September 30 - October 2, October 7 - 9 
Where: Austin, TX

2016 Lineup Highlights: Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead, Mumford & Sons, LCD Soundsystem, Kygo, Willie Nelson, Flume, LL Cool J, Chris Stapleton

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!

11 / 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

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

2015 Highlights:

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.

12 / 22

The Fest

Courtesy of PropertyOfZack.com and Allison Newbold

When: October 28-30
Where: Gainesville, FL

2016 Lineup Highlights: The Ergs!, Less Than Jake, Latterman, A Wilhelm Scream, Propagandhi, Dillinger Four

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.

13 / 22

Voodoo Music Experience

NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 30: Gerard Way performs during the 2015 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience at City Park on October 30,
Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

When: October 28 - 30
Where: New Orleans, LA

2015 Highlights:

Why You Should Go: Everyone talks about summer festivals, but October'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.

14 / 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: November 6-8
Where: Austin, TX

2016 Lineup Highlights: Jane's Addiction, Wu-Tang Clan, Chvrches, Grimes, Cheap Trick, ScHoolboy Q, Gogol Bordello

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.

15 / 22

South By Southwest

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 21: YG performs at the AXE White Label Collective Party powered by SPIN at SXSW on March 21, 2015 in Austi
Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images for AXE

When: March 15 - 20
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 Lady Gaga's high-octane performance in 2014?—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.

16 / 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 18 - 20
Where: Miami, FL 

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 lineup highlights from 2015 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.

17 / 22


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 15 - 17, April 22 - 24
Where: Indio, CA 

2015 Highlights: 

Why You Should Go: Taking place in the middle of the desert, Coachella is a top-notch festival experience that feels like the start of summer festival season. It provides an argument each year that its lineup is king of all festivals, and 2015 was no exception. This year, the reunions of LCD Soundsystem and Guns N' Roses are leading the way; do whatever you can to find tickets.

18 / 22

Beale Street

John Durgee for Fuse

When: April 29 - May 1
Where: Memphis, TN

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.

19 / 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 20 - 22
Where: Gulf Shores, AL

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.

20 / 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: TBA
Where: Kingston Downs, GA

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.

21 / 22

Sasquatch! Music Festival

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 27 - 30
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.)

22 / 22

Electric Daisy Carnival

LAS VEGAS, NV - JUNE 23: A general view during the 18th annual Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on June 23
Bryan Steffy/WireImage

When & When: Mexico City, Feb 27 - 28; Las Vegas, June 17 - 19; UK, July 9; Tokyo, July 2016


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 marked 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.

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NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Chance the Rapper and Iman dance at KENZO x H&M Launch Event Directed By Jean-Paul Goude' at Pier

Oct. 20: Fashion Party

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