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The 26 Best Music Festivals of 2018

Festival season is approaching and we have all the details you need to know about Coachella, Afropunk, Warped Tour, Voodoo, Governors Ball, Lollapalooza and more major music events in North America this year

1 / 26

Shaun White's Air + Style Festival

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 18:  General view at the stage as rapper Atmosphere performs during Air + Style Los Angeles 2017 a
Timothy Norris/Getty Images

When: March 3 - 4
Where: Los Angeles, CA

2017 Highlights:


Why You Should Go: 
Four years ago, snowboarding legend/guitarist Shaun White brought a global Big Air snowboard competition and music festival to L.A. Not only is Air + Style a competition featuring the world’s best winter athletes, but also has the hottest music artists in the game. The two-day event series, held at Expo Park at the L.A. Coliseum, will have performances from Tinashe and Cashmere Cat to Zedd, DRAM and much more. Let's not forget the activities— learning how to snowboard on an Olympic-level, interacting with the latest technology, sampling a variety of food, and creating art.

2 / 26

South by Southwest (SXSW)

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 17:  Yoon Mi-rae (L) and Tiger JK of Drunken Tiger (2nd R) perform at KPop Night Out during 2017 SXSW Conf
Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for SXSW

When: March 9 - 18
Where: Austin, TX

2017 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.

3 / 26

Ultra Music Festival

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MARCH 19:  Ultra DJ Spotlight Carl Cox performs on stage at the Ultra Music Festival 2016 on March 19, 2016
Sergi Alexander

When: March 23 - 25
Where: Miami, FL

2017 Lineup Highlights: Major Lazer, Martin Garrix, Zhu, KSHMR, Steve Aoki, A$AP Ferg, Afrojack.

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 2017 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.

4 / 26

Coachella

INDIO, CA - APRIL 15:  Tory Lanez performs on the Sahara Stage during day 2 of the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival (
Natt Lim/Getty Images for Coachella

When: April 13 - 15, April 20 - 22
Where: Indio, CA

2017 Lineup Highlights: Lady Gaga, Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Bon Iver, Lorde.

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 2017 was no exception. This year, The Weeknd, Beyoncé, Eminem will headline, need we say more? So do whatever you can to find tickets.

5 / 26

Shaky Beats Music Festival

Shaky Beats Music Festival YouTube Channel

When: May 11 - 13
Where: Atlanta, GA

2017 Lineup Highlights: The Chainsmokers, Kaskade, Griz, Flosstradamus, Zeds Dead, Galantis.

Why You Should Go: The sister festival of rock fest Shaky Knees is back for its third year. Shaky Beats will continue to shake at its new location in Central Park. Get ready to dance the night away with electronic, hip-hop and indie acts.

6 / 26

Beale Street

John Durgee for Fuse

When: May 4 - 6
Where: Memphis, TN

2017 Lineup Highlights: Kings of Leon, Soundgarden, Snoop Dogg, Sturgill Simpson, Death Cab for Cutie, Wiz Khalifa, MGMT, Jill Scott.

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.

7 / 26

Shaky Knees Music Festival

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 14:  General view of atmosphere as Shakey Graves performs at Shaky Knees Music Festival at Centennial Olymp
Chris McKay

When: May 4 - 6 
Where: Atlanta, GA

2017 Lineup Highlights: The xx, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix, Cage The Elephant, Pixies, The Shins, Moon Taxi, Dr. Dog, The Revivalists, The London Souls.


Why You Should Go:
 The rock-centric festival takes place at Central Park. Rock-lovers of all ages can witness more than 60 artists on three stages ranging from iconic to up-and-coming. Check out this year's headliners including Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age, The National and more while munching on food from Atlanta's locals.

8 / 26

Hangout Music Festival

GULF SHORES, AL - MAY 19:  Atmosphere during the 2017 Hangout Music Festival at Hangout Beach on May 19, 2017 in Gulf Shores,
Tim Mosenfelder/WireImage

When: May 18 - 20
Where: Gulf Shores, AL

2017 Lineup Highlights: Mumford and Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Weezer, MGMT.

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.

9 / 26

Sasquatch! Music Festival

GEORGE, WA - MAY 27:  Sam Lachow performs live on stage during the Sasquatch Festival at Gorge Amphitheatre on May 27, 2017 i
Jim Bennett/Getty Images

When: May 25 - 27
Where: George, WA

2017 Lineup Highlights: Twenty One Pilots, Chance the Rapper, Frank Ocean, MGMT, Phantogram, Mac Miller, The Strumbellas.

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.)

10 / 26

Electric Daisy Carnival


When & Where:
 Mexico City, Feb 24 - 25; Las Vegas, May 18 - 20; UK, TBA; Tokyo, May 12 & 13

2017 Lineup Highlights: Kygo, Afrojack, Diplo, Porter Robinson and Martin Garrix, Alesso.

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.

11 / 26

Governors Ball

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 03:  Slim Jimmy of Rae Sremmurd performs onstage during the 2017 Governors Ball Music Festival - Day 2 at
Noam Galai/Getty Images

When: June 1 - 3
Where: New York, NY

2017 Lineup 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.

12 / 26

Bonnaroo

MANCHESTER, TN - JUNE 11:  A general view of the atmosphere during The Weeknd's performance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Fest
Josh Brasted/WireImage

When: June 7 - 10
Where: Manchester, TN

2017 Lineup Highlights: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, The xx, Major Lazer and Travis Scott, Noname, Tove Lo, Michael Kiwanuka, D.R.A.M, Francis and the Light, Tegan & Sara.

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.)

13 / 26

Firefly Music Festival

DOVER, DE - JUNE 16:  A general view of the crowd of music fans as Lil Dicky performs at the 2017 Firefly Music Festival on J
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Firefly

When: June 14 - 17
Where: Dover, DE

2017 Highlights:


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!

14 / 26

Warped Tour

ATLANTA, GA - JULY 02: General view of atmosphere at Aarons Amphitheatre at Lakewood for the Vans Warped Tour on July 2, 2015
David A. Smith/Getty Images

When: June 21 - August 5
Where: Throughout North America

2017 Lineup Highlights: The Ataris, GWAR, Andy Black, Hatebreed, Silverstein, Save Ferris, Municipal Waste, Watsky, Bowling for Soup.

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. Not to mention, 2018 is reportedly the last time the festival will hit the road so you got to see what they're preparing for this grand finale.

15 / 26

KCON

Courtesy CJ E&M

When: TBD
Where: LA & NYC

2017 Lineup Highlights: Seventeen, GOT7, Twice, CNBLUE, Highlight, VIXX, GFriend, NCT 127, Cosmic Girls, ASTRO.

2017 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.

16 / 26

Panorama

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 28:  Balloons are released on the audience as Girl Talk performs during the 2017 Panorama Music Festival
Noam Galai/WireImage

When: June 27 - 29
Where: New York, NY

2017 Lineup Highlights: Frank Ocean, Solange, Tame Impala, Alt-J, Nine Inch Nails, A Tribe Called Quest, MGMT, Future Islands, Tyler the Creator, Nick Murphy, Vince Staples, Cashmere Cat, Snakehips, Kiiara.

Why You Should Go: Here's an east-coast music festival alternative to Coachella, if you didn't get a hold of tickets or can't make it out to the west. The new music festival will give you an almost similar experience with art installations, local food selections and a wide range of music performances. Last year gave us three days of sick lineups. There's no telling what 2018 will bring us!

17 / 26

Essence Festival

NEW ORLEANS, LA - JULY 01:  Mary J. Blige performs onstage at the 2017 ESSENCE Festival Presented By Coca Cola at the Mercede
Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for 2017 ESSENCE Festival

When: July 5 - July 8
Where: New Orleans, LA

2017 Lineup Highlights: Diana Ross, Mary J. Blige, Chance the Rapper, Solange, John Legend, Monica, Remy Ma.

Why You Should Go: The magazine's annual festival always brings out R&B and hip-hop royalty along with tons of rising talent and classic favorites. Fans fill NOLA's Superdome for a stylish getaway weekend where everyone dresses to impress while singing along to their favorites of today and yesterday.

18 / 26

Newport Folk Festival

NEWPORT, RI - JULY 30:  The Main Stage and crowd during the Newport Folk Festival 2017 at Fort Adams State Park on July 30, 2
Douglas Mason/Getty Images

When: July 27 - 29
Where: Newport, RI

2017 Lineup Highlights: Fleet Foxes, Wilco, Regina Spektor, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James.

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.

19 / 26

Lollapalooza

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 04: General Atmosphere during day two of Lollapalooza at Grant Park on August 4, 2017 in Chicago, Illino
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

When: August 2 - 5
Where: Chicago, IL

2017 Lineup Highlights: Blink-182, Chance the Rapper, Lorde, The Killers, Muse, Arcade Fire, The xx, DJ Snake, Wiz Khalifa.

2017 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.

20 / 26

Afropunk Fest

BROOKLYN, NY - AUGUST 28:  Skin of Skunk Anansie performs during the 12th Annual Afropunk Brooklyn Festival at Commodore Barr
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

When: August 25 & 26
Where: Brooklyn, NY

2017 Lineup Highlights: Sampha, Thundercat, Sinkane, KING, Kaytranada, Nao, Sango, Gary Clark Jr, Macy Gray, SZA, Willow Smith.

Why You Should Go: A festival truly for the people. Originally gracing BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) and expanding to Brooklyn's Commodore Barry Park, the annual multicultural event has been around since 2005. Afropunk always manages to deliver the hottest R&B, hip-hop, punk and dance artists, showcasing authentic glorious styles. But apart from watching notable acts express themselves freely, festival-goers are also free to celebrate culture, good food and art all in a judgement-free environment. 

21 / 26

Made in America

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 02:  Rappers Quavo, Offset, and Takeoff of Migos perform onstage during the 2017 Budweiser Made
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

When: September TBA
Where: Philadelphia, PA

2017 Lineup Highlights: Jay Z, J. Cole, The Chainsmokers, Run the Jewels, Kaskade, Migos, 21 Savage, Solange, Marshmello, Little Dragon, DMX, Sampha.

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.

22 / 26

Riot Fest

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 02:  Atmosphere during Riot Fest at National Western Complex on September 2, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
Tim Mosenfelder

When: September 14 - 16
Where: Chicago, IL

2017 Lineup Highlights: Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, Wu-Tang Clan, Taking Back Sunday, Paramore, Prophets of Rage, M.I.A.


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. 2017's lineup (Nine Inch Nails, Paramore) 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.

23 / 26

Music Midtown

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 17:  Judah Akers of Judan & the Lion performs during Day 2 of Music Midtown at Piedmont Park on Septe
Scott Legato/Getty Images

When: September TBA
Where: Atlanta, GA

2017 Highlights:


Why You Should Go:
In cased you missed the Shaky Knees and Shaky Beats fest, Atlanta's Music Midtown offers a wide range of artists for you to see later in the festival season. Attendees can expect over thirty performances on multiple stages, delicious food from local restaurants and interesting experiences throughout Piedmont Park. 

24 / 26

Austin City Limits

Australian record producer and musician Harley Edward Streten, better known by his stage name Flume, performs during day 1 of
SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/Getty Images

When: October 5 - 7 & October 12 - 14
Where: Austin, TX

2017 Lineup Highlights: Chance the Rapper, Gorillaz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Killers, The xx, Jay Z, Solange.

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!

25 / 26

The Fest

Courtesy of PropertyOfZack.com and Allison Newbold

When: October TBA
Where: Gainesville, FL

2017 Lineup Highlights: Against Me, Hot Water Music, Hum, Pegboy, Iron Reagan, Crime in Stereo

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.

26 / 26

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Joyryde perform during the  2017 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience at City Park on October 27, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Jordan Hefler/C3 Presents

When: October 26 - 28
Where: New Orleans, LA

2017 Highlights: 

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

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HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 30: NSYNC is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 30, 2018 in Hollywood, Californ

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