21 Best Music Festivals In The USA

Few things are more exhilarating than stepping foot into a music festival prepared for 3+ days of dancing, local food vendors, and memories that will last through the next year. Modern-day music festivals have been gaining popularity in the U.S. ever since the 1960s with the massive Woodstock Music & Art Fair. Since then, it's grown into something bigger than the original festival-goers 50 years could've ever imagined. Music festivals have slowly but surely become a full-blown tradition across the country. 

Today there are over 800 different music festivals across the United States that can appeal to any and all musical preferences. These events specialize in everything from EDM and pop to hip-hop and country music. Plus, there is more to America's festivals than just intoxicating live music from some of your favorite performers. You can find unique attractions, lots of shopping, and incredible culinary gems at most American music festivals, too. 

Do you remember that bubbling sense of excitement and wonder kids feel when they go to Disneyland? Music festivals have the power to rekindle that type of euphoria. Be one of the millions of people who are privy to this magical experience by grabbing tickets to one of the following 21 best music festivals in the USA.

Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL)

Every August the city of Chicago fills with the sweet sounds of music emanating from the Lollapalooza music festival in Grant Park.  While this year's event is sure to be iconic, it's far from the first time they're putting together an affair like this. The idea for Lollapalooza was concocted by the lead singer for Jane's Addiction and has become a time-honored tradition in Chicago since it was officially inaugurated in 2005. 

These days, around 400,000 attendees flood the park every year to see the top names on the charts all perform in one convenient location. In 2023, Lollapalooza will run for 4 full days from August 3 to August 6 and the list of performers is intense. Lollapalooza headliners will include impressive names like Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, Odesza, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lana Del Rey. 

As you may have noticed, Lollapalooza doesn't strictly stick to one genre and you'll likely hear a range of musical styles across its extensive lineup. So, this is the perfect fest to attend if you and your friends share slightly different music tastes. In total, Lollapalooza will host over 170 artists hailing from every corner of the world who will play on nine unique stages.

Governors Ball Music Festival (Queens, New York)

New York is truly a haven for music at all times of the year, but that energy is even more palpable during the summer months when the Governor's Ball Music Festival goes down. Even though it's only been running since 2011, Gov Ball has already made a name for itself. Hundreds of thousands of people ran to Flushing Meadows Corona Park this year, which was the first time the fest was held at this new venue. 

The list of artists that gathered in New York from June 9 to June 11 for Gov Ball 2023 was nothing short of amazing. World-renowned performers like Lizzo, Lil Nas X, Odesza, Diplo, and Joey Bada$$ all made an appearance, along with Gov Ball's first-ever K-pop performance by Aespa. In total, sixty different artists from various genres, like rap, indie, and dance, played over the weekend.

Thanks to its prime location in New York City, Governor's Ball also provides some of the most mouth-watering festival foods you can find. You can get a taste of some of NYC's most iconic restaurants and treats at Gov Ball. The vendors in 2023 included offerings from The Halal Guys, Mao's Bao, Big Mozz, and Doughnuttery. 

Coachella (Indio, CA)

Coachella is one of the most notorious festivals in the country and there is a good reason why it's become so well-known. Though it's sometimes criticized for becoming too commercial, Coachella does provide something totally different than other events. It is a one-of-a-kind, luxurious music festival experience held at Empire Polo Club. However, it does require quite a bit of dough to partake.

Coachella went from being just a one-day event to a crazy 2-weekend bonanza spread throughout the last half of April. The 24-year-old California festival has provided attendees with an increasingly upscale, indulgent festival that attracts some of the most successful names in music. The fest even garners the attention of influencers and celebrities, whose presence and outfit choices are just as highly anticipated as the musicians.

2023 was a huge year for Coachella with a diverse range of sets to discover. There were headliner performances from Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, and Frank Ocean and smaller sets from artists like Gorillaz, Rosalia, Kali Uchis, Porter Robinson, and more. There were also a bunch of entertaining experiences throughout the festival, such as an activities tent with video games and competitions, a huge outdoor food court, art studios, and morning yoga classes.

Ultra Music Festival (Miami, FL)

If you're looking for a place to dance to electronic dance music for days on end, you might be on the hunt for Ultra Music Festival. The Ultra Music Festival was born in 1999 and quickly gave rise to a wave of similar functions around the globe. Today, there are iterations of Ultra across countries in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia. That fact alone should clue you into how epic Ultra really is. 

In the United States and around the globe, the most well-known version of Ultra is the origin point for the festival — Miami. The event takes place in late March every year and always creates a buzz around how groundbreaking their set-up is. This electronic music festival is particularly known for its huge, out-of-this-world stages and stellar visuals during the shows. The festival also features a wild variety of art installations and even a cool sustainability program, so there is much more to do at Ultra than just dance.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival (Manchester, TN)

Manchester, Tennessee's main event of the summer is Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival held in mid-June. The music festival was inaugurated just over 20 years ago and it's been getting better ever since. Although it was originally a venue for jam bands, it has since blossomed to set the stage for some of the biggest names in music across multiple genres. 

In 2023, there was a slew of great performers at Bonaroo, like the Foo Fighters, Paramore, Odesza, Zeds Dead, Griz, and Portugal, The Man. It's a camping festival with a variety of accommodation ticket options that range from $50 for a nightly primitive camping pass to $3,000 to rent a luxury glamping wooden frame safari tent. Whether you're hoping for an affordable festival weekend or an opportunity to splurge, Bonaroo can surely provide it. 

Besides all the music, Bonaroo features plenty of activities to keep you occupied throughout the weekend. Some of the activity highlights of the festival include lively parades, free yoga classes, the Roo Run 5K, SoberRoo hangouts, and even a Ferris wheel. There was also a huge list of interesting market and food vendors at Bonaroo this year. 

Rolling Loud (Multiple Locations)

Rolling Loud is the world's top rap and hip-hop festival and the lineup never fails to rouse excitement. The great thing about Rolling Loud is that it's become so popular that it's held in multiple locations around the world including Miami, California, Portugal, Germany, Rotterdam, and Thailand. Most adaptations of Rolling Loud take place in the summer, making it a solid summer fest. 

The very first Rolling Loud took place in Miami in 2015. Despite the unforgiving Florida summer heat, over 200,000 festival-goers annually head out to Hard Rock Stadium for Rolling Loud annually. In 2023, Playboy Carti, Travis Scott, A$AP Rocky, Ice Spice, Bryson Tiller, and Offset will perform at Rolling Loud Miami. Some secret special guests still have yet to be announced, too, so you never know who else might show up to perform.

Life Is Beautiful Festival (Las Vegas, NV)

This Las Vegas music festival might have the brightest, happiest name out of them all: Life Is Beautiful. It's a simple, but effective moniker for a dynamic music festival. Life Is Beautiful really puts in the effort to make that title come to life for three days in late September. For 2023, the nearing Life Is Beautiful festival is preparing to welcome artists like The Killers, Kendrick Lamar, Khalid, Nelly, Flume, and The 1975.

There are four main stages at Life Is Beautiful spread across a huge portion of the city. The event is so enormous that it actually takes over 18 fully decorated blocks of Las Vegas. That's a lot of stuff to explore between sets. 

In addition to all the musical performances, some of the most popular acts on the Vegas strip tend to make appearances at this fest, like Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group. The other amazing thing about attending Life Is Beautiful is all the delicious eats. It's basically like a music festival and food festival in one. 

Stagecoach Festival (Indio, CA)

Country lovers might feel left out when they read about all the pop and EDM events out there, but there is an incredible, well-crafted festival in the U.S. for them, too. It's called Stagecoach. This country music bonanza takes place at the end of April and it's the perfect way to welcome in springtime if you're in the mood for some country tunes. 

This music festival is actually held in the same exact same location as Coachella at the Empire Polo Club. It's a very convenient music event to reach for people on the West Coast. Stagecoach usually manages to snag the most popular country artists of the year to play, plus some additional musicians from other genres. 

This year's headliners included well-known country stars such as Luke Bryan, Kane Brown, and Chris Stapleton. There were also a bunch of well-loved artists from other genres who made an appearance, like Elle King, Nelly, and Diplo. Stagecoach also has fun attractions across the grounds, like a huge Ferris wheel to get a bird's eye view over the happenings and Guy Fieri's Stagecoach Smokehouse.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (New Orleans, LA)

New Orleans is a notably musical city, so it's not surprising that they grace the area with an amazing annual music festival called the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Lasting from April 26 to May 5, this lengthy festival packs a punch with two weekends of jazz music and more. Despite the festival's name, its talent list is actually very eclectic, and it doesn't solely host jazz shows. The 2023 event featured performances by a wide array of artists, like Lizzo, Ed Sheeran, Wu-Tang Clan, The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons, Santana, and Ludacris.

While most people don't think of music festivals as family-friendly activities, that couldn't be farther from the truth at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It's a surprisingly terrific music festival option for families with kids. There is a kid's tent stage, parades, and craft activities that will keep busy children busy for the entire weekend while adults get to enjoy the surrounding tunes. 

Burning Man (Black Rock Desert, NV)

Burning Man is one of the more out-there music and arts festivals in the U.S., but it's also one of the most famous in the festival scene. The 37-year-old festival takes place in the middle of the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, so it definitely provides an intense setting. However, this harsh climate and long run time lasting from August 27 to September 4 mean that this music festival requires much more planning than other ones. 

Technically, Burning Man identifies itself as a global movement and it's more like its own world or community built from the ground up than just a simple festival. The festival lasts for nine days in this treacherous terrain and doesn't provide the traditional set you'll find at most popular festivals. There isn't a lineup like traditional music festivals, rather everything comes as a bit of a surprise and it is all created by the community, including you!

The whole thing is really shrouded in a layer of mystery from the outside besides the finale of the event – literally burning a huge wooden statue of a man. Burning Man is a better fit for experienced festival-goers who want to have a new type of experience. It's definitely not for the faint of heart or unprepared attendees. If you plan on taking the plunge for the first time, make sure you abide by all of the festival's recommendations for safety and remember that you are in an unpredictable desert.

CMA Fest (Nashville, TN)

CMA Fest isn't just the most legendary country music event in America, it's also one of the oldest music festivals in the country period. It was established back in 1972, over 50 years ago, and it's been a favorite Nashville event ever since. The first year, just 5,000 people made it out to the festival and today 90,000 attend every year. That's a big jump! 

CMA Fest happens in mid-June every year and lasts four days. In 2023, CMA ran from June 8 to June 11 and the lineup included country stars like Luke Combs, Miranda Lambert, Eric Church, and Luke Bryan. The festival also has six other stages in addition to the main stage where you can catch sets from dozens of other artists, such as Ashley Cooke, Ingrid Andress, and A Thousand Horses. Altogether, there were over 260 performances throughout the days of CMA Fest. 

CMA makes it really easy for first-time visitors to get the hang of the music festival thing. They even put out an app every year called CMA Connect to help you get through the endeavor. You can use the app to see maps of the festival, check out the lineup schedule, and even win prizes. 

Shaky Knees Music Festival (Atlanta, GA)

Shaky Knees is an Atlanta festival in May that's perfect for all the indie folks and rockers. The music festival just had its 10th anniversary in 2023 and it was a huge deal. Over 60 different bands performed to commemorate the milestone of the festival and they put on an insanely memorable performance. 

The thing that's cool about Shaky Knees is that they have the big headliners (like, the Killers, Muse, and the Lumineers in 2023) and lesser-known artists (such as Arlie, Snail Mail, and Rickshaw Billie's Burger Patrol). It's also a great choice if you enjoy eating just as much as dancing at a festival. Shaky Knees features an array of diverse food offerings that can cater to most dietary restrictions. The festival provides a very comfortable space with plenty of amenities like photo booths, phone charging stations, and more VIP experiences available, too. 

Made In America Festival (Philadelphia, PA)

The Made In America Festival was developed by the ultra-famous musician Jay Z over ten years ago. Needless to say from that introduction alone, it's an absolutely exceptional music festival that should be on your bucket list. The Made In America Fest typically happens on Labor Day weekend on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway. 

For 2023, the headliners of each evening at Made In America will be SZA and Lizzo. There is more to see than just these incredible festival finales, though. Made In America will also put on big performances by Miguel, Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty, Ice Spice, Doechii, and more throughout the day. So, you'll want to get there early and stay all the way through to the last set. Between all the shows, there will be quite a few meaningful art installations at Cause Village to check out and plenty of Philly food staples to munch on. 

Electric Forest (Rothbury, MI)

Electric Forest is the type of festival that feels like wandering into a fantastical dream. It's more than just a music festival, it's an immersive experience complete with a magical forest waiting for visitors to explore every inch. Located in Rothbury, Michigan, Electric Forest kicked off back in 2011 as a more mystical alternative to other festival options on the market at the time. 

Since its inception, the fest has grown into such a popular event that it literally sells out in the blink of an eye. Thankfully, there is an official wristband exchange where you can grab certified tickets after the first batch goes. In 2023, Electric Forest attracted approximately 40,000 people to wander the grounds from June 22 to June 25. 

This four-day camping festival goes all night long with activities, shows, and so many out-of-the-box performances that you won't be able to look away from. While you shouldn't expect the nights at Electric Forest to be quiet, they will be filled with lots of welcome surprises. Electric Forest might not seem like it'd be a family-friendly spot, but it is actually an all-ages festival and you'll definitely see kiddos running around. If you do plan on hitting Electric Forest family-style, make sure you bring along the proper festival gear, like protective headphones, extra sunscreen,  and plenty of water. 

Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas, NV)

The name of the game when it comes to electronic music festivals is Electric Daisy Carnival, also known as EDC. The title of this camping festival says it all — this one is 100% about the electronic music scene. Held at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, EDC is one of the classic festivals that's been around since the '90s rave scene and it's stuck for 30 years now. It's also one of those fests that have variations around the world, like in other states, Mexico, and even China. 

Every single year, the lineup for this particular festival is totally stacked with more than 200 artists. The 2023 lineup included performers like Alison Wonderland, 12th Planet, Afrojack, Armin Van Buuren, and Chris Lake.  It's no surprise that an event of that caliber brings in over half a million attendees to partake in all the fun. 

Electric Daisy Carnival is particularly renowned in the festival community for its stages and art. A huge amount of effort goes into making every annual EDC a brand-new experience for every attendee from the newbies to the veterans. You'll want to take a good look around when you explore this festival and really digest in all the work that goes into creating the EDC world.

Austin City Limits Music Festival (Austin, TX)

At the Austin City Limits Music Festival, you can spend two separate weekends in October catching more than 100 high-energy sets. Every year, this Austin fall essential organizes nine different stages to accommodate the onslaught of talent. While most music festivals in America adhere to one general genre, Austin City Limits breaks the mold with its lineup and it entices an eclectic mix of guests to the party. 

All different types of performers make an appearance at the Texas music festival. In 2023, you'll be able to catch Kali Uchis, Maggie Rogers, Shania Twain, Alanis Morissette, Niall Horan, Tove Lo, Labrinth, Tash Sultana, and many more all performing at Austin City Limits. The festival will go down from October 6 to October 8 and then again on October 13 to October 15, so there are multiple chances to get in on all the fun.

Outside Lands (San Francisco, CA)

Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park has earned its spot as a San Francisco tradition. This year might be the most special of Outside Lands yet because it's actually the 15th anniversary of the festival's inception in 2023. Held from August 11 to August 13, Outside Lands prepares several stages to fit with any type of mood you may have over the weekend. The lineup includes big names like Zedd, Janelle Monáe, Lana Del Rey, Fisher, Megan Thee Stallion, Willow, and even drag queen Trixie Mattel and Shaquille O'Neal DJing as Diesel. 

To accompany the music, Outside Lands provides food, wine, cocktails, and beer from some of the best local Bay Area establishments. Make sure you stop by the Outside Lands Marketplace to discover all different types of unique souvenirs from handmade jewelry and clothing to stickers and home decor. If you really want to treat yourself to an elevated experience at Outside Lands, there are also premium passes available that come with things like access to exclusive lounges, private restrooms, and prime viewing spots for shows. 

Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, IL)

Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival at the end of July focuses on showcasing rock and alternative music. Originally established in 2006, Pitchfork is somewhere between one of the OG festivals and one of the more modern events to hit the scene. It has a lot of quirky little features that make it stand out among the crowd of music festivals.

The 2023 event runs from July 21 to July 23 and the lineup will feature artists like Bon Iver, Koffee, Big Thief, King Krule, The Smile, and Alvvays, along with more than 40 other bands. While there is always an awesome lineup at Pitchfork, there is much more to do at this music festival than just nod along to the music. 

Many of the top eateries in Chicago scramble for a chance to set up shop at Pitchfork. There is a craft fair and live artist interviews. Plus, the fest has some of the coolest shopping opportunities ever, like an on-site vinyl fair where you can shop for records before seeing your favorite musician and a poster fair where you can buy artist prints. 

Hangout Music Festival (Gulf Shores, AL)

Hangout Music Festival in Alabama is easily one of the biggest live music events in the South all year. The thing that makes Hangout a completely different vibe than other festivals is its idyllic location right on the beaches of Gulf Shores. So, it's a fantastic music festival to welcome in the summer at the end of May. 

The 2023 Hangout lasted from May 19 to May 21 and the lineup included names like SZA, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Calvin Harris, Paramore, Flume, and Skrillex. There was also a healthy dose of lesser-known artists and plenty of opportunities to discover new music. Hangout provides direct access to the beach, a beach house with dance parties, and a beach club. 

There are also a lot of cute, borderline wacky activities to partake in at Hangout. You'll come across things like a roller-skating Disco, a hammock beach, and a psychedelic bus throughout the music festival. There is even a wedding chapel at Hangout in case you want to make it official with your partner at the fest.

Riot Fest (Chicago, IL)

Riot Fest is the ultimate punk rock festival in the United States. It's held at Douglass Park in Chicago every September, which makes for a pretty amazing venue in the heart of the busy city. For one glorious weekend from September 15 to September 17, all the long-time favorites and up-and-coming artists from the punk rock scene will perform at Riot Fest. 

In 2023, you'll be able to catch headliner sets by the Foo Fighters, The Cure, The Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie, and Queens of the Stone Age. Plus, there will be plenty of more shows during the day leading up to the main events. There will also be a smorgasbord of excellent food for guests, no matter their dietary restrictions, as well as carnival rides and other types of interesting vendors. 

If you can't afford a music festival ticket this summer, no worries, Riot Fest has you covered. Just sign up to participate in the "Do Your Part" initiative where you can help clean up the park to earn tickets to Riot Fest in exchange for your assistance. There are clean-up events until right before the festival, but spots fill up fast so try to sign up as soon as possible. 

Summerfest (Milwaukee, WI)

Summerfest in Milwaukee often dubs itself as the world's largest music festival with nearly half a million attendees in 2022. Before the pandemic, the crowd size was nearing a million participants. One thing is for sure –Summerfest is definitely one of the longest festivals in the United States circuit. 

It lasts for three whole weekends, nearly a month of live music! Lucky Milwaukee. In 2023, the 55th Summerfest goes from June 22 to June 24, June 29 to July 1, and July 6 to July 8. 

There was a diverse range of musicians performing at Summerfest in 2023 too, with shows by the Zac Brown Band, Bleachers, Imagine Dragons, Odesza, the Dave Matthews Band, and many more. The long list of talent played across 12 stages, so there was always a set to watch at this music festival. Summerfest will keep you properly entertained while you're waiting for particular performances, too. There are several food and bar areas around the festival and an activity zone with virtual reality experiences and more available.