It might feel like winter may never end as you sit and wonder if you’ll ever recover feeling in your extremities, but don’t despair — the season of music festivals is soon to be upon us! It’s a truly magical time when music enthusiasts around the world gather together for one weekend to dance and frolic in the sun to the industry’s premier bands. If you ever want to feel the same unbridled joy you experienced the first time you went to Disney World as a child, I suggest you pack some muscle tees and shorts and check out one or all of the festivals going down this year.
The first to kick off the season, South by Southwest (SXSW) is the most cultured of all festivals. Not only does it host the best up-and-coming acts in the business, having been a platform for artists such as John Mayer and James Blunt, but this seasoned pro has also expanded into an interactive film festival. SXSW boasts musical acts on hundreds of stages as well as showings of noteworthy indie films. This year, expect to see a diverse showcase with artists like St. Vincent, Talib Kweli as well as other features, like a preview of the new season of “Portlandia” with creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein and speaker Neil deGrasse Tyson. Coming live to you from Austin, Texas on March 7-16.
The most famous of American music festivals, Coachella sets up camp in the desert of Indio, Calif., for two consecutive weekends. Coachella has attracted some of the biggest artists of our time, even reviving legends from the dead as it did two years ago when a hologram of Tupac performed alongside Snoop Dogg. Notorious for delivering an epic lineup, Coachella hits the mark once again this year — headliners include Outkast, Muse and Arcade Fire. If you still don’t have plans this spring break, how about partying with Big Boi and André 3000 in the desert? Playing in a desert near you April 11-13 and 18-20.
If you are looking for something closer to home, Governors Ball is your best bet. Calling Randall’s Island home, right off Manhattan, this is New York City’s very own music festival. Relatively new to the festival scene, Governors Ball is making a name for itself by beckoning all music lovers from the area with the best new talent across genres. This festival attracts an eclectic crowd with a diverse array of headliners ranging from Nas to Animal Collective. This year’s lineup does not disappoint, with headliners such as Jack White, Phoenix and, in their second festival appearance, Outkast. So if you are in the city from June 6-8, make your way to Randall’s Island.
For the quintessential festival experience, I suggest venturing down to Tennessee. This is your chance to breathe, eat and sleep music for an entire weekend. Instead of leaving the grounds of the festival, you camp out every night with your fellow concert-goers, allowing you to catch as many gigs as possible. Although the lineup for this year will not be announced until later this month, you can potentially catch performances by Prince, Elton John or newer acts like Sleigh Bells and Cage the Elephant, from June 12-15.
Living up to its name, Lollapalooza is truly one of the finest festivals you could ever attend, attracting thousands to the heart of Chicago every year. Not only do you get to catch amazing sets by some of the biggest bands in the biz, but you get to explore the beautiful city of Chicago by day. Since Lollapalooza is one of the last festivals of the season, kicking off August 1-3, its lineup has yet to be announced, but rumor has it that Arctic Monkeys, Danny Brown and maybe even the elusive Daft Punk will be making an appearance, so keep your ears peeled to see who else might show up.