During this increasingly digital age, instant gratification is something we are starting to take for granted. It’s becoming easier and easier to get our hands on any sort of media we want with the click of a button or the touch of a screen. CDs are bought more for their nostalgic value than for the music they hold; when the Internet has made it so simple to instantly listen to newly released music, it’s often unnecessary to pay for music at all, let alone purchase physical copies of it. The days of CD-players and boomboxes are behind us, but if there’s one thing the masses have refused to let go of, it’s the concert experience. Music festivals that usually span over the course of a few days allow fans to move from stage to stage and listen to a variety of their favorite artists in succession, like something of a live playlist. Summer has come to be known as the season of music festivals, and although summer is by no means upon us, (the crusty, dirt-speckled layers of snow caked on every street corner never fail to remind us of that), fans of music are already gearing up for the summer as set lists are released and tickets are scrambled for. Each festival has its own unique personality, so it’s important that festival-goers cater to their own musical tastes and choose the right one. Below is a chronological list of a few of the front-runners for this summer, reflecting various tastes:
Where: Indio, Calif.
When: April 12-14 and April 19-21
Lineup Highlights: The Stone Roses, Blur, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bassnectar, Passion Pit, Phoenix, Sigur Rós, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Vampire Weekend and Wu-Tang Clan.
Although Coachella sold out in less than a day, with the existence of the secondary ticket market (StubHub and the like), it is still possible to get tickets. Coachella is known for showcasing talents across several genres, mainly rock, hip-hop, indie and electronic. Over the years, they have also made a point of including well-established artists, emerging artists and even newly reunited groups in their lineups. Coachella therefore attracts a variety of people when it comes to musical tastes rather than catering to any specific type. Coachella audiences are also frequently sprinkled with celebrities, another exciting plus. The desert setting of the festival offers gorgeous views and backdrops to the experience, but temperatures can often reach over 100 degrees, which can be less than comfortable, yet on-site camping (as opposed to staying in a hotel) is the most popular way for people who are staying the full duration of the festival to experience Coachella.
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
When: June 13-16
Lineup Highlights: Paul McCartney, Mumford & Sons, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Pretty Lights, R. Kelly, Wu-Tang Clan, Daniel Tosh, The Lumineers, Passion Pit and Kendrick Lamar.
Held at Great Stage Park on a 700-acre farm, Bonaroo is enormous. The festival began with a focus on folk rock, but has added great variety to its set lists in recent years. Now, musical styles can range from indie rock to hip hop to country to reggae. There are also lots of fun activities to keep festival-goers occupied and entertained in between sets, such as a comedy and cinema tents and a ferris wheel. Although those attending Bonaroo, can stay in off-site hotels, many choose to camp on the grounds for the entirety of the festival as General Admission Camping is included in the ticket price.
Where: National tour
When: June 15-August 4
Lineup Highlights: Hawthorne Heights, Motion City Soundtrack, The Used, 3OH!3, Bowling for Soup, Reel Big Fish, Breathe Carolina, All Time Low and Taking Back Sunday.
Unlike Coachella and Bonaroo, Warped Tour isn’t available in only one location for a few days, but the festival is a national tour, visiting cities for 1-2 days at most. It is also a much smaller festival and is usually held in parking lots in which they erect tents and stages. A downside to this is that the blacktop surface of a parking lot can greatly enhance the heat, so keeping hydrated is necessary. Warped started off as mainly a punk-rock festival, and although the punk-rock genre remains the focus, in recent years they have diversified to include other genres such as hip hop, reggae and pop. This festival therefore attracts a much more specific audience than other, more diverse festivals do: teens with a taste for punk. Because the festival doesn’t span several days, tickets won’t break your bank, and there is also no need for camping. However, the communal atmosphere isn’t lost because the focus of the genres brings everyone together. Additionally, many tents are set up for meet-and-greets with the bands.
Electric Daisy Carnival
Where: National tour
When: May 17-June 23
Lineup Highlights: TBA, but highlights in the past have included Kaskade, Afrojack, Tiesto, Avicii, Calvin Harris, Bassnectar, Porter Robinson and Steve Angello.
EDC originated as a one-day Southern California event, but has since spread to multiple venues across America and has become the largest North American electronic music festival. Like Warped Tour, EDC focuses on a specific genre of music: in this case, mainly music revolving around the genres of electronic dance music, techno and dubstep. Camping is not an EDC tradition because of its two-day duration and the densely populated areas in which it has been held (Las Vegas, Dallas, Orlando, etc.) The festival goes on all day long, and the specificity of the genres gives it a different atmosphere than most: one that revolves around the idea of “PLUR;” (Peace, Love, Unity, Respect). Free carnival rides are available in addition to the music, art, light shows and fireworks.
Where: National tour
When: June 29-August 4
Lineup Highlights: TBA, but highlights in the past have included Slipknot, Slayer, The Devil Wears Prada, As I Lay Dying, Asking Alexandria and Anthrax.
Mayhem Festival tours the country, appearing in each city for no more than one day at a time. Therefore, camping is also not a part of the culture of this festival. Heavy metal and hard rock are the main focus of this festival, and although performers represent a wide range of sub-genres within those categories, this is not a festival that caters to a variety of tastes. The festival also makes sure to present both established and up-and-coming bands. Mayhem Festival has great value for fans of heavy metal, because heavy metal is a genre that often goes unrepresented in other music festivals. Moshpits and testosterone abound.
Where: Chicago, Ill.
When: August 2-4
Lineup Highlights: TBA, but highlights in the past have included Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Florence + The Machine, Bassnectar, Avicii, Passion Pit and Calvin Harris.
Lollapalooza takes place over a three-day period, but since it’s in Chicago, hotels are easy to find. Camping is not part of the culture. The festival features a wide range of popular artists from different genres of music, including alternative rock, heavy metal, punk rock and hip hop. Although the festival itself offers dance and comedy performances, craft booths and food to keep people occupied when they aren’t watching musical performances, exploring Chicago is another very popular opportunity.
Whichever you choose: have fun, be safe and enjoy the music!