America’s Best Music Festivals of Spring 2017
It's officially March, and you know what that means. The spring music festival season is here! From techno to indie, these are the performances you don't want to miss.
Chelsea is Brooklyn-based travel writer, editor, and photographer. When not home eating her way through NYC, she's gallivanting across the globe, sailing the coast of Croatia or hiking the peaks of Peru. Her superpowers include booking flight deals and sleeping in small plane seats.
Ultra Music Festival, Miami
Miami is hands down one of the ultimate party spots in the U.S., which is why it’s totally fitting that the city is kicking off the outdoor music season with Ultra Music Festival. The three-day EDM (that’s electronic dance music, for those under rocks) brings in hordes of neon-clad ravers and headliners like Major Lazer, Ice Cube, and Justice. Just make sure you bring the energy for 24/7 beats. This festival doesn’t mess around.
Coachella’s killer lineup is what always sets the tone for the upcoming music festivals. And, damn does this year not disappoint. All eyes are on the star acts: Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar and
Beyoncé Lady Gaga. (Sorry, Beyhive, your Queen’s got twins to deliver. But don’t worry, she’ll be back in 2018!) Other big-hitters include the xx, Empire of the Sun, Bon Iver, DJ Snake, Lorde and even Hans Zimmer (yes, you read that right). And when you’re not dancing your ass off, join the cool kids at the off-site parties at Palm Springs hotspots like the Ace and Saguaro.
Beale Street, Memphis
Don’t underestimate Memphis because of its size. The city actually hosts one of the most eclectic music fests in the country: Beale Street. Expect a wide range of musicians and genres from country to pop and R&B to rock. We can’t wait to catch Kings of Leon, Soundgarden, Widespread Panic, Wiz Khalifa, Sturgill Simpson, Death Cab for Cutie, Snoop Dogg, MGMT, Ludacris, Tori Kelly, Jimmy Eat World, Sum41, Machine Gun Kelly, and more.
Shaky Knees, Atlanta
If you’re looking to rock, Shaky Knees is where it’s at. This Atlanta fest blends an indie-heavy bill with upbeat bands to come up with a lineup such as LCD Soundsystem, Cage the Elephant, Portugal, the man, The XX, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Shins, Third Eye Blind, X Ambassadors, and Ryan Adams. It may not be the traditional fest circuit, but it’s definitely worth heading south to see.
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell is the most well-rounded on our list. Held over two weekends, it features standard NOLA-rooted jazz, bluegrass and zydeco music as well as a handful of big-name headliners and iconic singer/songwriters. We’re talking Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, Kings of Leon, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Pitbull, Meghan Trainor, Earth, Wind & Fire, and more. Lineup aside, the food here is out of this world—instead of the usual burgers and fries fare, you’ll tuck into Cajun Jambalaya, Po-Boys of every variety, boiled crawfish, Cuban sandwiches and fluffy beignets.
April 28-May 7
Hangout Music Festival, Gulf Shores, AL
Picture the most epic spring break ever and that’s what you’ll get at Hangout. This beachfront rager in Gulf Shores, Alabama, pulls out all the stops. For starters, there’s the top hits soundtrack played by Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Weezer, DJ Snake, MGMT, Band of Horses, The Head and the Heart, Franz Ferdinand, and many more. Plus, if you can’t stand the heat, join the float parties in the ocean—you’ll already be in your swimsuit anyway!
To truly celebrate techno music, you have to go to the source: Detroit. And if you've never been, what better time to go than for Movement. The three-day riverfront event is one of the more affordable large-scale music festivals, bringing together some of the biggest names in techno, garage and house music. Across its six stages, expect to see DJs, MCs and live acts including Carl Cox, Danny Brown, Soul Clap, and more.
If you ever thought Beantown was boring, think again. Boston Calling brings in some of the biggest names in the industry with performances by Tool, Mumford & Sons, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Weezer, The 1975, Cage the Elephant, Solange, and more. Plus, the stages are steps away from some of the city’s best sights and bites like Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market and the Italian North End. As the locals say, it’ll be wicked awesome.
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