Best Summer Music Festivals 2023: Where, When, & What to Bring
There’s no better time than the summer to catch your favorite bands and artists on stage. All around the country, the music industry’s biggest names and rising stars get together for summer music festivals spanning every genre, from EDM and country music to hip-hop and, of course, plenty of indie rock. With such a jam-packed schedule, finding the right event can be tricky — and once you do score tickets, you want to plan your excursion so you can enjoy every second. We help you accomplish both with this summer festival guide.
Top 20 Summer Festivals for Music Lovers
There is no shortage of options for enjoying live music this summer. You could easily plan the next few months around these events, which span every genre imaginable and bring a myriad of veteran and emerging artists to fun venues all across the nation. Check out our list of the best summer music festivals that can be found in a city near you.
June 14-18, 2023
Great Stage Park, Manchester, Tennessee
Halfway between Nashville and Chattanooga lies Manchester, home to one of the most popular summer music festivals around. Bonnaroo brings four days of fun to Tennessee, with headliners Kendrick Lamar, Odesza, and The Foo Fighters gracing the stage Friday through Sunday. This is the ultimate musical melting pot, going above and beyond your 'average' festival to bring an eclectic mix of the best acts — including familiar names and new artists you'll want to catch first.
June 22-July 8th, 2023
Spread out over three weekends beginning on June 22nd, Summerfest is noteworthy not only for its lineup but also because it qualifies as the world’s largest music festival. For several weekends, Milwaukee becomes the epicenter of the music industry. This year will host The Dave Matthews Band, Imagine Dragons, and several dozen other acts in every genre under the sun.
Pitchfork Music Festival
July 21-23, 2023
Union Park, Chicago
While the reviews on the iconic Pitchfork site may be widely regarded as harsh and pretentious, the yearly Pitchfork Music Festival at Union Park in Chicago is anything but. Featuring the hippest acts in indie and alternative rock — along with almost-famous younger acts —the Pitchfork Music Festival serves as a laid-back warm-up to Chicago’s more famous festival Lollapalooza.
August 3-6, 2023
Grant Park, Chicago
The original Lollapalooza was meant to be the farewell tour for Jane’s Addiction. Three decades later, Perry Farrell’s band is still going strong — and Lollapalooza has become one of the titans of the live music festival circuit. Music lovers will want to flock to Chicago’s Grant Park to see big names like Kendrick Lamar and The Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus dozens of other compelling acts.
Four Chords Music Festival
August 12-13, 2023
Wild Things Park, North Franklin Township, Pennsylvania
Pay homage to all things punk rock at the Four Chords Music Festival, which began nearly a decade ago as a far smaller punk rock music event but has since evolved and dramatically expanded in scope. This year, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness headline day one, while The Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio, and American Football give music lovers a reason to stay for day two.
August 27-September 4, 2023
Black Rock City, Nevada
Thousands of artists, engineers, and other creatives flock to the Nevada desert to participate in the yearly “crucible of creativity” known as Burning Man. This year’s festivities begin on August 27th and run through Labor Day, giving attendees more than enough time to create and enjoy art installations, architectural wonders, and other crafted works.
Treefort Music Fest
March 20-24, 2024
Get a head start on the 2024 festival season by visiting downtown Boise, Idaho for the Treefort Music Fest. Beginning on March 20th and running through the 24th, Boise will see an insane lineup of over 500 bands and DJs take the stage, including emo pioneers Built to Spill, Ani DiFranco, and Dinosaur Jr. There’s more to Treefort than just music: a local food fair, art installations, a maker fest, and other conferences transform Boise into a mecca of modern arts, culture, and technology.
Ultra Music Festival
March 22-24, 2024
Bayfront Park, Miami, Florida
Arguably the biggest party in America, Ultra Music Festival is a three-day feast for the EDM-hungry masses. Miami plays host to tens of thousands of wide-eyed festival-goers every March — and the 2024 edition is set for March 22nd through the 24th on South Beach. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, as Ultra Music Festival is held outdoors at Bayfront Park under the scorching Florida sun.
Date TBA, 2024
Dorothea Dix Park, Raleigh, North Carolina
Head to Raleigh for the dreamiest event of the spring which, while held in April, will have you feeling excited for the summer festivals around the corner. For 2023, North Carolina’s Dreamville Festival featured performances from J. Cole, Drake, and Usher. Thankfully, the Dreamville Festival will be back again in 2024, bringing a heavy dose of hip-hop flavor to North Carolina.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
New Orleans Fair Grounds
April 26-May 5, 2024
The Big Easy is the birthplace of Jazz in the USA — so where better to celebrate the best and brightest the genre has to offer than the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival? Yet another event involving the humidity of the deep south, this festival calls for exceptional hydration. festival-goers will want to stay hydrated and slathered in sunscreen. This has been a late-April tradition since 1970 and is a must for lovers of jazz, blues, and zydeco.
April 12-14 & 19-21, 2024
Empire Polo Club, Indio, California
Coachella is the ultimate destination getaway for music lovers looking to also get in touch with nature and has, as of late, also become an influencer mecca. The Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, serves as the perfect location to car camp, pitch a tent, or book a lodge at the nearby Lake Eldorado camping space. Coachella takes place over two weekends in mid-April — and the 2024 lineup is sure to be as loaded as usual.
Date TBA, 2024
Empire Polo Club, Indio, California
Stagecoach may be held at the same Empire Polo Club that hosts Coachella, but the vibes and artists couldn’t be more different. Country music titans like Carrie Underwood, Thomas Rhett, and Luke Bryan have headlined multiple times, but they’ve also shared the stage with classic rock elite like ZZ Top and hip-hop royalty like Nelly. This eclectic lineup takes over the Coachella Valley every late April.
Lovers & Friends
Date TBA, 2024
Las Vegas Festival Grounds
Fans of throwback hip-hop, rap, and R&B must make it their mission to check out Lovers & Friends, held in early May at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds. Pop megastars like Mariah Carey and TLC have performed in the past, but Lovers & Friends is more than just a 90’s nostalgia trip. Acts from the 2000s and 2010s are also all over the lineup, making this an event that music lovers young and old can enjoy.
Kerrville Folk Festival
Date TBA, 2024
Quiet Valley Ranch, Kerrville, Texas
For over half a century, folk acts from around the world have been going deep into the heart of Texas to perform at the Kerrville Folk Festival. This year's event featured not only some of the biggest names in folk music but also bustling campgrounds, yoga, canoe trips, and much more. Feel free to return to the ranch in October for the Welcome Home Fest.
Date TBA, 2024
Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena is home to more than just college football: every year it hosts Cruel World — a celebration of goth and 80s alternative rock. If you attend, be prepared to go heavy on black leather and eyeliner. If you want to check out California’s most brooding live music festivals, plan for a mid-May visit in 2024.
Movement Music Festival
May 24-26, 2024
Hart Plaza, Detroit
If Ultra Music Festival in March doesn't satisfy your craving for EDM, Detroit’s Movement Music Festival in May should fill that void in your life. A three-day celebration of the most talented DJs and creators in the electronic music scene, Movement takes place at Hart Plaza — just a stone’s throw from the Canadian border in downtown Detroit.
Electric Daisy Carnival
May 17-19, 2024
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Break out the 2024 calendar and circle May 17th through the 19th, when the Electric Daisy Carnival will be taking over the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Part arts festival, part electronic music festival — and all party — EDC is a three-day audio-visual extravaganza for music fans eager to make their way to the Nevada desert.
May 27-28, 2024
Basilica Hudson, New York
Experimental musicians and sound artists collaborate every May to create 24-Hour Drone — a sonic soundscape that goes uninterrupted for an entire day. Held at the Basilica Hudson in Hudson, New York, 24-Hour Drone eschews the usual music festival trappings for a more mechanical, avant-garde experience.
Memorial Day Weekend, 2024
Every Memorial Day weekend, Atlantic City beckons emo, pop punk, and indie rock fans from around the world. Located right on the Boardwalk, Adjacent Festival features loaded lineups on both Saturday and Sunday, with 2023 participants like Blink-182, Paramore, and Jimmy Eat World alongside cult favorites like The Front Bottoms and The Linda Lindas.
Governors Ball Music Festival
Date TBA, 2024
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York City
New York City’s annual Governor’s Ball Music Festival brings a variety of hip-hop, R&B, and pop acts to New York's Biggest Party at the new Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Previous headliners included the omnipresent Kendrick Lamar and Lizzo, along with upcoming artists like Lil Uzi Vert. The Governor’s Ball typically takes place in early June, providing the perfect start to the summer season.
Expert Tips To Keep In Mind
Outdoor music festivals during the peak of summer can be a test of both mind and body. It'll be much easier to endure the heat — as well as the thousands of screaming, sweat-soaked festival-goers — if you're covered head to toe in sunscreen. Don't spend all of Day 2 shedding that newly burned skin — keep it safe with a lotion sporting at least SPF 50.
A trusty water bottle will also come in handy to keep you hydrated, provided the venue allows for outside drinks. Don't struggle to distinguish your water bottle from everyone else's: adorn it with a custom skin or wrap. Slap on the logo of your favorite band, and you'll always know which water bottle to use. Custom wraps are also worth adding to headphones, which will definitely come in handy if you're camping overnight and don't want to hear ambient noise from fellow festival-goers.