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The USA’s Best Music Festivals

Picture of Culture Trip
Updated: 4 May 2018
If you love music, the outdoors, floral crowns, or just hanging out with your friends, there is a good chance you’re a fan of music festivals. But not all festivals are created alike. Take a look at the best music festivals in America and pick one—or more—that you feel suits you best. (Don’t forget the glow sticks.)

Coachella

Perhaps the most famous of the American music festivals (at least on Instagram), Coachella is a two-week-long party in the desert outside of Los Angeles. Featuring huge headliners like Kanye West and Lorde, the music and arts festival is also famous for its fashion. Attendees spend weeks perfecting their outfits—expect lots of fringe, metallic, and crowns made out of real roses and peonies.

Bonnaroo

One of the crunchiest music festivals around, Bonnaroo, in Tennessee, is the festival to go to if you are a fan of mellower tunes. Headliners include the likes of Dar Williams and Bon Iver. Things can get a little less than sparkling clean—people tend to camp in clusters—but Bonnaroo is about as close as you can get to the spirit of the original Woodstock these days.

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Sam Bush & Byron House at Bonnaroo | © xflickrx / Flickr

Lollapalooza

For those who don’t want to commit to an epic trip outside of cell phone service, or would like to be able to retreat to a quiet hotel or apartment at night, Lollapalooza just might be the best choice. Located in Chicago, Lollapalooza draws a diverse array of big-name acts—2017 alone featured Chance the Rapper, the xx, Lorde, and the Shins.

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Lollapalooza | © - EMR - / Flickr

BottleRock

One of the more sedate options, BottleRock in Napa is for those who would prefer their festival with a side of quiet luxury. BottleRock has easily accessible big-name acts, such as Bruno Mars, the Chainsmokers, and Incubus, and has the added benefit of being not far from some of the best wine in the world, all the better to enjoy the show with.

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BottleRock, 2016 | © JasaNic / WikiCommons

Ultra

If techno is your jam, and you think music should be the soundtrack to a raucous, all-day, all-night party, Ultra is the music festival for you. Although they have events all around the world now, Miami was the original, and it is a perfect city in which to experience a backbeat that never stops.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

For those who appreciate a slower pace of life that is no less attuned to the depth and richness that a communal experience of music can bring to life and relationships, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival would be an excellent choice. New Orleans is the home of American jazz, and some of the best players in the world come to pay homage and carry the genre forward under the sultry Louisiana sun.

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New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival | © Ray Devlin / Flickr

Austin City Limits Music Festival

For those who like to know what kind of music everyone is going to be listening to ahead of time, Austin City Limits has a lineup of incredible depth, showcasing some of the most promising musical acts in the world. But don’t worry because big names are mixed in with the up-and-comers, so you’ll get your DJ Khaled and St. Vincent along with your street cred.

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Austin City Limits | © Jon Roberts / Flickr