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Top 10 Music Festivals in the US

Do you hear about these amazing music festivals people go to and wonder what all the fuss is about? Ever jealous that you didn’t get to go? Wonder which ones are the best? Well, here are some answers to your questions: a complied list of the Top 10 Music Festivals in the US.

10. Winter Music Conference

It’s heralded as the godfather of dance music festivals. Winter Music Conference began in 1984 and is one of the most publicized annual music gatherings in the world. WMC attracts thousands of artists and music industry reps from 70 countries and over 100,000 attendees each year. Held in Miami, FL in mid-March, the festival spans ten days and serves as a platform for many underground and indie artists, as well as entrepreneurs and consumer electronic companies. Though WMC is primarily an event for musical technology, it also hosts one of the biggest music festivals in the world: Ultra Music Festival. UMF brings the biggest names in electronic dance music, including Tiesto, EC Twins, Paul Van Dyk, and Fatboy Slim.

 

9. The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

A ten-day festival, Jazzfest got its start in 1970 and is still held every spring in New Orleans, LA. This is the place to hear really great jazz of all shapes and sizes. With 12 stages featuring jazz, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, blues, R&B, rock, funk, African, Latin, Caribbean, fold, and more, the event has showcased most of the great artists of Louisiana and the world: Fats Domino, Wynton Marsalis, Harry Connick, Jr., The Dirty Dozen Band, Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, and Janelle Monae.

 

8. Summer Camp Music Festival

Summer Camp is a three-day jam music festival held each Memorial Day weekend in Chillicothe, IL. Started in 2001, Summer Camp features a variety of activities, including a Kids Camp area where an adult must accompany the child/children and participate in the fun. Summer Camp encourages a family atmosphere; alcoholic beverages are confiscated during check-in. But fear not! Alcohol is sold inside the festival grounds. Artists that have performed at Summer Camp in the past include Willie Nelson, Les Claypool, The Roots, Jane’s Addiction, Pretty Lights, Primus, Gogol Bordello, and Lotus.

 

7. All Good Festival and Camp Out

The All Good Music Festival and Camp Out is a weekend-long event in July. This year’s festival will be held in Thornville, OH, but past events have been held in other areas of the mid-Atlantic. The event includes mostly jam and folk acts, though in recent years has expanded to include reggae, hip-hop fusion, bluegrass, funk, and rock. The two main stages usually operate with no overlapping sets, meaning spectators have the opportunity to catch all of the music scheduled at the festival. The main stage is at the bottom of a hill, creating a natural amphitheater. Artists who have made appearances in the past include Dark Star Orchestra, moe., Widespread Panic, Les Claypool, Old Crow Medicine Show, The Allman Brothers Band, The Flaming Lips, and G. Love & Special Sauce. Tickets are still available for this year!

 

6. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Bonnaroo is a four-day festival held in Manchester, TN every June. The festival began in 2002 with a focus on jam bands and folk rock, and has diversified greatly in recent years, with multiple stages of live music featuring genres from indie rock to hip-hop, jazz to electronica. The word “bonnaroo” means “a really good time,” which festival goers are sure to have. The festival features a comedy tent, silent disco, cinema tent, and ferris wheel.  As one of the biggest and best music festivals on the east coast, Bonnaroo bosts notable past acts including Alice Cooper, Kenny Rogers, Phish, Stevie Wonder, The White Stripes, Ray LaMontagne, James Brown, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foster the People, Feist, and Flogging Molly.

 

5. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Coachella is a three-day festival held in April in Indio, CA. Since it’s start in 1999, the festival has grown so popular that not only is it streamed online, it is now held for two consecutive weekends: same artists, same lineup. Featuring music from many genres, Coachella also features sculptural art placed in various areas around the festival grounds. Notable artists who have performed at Coachella in the past include Paul McCartney, Prince, Radiohead, Dr. Dre, Madonna, The Cure, Gorillaz, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, St. Vincent, M83, Bon Iver, The Shins, and Eminem. Tickets notoriously sell out within hours of availability, so pay attention to the on-sale date.

 

4. Bumbershoot Seattle’s Music & Arts Festival

Started in 1971, Bumershoot got its name from the slang word for umbrella. Fitting, as the festival features the best artists in music, film, comedy, spoken word, dance, theatre, performance, and visual arts. Held over Labor Day weekend in Seattle, WA, Bumbershoot is a 3-day festival offering an experience in everything from regional favorites to international superstars. Attendees may immerse themselves in cutting edge contemporary art, get some laughs with the likes of Fred Armisen, or Brian Posehn, or hear first-hand from the writers in the book/magazine world and television/movie world. But more about the music: past Bumbershoot musical artists include Emmylou Harris, Chuck Berry, Etta James, The Eurythimics, James Brown, Tina Turner, Modest Mouse, and Death Cab for Cutie. This year, the festival welcomes Tony Bennett, Wanda Jackson, Skrillex, Gotye, and Jane’s Addiction. Tickets are on sale now.

 

3. Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits takes its inspiration from the PBS show of the same title, which started in 1976 and is still going strong, featuring Texas artists in country and folk. The festival, which features many musical genres such as rock, R&B, and jazz, has now influenced the television show! Performers who have appeared on both the PBS show and the festival in recent years include Dave Matthews Band, Ben Kweller, Muse, Willie Nelson, Dixie Chicks, Van Morrison, Franz Ferdinand, Elvis Costello, Café Tacuba, My Morning Jacket, Neil Young, Weezer, Florence + the Machine, and Andrew Bird. Tickets are already sold out for this year, so keep your ear to the ground for the 2013 lineup!

 

2. South by Southwest

Yep, another festival in Austin, TX, but this list wouldn’t be complete without South by Soutwest. Beginning in 1987, SXSW is a ten-day festival held usually held in March, encompassing film, music, and technology. SXSW Film focuses on new directing talent and has featured movies such as The Puffy Chair and The Hurt Locker. SXSW Interactive focuses on emerging technology and has become a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies. Twitter and Facebook both gained more notoriety at the festival, which also saw the launch of the Foursquare application. But I digress. We’re talking music here, and the SXSW Music Festival is one of the largest in the United States. Today, the festival sees as many as 12,000 registered festival goers. Handfuls of musicians have been discovered and/or signed at SXSW, including the Polyphonic Spree, Hanson, John Mayer, and James Blunt. This year, the keynote speaker opening the music portion was Bruce Springsteen, and the festival included Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, Justin Towns Earl, Anais Mitchell, Jukebox the Ghost, and Norah Jones. With names like these, keep your ear to the ground for next year’s lineup!

 

1. Summerfest

Summerfest is the biggest festival in the United States, with some of the best and most well known names in music. Starting in 1968, this festival is usually held mid-summer (end of June, beginning of July) and spans a full eleven days! Attracting over 700 bands, the festival is held against the Lake Michigan in Milwaukee, WI.  By the 70’s, permanent stages were being built, and today reinvasions are still happening to ensure that this festival remains one of the best in the world. Nearly one million attendees visit Summerfest each year, experiencing music set on 11 stages from noon until midnight every day. 2011 marked a new event in Summerfest history: the Rock ‘N Sole run, with proceeds going to charity.

Past Summerfest artists include Led Zeppelin, The Jonas Brothers, James Taylor, Christina Aguilera, Sly & the Family Stone, Johnny Cash & June Carter, INXS, Ben Folds Five, My Morning Jacket, Boston, Counting Crows, and Foo Fighters, as well as comedy acts like Bob Hope, Jay Leno, and Billy Crystal.

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