Being the live music junkies we are, the Rukkus team has been to over 100 music festivals across the country – some major ones and some smaller ones that you might not have heard of. No matter what the size, we’ve compiled a list of our all time favorites – the one where we danced, laughed, and cried of joy at until the wee hours of the morning. Check ’em out below:
#1: Outside Lands
The San Francisco-based Outside Lands music festival is held annually in Golden Gate State Park. 2014 headliners included Kanye West, The Killers, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Food from some of SF’s best local vendors is available Friday through Sunday, and the park works hard to keep the festival clean and eco-friendly. Get tickets to Outside Lands for a taste of SF and live music from your favorite artists.
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#2: Northside Festival
Every summer in Brooklyn, Northside Festival offers live music, film screenings and more! Last year’s highlights included The War on Drugs, CHVRCHES, and Sharon Van Etten. Festival headquarters is in McCarren Park, but events take place throughout the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods. Purchase a badge or tickets to individual events and experience Brooklyn- Northside style!
#3: Governors Ball
Drake, the Black Keys, Lana del Rey, and Florence + The Machine are just a few of the big names that have headlined the Governors Ball in NY. The Ball is held on Randall’s Island in June. In addition to awesome live shows, festival goers can enjoy silent discos, mixology demonstrations, and art shows. Attend the Governors Ball for an unforgettable concert experience!
#4: Gathering of the Vibes
Gathering of the Vibes in Seaside Park, CT, is a 4 day festival of music, arts, and camping. The Gathering was founded 20 years ago, and past headliners include the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, Crosby Stills & Nash. During the Gathering, a food, hygiene products, and clothing drive is held on site. Get tickets today for a charitable and unforgettable 4 days!
#5: Make Music NY
On the summer and winter solstices every year, Make Music New York throws a free, live music celebration spanning every public space of NYC. It’s a conglomeration of amateur musicians, small timers, and pros, featuring music and good vibes around every corner. All genres are welcome, so there’s something for everyone. Head up to NYC for the most fun you can have during a solstice!
#6: Treasure Island Music Festival
Past headliners of Treasure Island include Outkast, Zedd, Janelle Monae, Massive Attack, and Banks. Based in San Francisco, Treasure Island offers fantastic live music and a host of activities for festival goers. Craft-haven Camp DIY has participated for 5 years, costumed characters and performers roam the Island, and a 60-foot ferris wheel looms over the festivities.
Held annually in National Harbor MD, the Music and Gaming Festival is a unique blend of passions. Past performers include The Triforce Quartet, Powerglove, and The Protomen. In addition to a nerdvana musical lineup, there are guest panels featuring video game programmers and remixers. MAGFest also hosts MAG Prom and various fun events for charity. Get tickets to MAGFest and unleash your inner nerd!
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#8: New York Musical Theatre Festival
NYMF is the biggest annual musical theater festival in the US. By connecting aspiring musical theater artists and industry scouts, NYMF provides a unique outlet for careers to blossom. For festival goers, it is the perfect blend of exciting new performances and beloved classics. NYMF is the winner of a Drama Desk Special Award. Don’t miss the celebration of artistic diversity and talent- get tickets today!
#9: Maha Music Festival
For the last three years, the beautiful Aksarben Village park in Omaha NE has hosted Maha Music Festival. Maha is a one-day festival of local, regional, and national indie/rock music. Last year, performing musical artists included Twinsmith, M34N STR33T, The Head and the Heart, Death Cab For Cutie, and Local Natives. The festival also hosts a slam poetry showcase and a improv comedy troupe. Get tickets to the Maha Music Festival for a taste of midwestern community and fun!
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#10: Marlboro Music Festival
Every year the tiny town of Marlboro, Vermont hosts a unique musical experience. Marlboro Music Festival begins in July and ends in August, with weekly performances from some of the best classical musicians around. Marlboro connects a multitude of artists for creative collaboration. Each week, the most successful group performances are selected to be shared with the public. Because of this unique repertoire selection method, every concert lineup is a mystery until the week of the performance. For a weekly music surprise, purchase tickets to a summer concert in Marlboro today!
#11: Grand Canyon Music Festival
The Grand Canyon Music Festival was born in 1982, when two musicians who were hiking across the canyon performed a tiny concert for a few park rangers. Since that performance, the festival has blossomed into a celebration of chamber music. Notable musicians who have performed at the festival include BRIM and Guidonian Hand. Attend the Grand Canyon Music Festival for a rich cultural experience you won’t soon forget!
#12: Creative Convergence Silicon Valley
The Creative Convergence festival in Silicon Valley, or C2SV, is a blend of musical and technological innovation. Artists and speakers of all kinds gather in downtown San Jose’s arts and design district for a 4 day extravaganza. Last year, experts on social media and technology hosted discussion panels and demonstrations, and musicians including Iggy and the Stooges, Thee Oh Sees, Bosnian Rainbows, and OFF! headlined. Get tickets to Creative Convergence for something artistic, unexpected, and unforgettable!
#13: Untapped Festival
As the name suggests, Untapped Festival is a celebration of music and craft beer. Multiple cities in Texas host the festivities: Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, and most recently, Austin. Last year’s headliners included Toadies, Robert Ellis, and The Bright Light Social Hour. Every event features local breweries, artisans, and food vendors. Get tickets to the Untapped Festival for a rich cultural taste-test of Texas!
#14: Escape Music Festival
Placebo, Yeasayer, Moby, and Girl Talk are just a few past headliners of the Escape Music Festival in NY. Annually held at Governor’s Beach Club, the festival offers 2 stages, over 20 artists, and some of the best food vendors in NYC make Escape worth attending. Non-stop activities and entertainment are available both days. If you want your fill of indie, pop, electronic, and rock, Escape Music Festival is the place to be!
#15: Catskill Chill Music Festival
Catskill Chill Music Festival is held at Camp Minglewood in Hancock NY. Past headliners include Yonder Mountain String Band, Allie Kral, The New Deal, and Papadosio. In accordance with the indie, folk, and bluegrass elements, the festival allows free camping with the purchase of a ticket. Breathtaking views of nature and great music- what more could you ask for? Buy tickets today!
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#16: The Ride Festival
The Ride Festival in Telluride CO carefully selects musical performances based on the preferences of their fans. Past headliners include David Byrne and St. Vincent, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, The Lumineers, Cake, and Los Lobos. Attendees seem taken with the blend of rock and folk, not to mention the local hot springs, hiking, and biking opportunities. Colorado is the perfect place for a music festival, and The Ride delivers everything the beautiful state can offer!
#17: Great South Bay Music Festival
Every year in Patchogue NY, festival goers come from far and wide to attend the Great South Bay Music Festival. Ranging from modern rock band Taking Back Sunday to kid-friendly pop singer Laurie Berkner, the lineup always spans a variety of genres in order to appeal to all ages, so the festival attracts entire families. So don’t worry about finding a babysitter if you want to enjoy good music- bring the kids along and attend the Great South Bay Music Festival!
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#18: Five Boroughs Music Festival
5ive Boroughs Music Festival is a not-for-profit endeavor to deliver top-notch chamber music to all five boroughs of NYC. Shows span classical music, jazz, art song recitals, and more. 5ive Boroughs brings music to the masses each season, featuring new artists and seasoned performers alike. Get tickets to 5ive Boroughs Music Festival for a diverse display of the finest music NYC has to offer.
#19: Doheny Days Music Festival
Enjoy live rock, reggae, and funk performances on 3 different stages during Doheny Days Music Festival. Held on the picturesque Doheny State Beach, Doheny Days has featured Jane’s Addiction, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Jimmy Eat World, and countless other big names. See great bands live on the oceanfront at Doheny Days Music Festival!
#20: Northern Rockies Music Festival
The Northern Rockies Music Festival began in 1977. Since then, it has become a two-day extravaganza of music from both professional bluegrass musicians and up-and-coming young artists. Over the years, headliners have included Sam Bush and Richie Havens. Get tickets to the Northern Rockies Music Festival to bask in the beauty of nature and bluegrass!
#21: Jeff Fest
Each summer, local and national performers gather for one of Chicago’s most-loved music festivals- Jeff Fest. Enjoy music from every genre imaginable, make something artsy, and grab a bite from some of the best food trucks around. In the past, the Jenny Rockus Trio, According to Sarah, and Bad Examples have headlined the Jeff Fest. There’s something for everyone, so don’t miss out!
#22: Mustang Music Festival
Every October, Corolla NC hosts the Mustang Music Festival, a rock n’ roll extravaganza for all ages. Last year’s lineup included Soul House Revival, The London Souls, and Roadkill Ghost Choir. In addition to pro performances, Mustang Music Festival offers students an opportunity to share their talents through the Mustang Outreach Program. See up-and-comers and seasoned professionals alike at this unmissable festival!
#23: Parma Music Festival
The PARMA Music Festival is a one-of-a-kind festival for all genres and skill levels. PARMA allows musicians of different styles to collaborate and produce distinct new sounds. In addition to live music, there are discussion panels, visual art displays, and educational demonstration. PARMA offers an environment for musicians to grow, learn, and be part of something big. You can be part of it too- get tickets to PARMA today!
#24: Birdfoot Festival
The Birdfoot Festival in New Orleans is a “youthful” and modern approach to chamber music, offering intimate settings for classical music performances by some of the world’s finest string players. Venues range from cafes to arts centers, making each concert accessible to everyone who wants to enjoy chamber music. Buy tickets to the Birdfoot Festival for a classical music experience that is truly unique!
#25: Chamber Music Festival of Lexington
The Chamber Music Festival of Lexington holds concerts in the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion, offering classical music performances in the midst of stunning landscape and Kentucky horse country. In addition to inviting guest musicians to perform each year, festival commissions an original piece of music and visual artwork. For a refreshing dose of classical music in the heart of bluegrass country, get tickets to the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington today!
#26: Early Music Festival NYC
From intimate chamber music concerts to grand choral performances, Early Music Festival NYC offers a wide variety of events for its attendees. There is a Festival Gala celebration to thank sponsors and artists for their contributions, and countless recitals from world-renowned musicians and groups. Past performers include Quicksilver, New York Polyphony, House of Time, The Sebastians, and many more. Early Music Festival NYC has something for everyone- don’t miss out!
#27: WHAT Fest
WHAT Fest in Riverside WY is a non-profit festival for lovers of all things indie. Local artisans, food trucks, and stellar performers gather for a weekend of music and fun. All events take place either at the Beartrap Cafe & Bar or Riverside Garage & Cabins, so there’s a friendly local atmosphere. Whether you’re camping or staying in a cabin, you can enjoy Wyoming the way it’s meant to be enjoyed- with good food, a beautiful landscape, and great music!
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#28: Hear Now Music Festival
In 2009, Hugh Levick and Timothy Loo founded a celebration of contemporary composition: HEAR NOW music festival. HEAR NOW is an opportunity for “impossible-to-categorize” new classical works to be shared with the public. Each year, professional musicians gather to perform contemporary music written by LA’s finest. Composers featured in recent years include Gernot Wolfgang and Frank Campo. Hear tomorrow’s greats today at HEAR NOW music festival!
#29: Rainbow Trout Music Festival
The first Rainbow Trout Music Festival consisted of about 70 people, who came out to an abandoned gravel quarry in Manitoba for some music and fun. Now, it attracts 700+ people annually. You can enjoy the natural beauty of Manitoba and the sounds of every music genre you can possibly imagine- electronic, reggae, rock, hip-hop, and more. Swim in the river, camp on the grounds, and dance the night away at Rainbow Trout Music Festival!
#30: Mimir Chamber Music Festival
Each year, Mimir Chamber Music Festival holds international auditions to feature some of the greatest classical performing artists in the world. Held on the beautiful campus of TCU in Fort Worth, Mimir Chamber Music Festival presents professional and emerging musicians alike, providing master classes and daily education for the aspiring artists. While the main festival takes place in Texas, a smaller branch occurs in Melbourne Australia, bringing chamber music to both hemispheres of the globe. Get tickets to Mimir Chamber Music Festival to see the expanding phenomenon live!