The Sound and the Festival
Music festivals have a long history around the world. After the emergence of rock and roll music by the mid-1950s, they began to take on a more modern sound. Bob Dylan famously plugged in his electric guitar at Newport Folk Festival in 1965. There was a series of outdoor festivals celebrating the “summer of love” in California, the most well-known being 1967’s Monterey Pop Festival held outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Since Woodstock in 1969, every successive generation has tried to create its own Woodstock. Altamont Speedway Festival, the West Coast’s answer to Woodstock just four months later, also made the history books. In 1991, Lollapalooza single-handedly resurrected a forgotten word from the late 19th century.
Despite the demise of Germany’s Love Parade, which had a good run between 1989 and 2010, dance music festivals have become bigger and proliferated all over the world. It’s no accident their popularity coincides with the rise of the superstar DJs. Note that Forbes started publishing its annual list of electronic cash kings (highest paid DJs) in 2012. Belgium’s Tomorrowland boasts 400,000 visitors—not bad for a small country. Some of the marquee events—Electric Daisy Carnival, Creamfields, and Ultra, for instance—have branched out to multiple locations, establishing spin-offs and franchises.
Two of the most talked-about festivals in America are South by Southwest and Coachella—though both cover more than just music. Check out the late Huell Howser’s behind-the-scenes look at the 2008 edition of Coachella for “California’s Gold.” He got up close and personal with some of the art installations (love that tree house). The audio quality is not optimal because a fan uploaded this one-hour episode (video starts here). You’ll see a few seconds of VHS or Beta, Dwight Yoakam, and a reclusive artist who shall remain nameless as he is rather litigious. The unusual venue is a polo field in the desert; there can’t be that many polo fields in the U.S.
Say It or Save It
Did we miss your favorites in the following directory? If so, go to our Contact page and tell us about it. You’ll feel better afterwards.
Dance Music Festivals and More
The festivals below are primarily dance-oriented except for the multi-genre ones with an asterisk. You’ll find some of the open-waters variety (cruises). We publish each festival’s year once the date has been announced for the upcoming calendar year. Of course, a festival could be canceled the last minute. And beware of fake sites/pages for defunct festivals.
Name Web Site Date/Location
Aftermath Festival aftermathfestival.com August - Toronto *Austin City Limits Music Festival aclfestival.com September-October 2016 - Austin, Texas Awakenings NYC awakenings.nl/nyc February 2016 - New York BAALS Music Festival itsbaals.com August - Fort Wayne, Ind. Bal en Blanc balenblanc.com March 2016 - Cruise from Montreal Beyond Wonderland Bay Area bayarea.beyondwonderland.com September - Mountain View, Calif. Beyond Wonderland Southern California socal.beyondwonderland.com March 2016 - San Bernardino, Calif. *Big Ears Festival bigearsfestival.com March-April 2016 - Knoxville, Tenn. *Big Week NYC bigweeknyc.com December - New York *Billboard Hot 100 Festival hot100festival.billboard.com August - New York Black & Blue bbcm.org October - Montreal *Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival bonnaroo.com June 2016 - Manchester, Tenn. Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival brooklynemf.com November - New York *BUKU Music + Art Project thebukuproject.com March 2016 - New Orleans *Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival coachella.com April 2016 - Indio, Calif. Countdown NYE countdownnye.com December - San Bernardino, Calif. *CRSSD Festival crssdfest.com March 2016 - San Diego
October - San Diego
Decadence decadencenye.com December - Denver; Chandler, Ariz., Salt Lake City Desert Hearts deserthearts.us November - San Diego County, Calif. Digital Dreams digitaldreamsfestival.ca June - Toronto Dreamstate dreamstateusa.com January 2016 - San Francisco Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas lasvegas.electricdaisycarnival.com June 2016 - Las Vegas Electric Daisy Carnival New York newyork.electricdaisycarnival.com May 2016 - New York Electric Daisy Carnival Orlando orlando.electricdaisycarnival.com November - Orlando, Fla. Electric Forest electricforestfestival.com June 2016 - Rothbury, Mich. Electric Zoo electriczoofestival.com September 2016 - New York Escapade Music Festival escapademf.com June 2016 - Ottawa Escape escapehalloween.com October - San Bernardino, Calif. ETD Love etdlove.com August - Oakland, Calif. *Firefly Music Festival fireflyfestival.com June 2016 - Dover, Del. *Forecastle forecastlefest.com July 2016 - Louisville, Ky. *Fun Fun Fun Fest funfunfunfest.com November - Austin, Texas *FYF Fest fyffest.com August - Los Angeles Global Dance Festival globaldancefestival.com July - Morrison, Colo., and Kansas City, Mo.
November - Tempe, Ariz.
*The Governors Ball Music Festival governorsballmusicfestival.com June 2016 - New York The Groove Cruise thegroovecruise.com January 2016 - Cruise from Miami
2016 - Cruise from Los Angeles
HARD Day of the Dead hardfest.com October - Pomona, Calif. HARD Summer Music Festival hardfest.com August - Pomona, Calif. Holy Ship! holyship.com January 2016 - Cruise from Miami
February 2016 - Cruise from Miami
How Weird Street Faire howweird.org April - San Francisco Igloofest igloofest.ca January-February 2016 - Montreal *iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina news.iheart.com/... November - Miami *iHeartRadio Jingle Ball news.iheart.com/... December - Dallas; Oakland, Calif.; Los Angeles; Saint Paul, Minn.; Philadelphia; Boston; New York; Washington, D.C.; Chicago; Sunrise, Fla.; Tampa, Fla. *iHeartRadio Music Festival news.iheart.com/... September - Las Vegas Imagine Music Festival imaginefestival.com August 2016 - Atlanta International Music Summit Engage internationalmusicsummit.com April 2016 - Hollywood, Calif. *L Festival lfestival.com October - Costa Mesa, Calif. Life in Color Festival lifeincolor.com January 2016 - Miami; East Lansing, Mich.
February 2016 - Kalamazoo, Mich.; Denver; Lincoln, Neb.; Tulsa, Okla.
March 2016 - Sacramento, Calif.
April 2016 - Rochester, N.Y.
*Life Is Beautiful lifeisbeautiful.com September - Las Vegas Lightning in a Bottle lightninginabottle.org May - Bradley, Calif. Lights All Night lightsallnight.com December-January 2016 - Dallas *Lollapalooza lollapalooza.com July 2016 - Chicago Mad Decent Boat Party maddecentboatparty.com November - Cruise from Miami *Made in America Festival madeinamericafest.com September - Philadelphia *Mala Luna Music Festival malalunamusicfestival.com October 2016 - San Antonio, Texas Moogfest moogfest.com May 2016 - Durham, N.C. Moonrise Festival moonrisefestival.com August - Baltimore Movement Electronic Music Festival movement.us May 2016 - Detroit Mysteryland USA mysteryland.us June 2016 - Bethel, N.Y. Nocturnal Wonderland nocturnalwonderland.com September - San Bernardino, Calif. *The Number Fest thenumberfest.com April 2016 - Athens, Ohio *Osheaga Festival Musique et Arts osheaga.com July 2016 - Montreal *Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival sfoutsidelands.com August - San Francisco Paradiso Festival paradisofestival.com June - George, Wash. Piknic Electronik piknicelectronik.com May-September - Montreal *Pitchfork Music Festival pitchforkmusicfestival.com July - Chicago Pop the Dream popthedream.com April - Oakland, Calif. POPNYE popnye.com December - Oakland, Calif. San Francisco Electronic Music Festival sfemf.org September - San Francisco *Sasquatch! Music Festival sasquatchfestival.com May 2016 - Quincy, Wash. Shambhala Music Festival shambhalamusicfestival.com August 2016 - Salmo, B.C. Solaris Winter Music Festival solarismusicfestival.com December - Toronto Sonic Bloom sonicbloomfestival.com June 2016 - Spanish Peaks Country, Colo. *South by Southwest Music, Film and Interactive sxsw.com March 2016 - Austin, Texas Spring Awakening Music Festival springawakeningfestival.com June 2016 - Chicago *Stern Grove Festival sterngrove.org June-August 2016 - San Francisco Sun City Music Festival suncitymusicfestival.com September - El Paso, Texas Sunset Music Festival smftampa.com May 2016 - Tampa, Fla. Super City Fest supercityfest.com August 2016 - Oakland, Calif. Time Festival time-fest.com August - Toronto Time Warp US time-warp.de/usa November - New York Together as One newyearsevela.com December - Los Angeles Tomorrowworld tomorrowland.com September - Atlanta [Canceled in 2016] Treasure Island Music Festival treasureislandfestival.com October - San Francisco Twelve 31 insomniac.com December - Los Angeles Ultimate Music Experience umesouthpadre.com March 2016 - South Padre Island, Texas Ultra Music Festival ultramusicfestival.com March 2016 - Miami Veld Music Festival veldmusicfestival.com August - Toronto *Voodoo Music + Arts Experience worshipthemusic.com October 2016 - New Orleans *Wakarusa Music Festival wakarusa.com June - Ozark, Ark. What the Festival whatthefestival.com June 2016 - Dufur, Ore. White Party Week whiteparty.org November - Miami The World's Largest Disco theworldslargestdisco.com November 2016 - Buffalo, N.Y.
Barbarella barbarellabypresidente.com June - Santo Domingo The BPM Festival thebpmfestival.com January 2016 - Playa del Carmen, Mexico Creamfields Brasil creamfields.com.br January 2016 - Florianopolis, Brazil Creamfields Buenos Aires creamfieldsba.com November - Buenos Aires Creamfields Chile creamfields.cl November - Santiago Creamfields Peru creamfieldsperu.com November - Lima Day Zero dayzerofestival.com January 2016 - Tulum, Mexico Defqon.1 Festival defqon1.cl December - Santiago Electric Daisy Carnival Brasil brasil.electricdaisycarnival.com December - Sao Paulo Electric Daisy Carnival Mexico mexico.electricdaisycarnival.com February 2016 - Mexico City Electric Paradise electricparadise.com December - Higuey, Dominican Republic Electric Zoo Mexico mx.electriczoofestival.com May - Mexico City Groovefest groovefestevents.com (unofficial?) September 2016 - Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic Kaballah Festival kaballah.com.br October - Sao Paulo Life in Color Festival lifeincolor.com January 2016 - San Salvador *Lollapalooza Argentina lollapaloozaar.com March 2016 - Buenos Aires *Lollapalooza Brasil lollapaloozabr.com March 2016 - Sao Paulo *Lollapalooza Chile lollapaloozacl.com March 2016 - Santiago *Lollapalooza Colombia lollapaloozaco.com October 2016 - Bogota Mysteryland Chile mysteryland.cl December - Picarquin, Chile Rio Music Carnival riomusicconference.com.br February 2016 - Rio de Janeiro *Rock Werchter rockwerchter.be May - Monterrey, Mexico South American Music Conference samcfestival.com October - Buenos Aires SXM Festival sxmfestival.com March 2017 - Saint Martin Time Warp Argentina time-warp.de/argentina April - Buenos Aires Tomorrowland Sao Paulo tomorrowlandbrasil.com April 2016 - Sao Paulo Ultra Brasil ultrabrasil.com October 2016 - Sao Paulo Ultra Buenos Aires ultrabuenosaires.com 2016 - Buenos Aires Ultra Chile ultrachile.com 2016 - Santiago Universo Paralello universoparalello.org December-January 2016, Itubera, Brazil WiSH Outdoor wishoutdoor.com.mx May - Monterrey, Mexico
Alfa Future alfafuture.com July - Nizhny Novgorod, Russia Amore Festival amorefestival.net December-January 2016 - Rome *Amphi Festival amphi-festival.de July 2016 - Cologne Amsterdam Dance Event amsterdam-dance-event.nl October - Amsterdam Amsterdam Music Festival amsterdammusicfestival.com October - Amsterdam *Amsterdam Woods Festival amsterdamwoods.nl August - Amsterdam Aquasella aquasella.com August - Cangas de Onis, Spain *Les Ardentes lesardentes.be July 2016 - Liege, Belgium Awakenings Belgium awakenings.nl/be April 2016 - Antwerp Awakenings Eindhoven awakenings.nl January 2016 - Eindhoven, Netherlands Awakenings Festival awakenings.nl June 2016 - Amsterdam Awakenings Manchester awakenings.nl February 2016 - Manchester, England B My Lake bmylake.hu August 2016 - Zamardi, Hungary Balaton Sound sziget.hu/balatonsound July 2016 - Zamardi, Hungary BangFace Weekender bangface.com April 2016 - Southport, England Barrakud barrakud.com August - Pag, Croatia *Berlin Festival berlinfestival.de May - Berlin *Best Kept Secret Festival bestkeptsecret.nl June 2016 - Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands Bestival bestival.net September 2016 - Isle of Wight, England *Bilbao BBK Live bilbaobbklive.com July 2016 - Bilbao Bloc blocweekend.com March 2016 - Minehead, England *Bravalla Festival bravallafestival.se June-July 2016 - Norrkoping, Sweden Club to Club clubtoclub.it November - Torino, Italy Creamfields creamfields.com August 2016 - Daresbury, England Creamfields Ibiza creamfieldsibiza.com August - Ibiza Creamfields Malta facebook.com/creamfields.malta August - Malta CTM Festival ctm-festival.de January-February 2016 - Berlin Dance Valley dancevalley.com August 2016 - Spaarnwoude, Netherlands Defqon.1 Festival defqon1.nl June - Biddinghuizen, Netherlands Dekmantel Festival dekmantelfestival.com July-August - Amsterdam Distortion cphdistortion.dk June 2016 - Copenhagen Dominator dominatorfestival.nl July - Eersel, Netherlands *Dour Festival dourfestival.eu July 2016 - Dour, Belgium Eastern Electrics easternelectrics.com August - London Electric Castle electriccastle.ro July 2016 - Cluj-Napoca, Romania Electric Daisy Carnival United Kingdom uk.electricdaisycarnival.com July 2016 - Milton Keynes, England Electric Love electriclove.at July 2016 - Salzburg *Electric Picnic electricpicnic.ie September 2016 - County Laois, Ireland Electrobeach electrobeach.com July 2016 - Le Barcares, France Electronic Family electronicfamily.nl July - Amsterdam Electronic Summer electronicsummer.se August - Gothenburg, Sweden Electronic Winter electronicsummer.se January 2016 - Gothenburg, Sweden *EXIT Festival exitfest.org July 2016 - Novi Sad, Serbia *Festiwal Tauron Nowa Muzyka festiwalnowamuzyka.pl August 2016 - Katowice, Poland 5 Days Off 5daysoff.nl March - Amsterdam Forestland forestland.hr August - Brezje, Croatia *Fusion Festival fusion-festival.de June-July 2016 - Larz, Germany *Glastonbury Festival glastonburyfestivals.co.uk June 2016 - Pilton, England *Le Guess Who? leguesswho.nl November 2016 - Utrecht, Netherlands Hartera hartera.com September - Rijeka, Croatia Hideout Festival hideoutfestival.com June 2016 - Pag, Croatia *Hurricane Festival hurricane.de June 2016 - Scheessel, Germany I Love Techno Europe ilovetechnoeurope.com December - Perols, France *Incubate incubate.org September - Tilburg, Netherlands Infest Festival infestuk.com August 2016 - Bradford, England Inox Festival inox-festival.com May - Toulouse, France Insomnia Festival insomniafestival.no October - Tromso, Norway International Music Summit Ibiza internationalmusicsummit.com May 2016 - Ibiza *Into the Great Wide Open intothegreatwideopen.nl September - Vlieland, Netherlands kaZantip kazantip.com July-August - Popovka, Russia Lake Parade lakeparade.ch July - Geneva *Latitude Festival latitudefestival.com July 2016 - Southwold, England Life Festival life-festival.com May - County Westmeath, Ireland Life in Color Festival lifeincolor.com January 2016 - Manchester, England *Lokerse Feesten lokersefeesten.be August 2016 - Lokeren, Belgium *Lollapalooza Berlin lollapaloozade.com September 2016 - Berlin Lost & Found Festival lostandfoundfestival.com March-April 2016 - Malta Lovebox loveboxfestival.com July 2016 - London *Lovefest lovefest.rs August - Vrnjacka Banja, Serbia *Lowlands lowlands.nl August 2016 - Biddinghuizen, Netherlands Luminosity Beach Festival luminosity-events.nl June 2016 - Amsterdam Luminosity Trance Gathering luminosity-events.nl February 2016 - Amsterdam *Main Square Festival mainsquarefestival.fr July 2016 - Arras, France Maschinenfest maschinenfest.de October - Oberhausen, Germany Mayday mayday.de April 2016 - Dortmund, Germany Melt! Festival meltfestival.de July 2016 - Grafenhainichen, Germany Mysteryland mysteryland.com August 2016 - Haarlemmermeer, Netherlands Nature One nature-one.de August 2016 - Kastellaun, Germany Norbergfestival norbergfestival.com July-August - Norberg, Sweden *NOS Primavera Sound nosprimaverasound.com June 2016 - Porto, Portugal Nuits Sonores nuits-sonores.com May 2016 - Lyon, France Open Air Field openairfield.com July 2016 - Lintgen, Luxembourg *OpenAir St.Gallen openairsg.ch June-July 2016 - St.Gallen, Switzerland Outlook Festival outlookfestival.com September 2016 - Stinjan, Croatia *OyaFestivalen oyafestivalen.com August 2016 - Oslo Parookaville parookaville.com July 2016 - Weeze, Germany *[PIAS] Nites pias.com/nites Various countries Piknic Electronik Barcelona piknicelectronik.es June-September - Barcelona Piknic Electronik Lisboa piknicelectronik.pt June-August - Lisbon *Pinkpop pinkpop.nl June 2016 - Landgraaf, Netherlands *Pitchfork Music Festival pitchforkmusicfestival.fr October - Paris *PLAI Festival plai.ro September - Timisoara, Romania *Positivus Festival positivusfestival.com July 2016 - Salacgriva, Latvia *Primavera Sound primaverasound.com June 2016 - Barcelona *Le Printemps de Bourges printemps-bourges.com April 2016 - Bourges, France *Pukkelpop pukkelpop.be August 2016 - Hasselt, Belgium Punkt punktfestival.no September - Kristiansand, Norway Qlimax qlimax.com November - Arnhem, Netherlands Radio Nation Festival radio-nation.de September 2016- Mannheim, Germany Refresh Festival refreshfestival.me August - Kotor, Montenegro *Rock Werchter rockwerchter.be June-July 2016 - Werchter, Belgium *Roskilde Festival roskilde-festival.dk June-July 2016 - Roskilde, Denmark Sea Dance Festival seadancefestival.me July 2016 - Budva, Montenegro *Secret Garden Party secretgardenparty.com July 2016 - Abbots Ripton, England Sensation sensation.com July - Amsterdam The Social Festival thesocialfestival.com February 2016 - Maidstone, England
*Solar Weekend solarweekend.com August 2016 - Roermond, Netherlands Sonar sonar.es June 2016 - Barcelona Sonar Reykjavik sonarreykjavik.com February 2016 - Reykjavik Sonar Stockholm sonarstockholm.com February 2016 - Stockholm SonneMondSterne sonnemondsterne.de August 2016 - Saalburg, Germany *Southside Festival southside.de June 2016 - Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany Street Parade streetparade.com August 2016 - Zurich Summer Sound summersound.fi July - Helsinki Sunwaves Festival sunwaves-fest.ro August - Constanta, Romania Syndicate syndicate-festival.de October 2016 - Dortmund, Germany *Sziget Festival szigetfestival.com August 2016 - Budapest 10 Days Off 10daysoff.be July - Ghent, Belgium Time Warp time-warp.de April 2016 - Mannheim, Germany Tomorrowland tomorrowland.com July 2016 - Boom, Belgium Toxicator toxicator.de December - Mannheim, Germany Les TransArdentes lestransardentes.be January 2016 - Liege, Belgium Transmission transmission.cz November - Prague Ultra Europe ultraeurope.com July 2016 - Split, Croatia Ultra Ibiza ultraibiza.com 2016 - Ibiza Untold Festival untoldfestival.com August 2016 - Cluj-Napoca, Romania *VESTROCK vestrock.nl June 2016 - Hulst, Netherlands *Les Vieilles Charrues vieillescharrues.asso.fr July 2016 - Carhaix-Plouguer, France Volt voltfestivalen.se June - Uppsala, Sweden *Volt Festival sziget.hu/volt June-July 2016 - Sopron, Hungary VuuV Festival vuuvfestival.de July 2016 - Putlitz, Germany We Are One weareonefestival.com July - Berlin Weather Festival weatherfestival.fr June - Paris Weekend Festival wknd.fi August 2016 - Helsinki Weekend Festival Baltic weekendbaltic.com August 2016 - Parnu, Estonia Weekend Festival Stockholm wkndsweden.com August 2016 - Stockholm WinterWorld winter-world.com February 2016 - Frankfurt WiSH Outdoor wishoutdoor.com July 2016 - Beek en Donk, Netherlands
Creamfields Abu Dhabi creamfields.ae December - Abu Dhabi Djakarta Warehouse Project djakartawarehouse.com December - Jakarta Electric Daisy Carnival Japan japan.electricdaisycarnival.com July 2016 - Tokyo Electric Zoo Tokyo electriczoo.jp 2016 - Tokyo Enchanted Valley Carnival evc.co.in September - Lonavala, India Global Gathering globalgathering.com November - Tokyo, Sapporo International Music Summit Asia-Pacific internationalmusicsummit.com December - Sentosa, Singapore International Music Summit China internationalmusicsummit.com October - Shanghai Intro Festival intro-festival.com May - Beijing The Labyrinth mindgames.jp September - Niigata, Japan *NH7 Weekender nh7.in October - Shillong
October-November - Kolkata
November - Delhi
December - Pune
December - Bangalore
Sensation India sensation.com February 2016 - Hyderabad, India *Sonic Mania Festival summersonic.com August - Tokyo, Osaka Sunburn sunburn.in December - Vagator, India Supersonic gosupersonic.in December - Candolim, India Ultra Bali ultrabali.com 2016 - Bali Ultra Japan ultrajapan.com 2016 - Tokyo Ultra Korea umfkorea.com June 2016 - Seoul Wonderfruit Festival wonderfruitfestival.com December - Pattaya, Thailand World DJ Festival worlddjfest.com May - Seoul ZoukOut zoukout.com December - Sentosa, Singapore
Defqon.1 Festival defqon1.com.au September - Sydney Earthcore earthcore.com.au November - Pyalong, Australia *Southbound Festival southboundfestival.com.au January 2016 - Busselton, Australia Stereosonic stereosonic.com.au November-December - Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane Strawberry Fields strawberry-fields.com.au November - Melbourne Subsonic Music subsonicmusic.com.au December - Monkerai, Australia
Ultra South Africa ultrasouthafrica.com February 2016 - Johannesburg, Capetown Unyazi newmusicsa.org.za September [biannual] - Johannesburg
A playlist while you browse:
- Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling Stone (1965) [►]
- Scott McKenzie – San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair) (1967) [►]
- Eric Burdon & The Animals – Monterey (1968) [►]
- Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Woodstock (1970) [►]
- Jimi Hendrix – Star Spangled Banner (1970) [►]
- Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter (1970) [►]
- Leo Sayer – The Show Must Go On (1973) [►]
- Three Dog Night – The Show Must Go On (1974) [►]
- John Fogerty – Rockin' All Over the World (1975) [►]
- Wings – Venus and Mars Rock Show (1975) [►]
- Peter Frampton – Do You Feel Like We Do (1976) [►]
- Status Quo – Rockin' All Over the World (1977) [►]
- Cheap Trick – I Want You to Want Me (1979) [►]
- Da Hool – Meet Her at the Love Parade (1998) [►]
- Hans – Meet Her at the Love Parade (Club 69 Tribal Anthem) (1998) [►]
- Zombie Nation – Kernkraft 400 (Live Remix) (2000) [►]
- Sir Ivan – San Francisco (John Kano Mix) (2003) [►]
- Kygo Featuring Parson James – Stole the Show (2015) [►]
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