[av_heading heading=’Major Music Festivals in the U.S.’ tag=’h3′ color=” custom_font=” style=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’][/av_heading] [av_heading heading=’Written by: Matthew McGuire & Photos by: Nicholas Hess’ tag=’h6′ color=” custom_font=” style=” size=” subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’][/av_heading]

Pull back the curtains for our 2014 top tier list on major music festivals in the United States. We have juiced our lineup with events from all year, and for all ages.

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The ‘Music Festival Season’ for us starts in January with the musical acts that have been taking over the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. We have been working with more film based media events, as well as strictly based music events. The music element at Sundance is still in development.

Currently they provide an acoustic music café for guests, but we foresee additional musicians releasing new material around the new year with Sundance. Hit the slopes this January 22 through February 1.

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Average number in attendance
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Sundance guests had attended the event in the past
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For those that like to get wet, Jam Cruise is one of the first and premier music festivals by sea. After 13 years of setting sail in the Caribbean Sea this traveling music event has earned the top spot for legendary musical performances. This year the lineup includes: Pretty Lights, Umphrey’s McGee, The Word (featuring members of MMW, NMAS and RRFB), Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, G. Love & Special Sauce, Lettuce and many more talented acts on the go this upcoming January. Set sail this January 6-11.

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Ultra Music Festival is set to take over the southeast in just over 240 days. Break out your ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini’ cause all the young bloods are hot for EDM, and they don’t show signs of giving it up for actually music anytime soon. This festival is one of the hottest events of the spring, and will most likely be on a lot of lists for music festivals this year.

If you like to dress up in neon clothes, and listen to the beat drop, I understand, but please stop taking fake drugs in attempts to have a good time with the subpar music at the events. Be smart, and have fun at the same time.

“I thought I’d get more power with a small group backing me. It was electric but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s modernised just because it’s electric. Country music was electric too.” – Bob Dylan

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[av_dropcap1]4)[/av_dropcap1] April is the unofficial start to the season with SXSW and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The godfather of all music festivals can be seen in New Orleans. Jazz Fest is one of the pioneer festivals that inspired Coachella, Bonnaroo, Summerfest, High Sierra and Lollapalooza. It has rich music history, and rich music festival history.

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Beale Street Music Festival attendance
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New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival gross attendance
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Coachella is known as the grandstand for west coast entertainment. This year marked another two weekend monumental gathering of the best in the business. OutKast kicked off their 20th anniversary tour, as well as a kickoff for a final farewell tour from Queens of the Stone Age.

COACHELLA 2015 WEEKEND 1: APRIL 10, 11, 12
COACHELLA 2015 WEEKEND 2: APRIL 17, 18, 19

Take a look back at which events have been around the longest. The Newport Folk Festival started in 1959, and spurred the Newport Jazz Festival out of its organic roots. Soon after Newport, Jazz Fest came onto the scene in 1970.

Historians remember The Newport Folk Festival when Bob Dylan went from being an acoustic hero in 1963 and 1964 to being an electrically shifty villain in 1965. 50 years later, we are still villainizing musicians for going electric.

[av_dropcap1]5)[/av_dropcap1] Memphis in May, also known as the Beale St. Music Festival is another long running festival with years of history. We have attended the event in 2002, and was pushed to the limit with over 150,000 fans circling the larger than life festival.

May also contains two of the best festivals in the entire world: Hangout Music Festival & the Summer Camp Music Festival. Each of these festivals contain once-in-a-lifetime moments that any music fan can appreciate. After 9 times attending Summer Camp, and 2 times covering Hangout, I can say without a doubt, that if it can play in Peoria, it can play anywhere.

The Hangout Fest is located on a beautiful beach, and pretty easy to get people to come out for a party. Summer Camp on the other hand is located on a state park in the middle of Illinois. It takes a little more effort to get music festival guests to sign up for a camping event, in comparison to a city festival with hotels.

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Summer Camp Music Festival average attendance
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Hangout Fest average attendees
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Wakarusa + Bonnaroo in June

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[av_dropcap1]6)[/av_dropcap1] Wakarusa has grown to become one of the household names in the music festival industry. We started working with Wakarusa in 2006 when the event was located in Lawrence, Kansas. After some bad weather, Waka relocated to Ozark, Arkansas. The location is on top of a mountain, instead of a state park in Kansas. Nicholas Hess was able to grab some photos from the 2012 event in Arkansas.

Bonnaroo Music Festival continues to pull in world renown acts to center stage in the heart of Tennessee. The event has had some setbacks, but was still able to pull in a reported 90,000 fans this year. It will be exciting to see who the festival brings up to the What and Which Stage this upcoming June. Cause we all want to know, “where is the press?”

 

Telluride Bluegrass Festival is a long time running festival with deep roots in Colorado. The first bluegrass gathering was held in 1974 with 41 years of magical moments on stage.

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Average guests in attendance at Wakarusa
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Average attendees for Bonnaroo
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 July

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[av_dropcap1]7)[/av_dropcap1] In respect to the All Good Music Festival, we still list the event due to their long-term commitment to the festival scene. They may be temporarily gone, but they are not forgotten.

July is also packed with the Forecastle Music Festival, Electric Forest, High Sierraas well as many other large scale events. The Taste of Chicago usually begins around early July, and the All Good Music Festival’s spot.

Brian Glass, a professional photographer, returned once again for Forecastle this year with nothing but good things to say about the event. He travels the country working different events, and usually has a good taste in live music.

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Forecastle attendance: 10,000 additional guests were on hand in 2014 in comparison to 2013 with 65,000 guests
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Guests on hand this year at Electric Forest
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Summer Set, Lolla, + #NCMF in August

[av_dropcap1]8)[/av_dropcap1] Summer Set Music Festival will be in Somerset, Wisconsin once again this year with 3 days of camping and music before the school semester gets in full swing. This event gears more to the younger audience overall. Last year was my first year in attendance, and I found out early that you can have an excellent time if you plan ahead. The Float-A-Ride park right across the street still has campsites for only $75 for all three days.

Lollapalooza  takes over Chicago in the first part of August, and the North Coast Music Festival takes over the last part of the month in the windy city. These two events bring in well over a 100,000 guests. Hotels can become expensive, so it is always wise to plan ahead for travel expenses.

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Cocoa Butter Kisses in September

[av_dropcap1]9)[/av_dropcap1] Lockn’ Music Festival and LouFest take the month of September by storm. The Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco provides the party in September and the Treasure Island Festival pulls up the action in October.

Each of these festivals create a unique atmosphere for attendees. First we review the Lockn’ Festival in Arrington, Virginia this September 4-7 with bucket list performances including: The Allman Brothers, FURTHUR, Sting Cheese and the Gang, Widespread Panic with Steve Winwood and so much more. Lockn’ hits the nail of the head of music festival production. There is countless spontaneous moments to witness at Lockn’ each year. Find out what happens this year in Virginia with a crew of hall of famers.

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LouFest returns to downtown St. Louis September 6-7 with Arctic Monkeys and OutKast continuing to dominate the festival scene with headlining performances.

Blackberry Smoke and Cake will be stellar sets on Saturday to catch before Arctic Monkeys get rowdy in Forest Park. Sunday night will be another round of stunning acts including OutKast.

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Estimated guests in attendance at Lockn’ 2013
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Loufest is located on Forest Park. The grounds are most famous for hosting the 1904 World’s Fair
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 Fall Festivals

 

[av_dropcap1]10)[/av_dropcap1] Austin City Limits Music Festival is a time honored tradition in Austin. This year music acts include: Eminem, Pearl Jam, Lordé, OutKast, Beck, Foster the People, ZEDD and several additional artists on hand for two weekends of unbelievable music. Arrive early, and stay late for this festival. It is one for the bucket list.

Harvest Music Festival is located at the same spot that the Wakarusa Festival is hosted on each year. Yonder Mountain String Band hosts this annual event in Arkansas. They invite their acoustic playing friends up to the mountain for a weekend of music in the fall season.

We covered the Harvest Music Festival in 2008 with Umphrey’s McGee headlining the festival during Hurricane Ike. The band performed a bucket list set under a small tent in a hurricane for a few hundred people. It felt like we were all going to die at moments, but the band made it worth every second.

Voodoo Music Festival was at one time the leading entity of music festivals near the 2007 mark. Since 2008 the festival has taken poor steps in their decision making process to provide fans the best experience possible. After making a few bad decisions from 2010-2014, one would assume these would stop soon. We want to help Voodoo grow, so we suggest they get their late night shows out early, and put big names together with hot up-and-comers.

Bear Creek Music Festival takes guests back down to Florida for one more festival of the season. This year, Umphrey’s McGee is headlining with a hot set from Lettuce. Both bands will be on tour this summer with blockbuster beats ready to soak in during summer 2014.

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Daily attendees at ACL Festival
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Celebrate the ninth annual Harvest Music Festival
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Ticketmaster reviewers give Voodoo Fest a 4.4 out of 5
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