When the world shut down and everything seemed far too uncertain, the public’s attention towards music and the arts halted for a moment. Rightfully so, the implications of the pandemic acted upon its own set of priorities. As time passed while frontline and healthcare workers exhausted every inch of strength to restore their respective societies, the question on the return of the arts became one of importance. Finally, after a painfully long year-and-a-half, music festivals are back wherever safe to do so. With the vaccine rollout rapidly progressing in the United States, people are ready to hit the festival scene with an undeniable longing exacerbated by the pressures and stress the pandemic produced. So, let’s get a rundown of some of the most exciting festivals happening this year along with the main attractions they have to offer.
Lollapalooza (July 29 – August 1)
The Windy City has always been famed for its eccentric and bold festival, showcasing over 170 bands from around the world within 8 different stages. Not one to miss, you’ll be sure to get a taste of all the incredible music that’s been patiently waiting to be performed over the last year – live and direct!
Headliners: Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler The Creator, Miley Cyrus, DaBaby, Rico Nasty, BROCKHAMPTON, Playboi Carti, Band of Horses, Young Thug, Modest Mouse, and MORE.
Where: Grant Park in Chicago
Beyond Wonderland (August 27 – 28)
Presented by Insomniac, Beyond Wonderland is an adventurous and fantastical journey within art. As described by their team: “When day breaks in Wonderland, a curious cast of characters emerges, and fantastical animals of all shapes and sizes run wild. In this place beyond our imaginations, colors shine brighter, smiles are wider, and the secrets of Wonderland come to light”. With pyrotechnics that prove the feat of technology, combined with multidimensional environments that showcase the power of art, everyone is grooving to the same universal rhythm underlined by the loving community that surrounds it all. Beyond Wonderland is magical, ideal for a drifting journey away from the world for just a few moments.
Headliners: Alison Wonderland, Tiësto, Dillon Francis, KSHMR, Good Times Ahead, Ghastly, Mija, Paul Oakenfold, Virtual Riot
Where: Southern California
Bonnaroo (September 2 – 5)
Featuring a diverse lineup of over 150 musicians, Bonnaroo’s multiple stages and campground barns will ensure that no one, at any point in the 24-hour day, will feel bored. With a lineup that’s sure to tackle any and all genres one would want to hear at a festival, Bonnaroo will be sure to provide an eclectic musical and live experience akin to none.
Headliners: Foo Fighters, Lizzo, Tyler the Creator, Tame Impala, Megan Thee Stallion, Lana Del Rey, Lil Baby, G-Eazy, Janelle Monae, Run The Jewels, Phoebe Bridgers, and MORE.
Where: Manchester, Tennesee
EDC Las Vegas (October 22 – 24)
Celebrating 25 years under the ‘electric sky’, EDC are preparing for the launch of their ticket sale for a long-awaited return. After postponing last year, people just couldn’t wait to come back to celebrate life, love, music, and the arts. Attendees are encouraged to explore, interact, wander, and connect with everything around them; the imagination from both the production and earned experience is what fuels the spirit of EDC. Electronic music sees one of its yearly pilgrimages to Las Vegas in the Fall, and it isn’t one to miss.
Headliners: ZEDD, Martin Garrix, Alesso, 3LAU, Knife Party, Alison Wonderland, Don Diablo, Excision, Jauz.
III Points (October 22 – 23)
With the many immersive and interactive art installations to the eclectic sounds and stage designs, guests will get a true taste of what III points is all about. A smashing headline paralleled with cutting-edge audiovisual environments create the perfect recipe for a fully captivating and memorable experience. From famed legends like The Strokes all the way to leaders of the underground electronic movement such as KAYTRANADA, the festival is jam-packed with all the ingredients needed for an unforgettable escape from reality.
Headliners: The Strokes, Wu-Tang Clan, Rüfüs Du Sol, Eric Prydz, Jamie xx, KAYTRANADA, ZHU, Black Coffee, Peggy Gou
Where: Mana Wynwood, Miami
Lost Lands (September 24 – 26)
Imagine 3 days in the midst of a wild, dinosaur-themed festival where the bold and brutal DJs and artists look to produce some of the heaviest sets our earthly grounds could take. Presented by Excision at beautiful Legend Valley in Thornville, OH, Lost Lands is simply bass-galore. For those looking to get their necks cracked (figuratively, we’d hope) after a 3-day headbanging retreat, one can’t imagine a more cathartic environment than that of Lost Lands. Experience the capabilities of bass music at its finest and camp in the wilderness of Ohio underlined by 65 million years of history.
Where: Legend Valley, Thornville, OH
Headliners: Excision, Illenium, Kompany, 12th Planet, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Said The Sky, Mastadon, Ekali, Eprom, Midnight Tyrranosaurus, NGHTMRE, and MORE
HARD Summer (July 31st – August 1st)
Combine the spearheads of the trap movement with leaders of the bass music scene and you get HARD Summer. As the name clearly suggests, this festival is filled with artists capable of turning any crowd into a mosh pit, lighting up the scenes with an environment so full of energy that you’d be glad it’s only a 2-day festival.
Where: Southern California
Headliners: Future, KAYTRANADA, Don Toliver, DJ Snake, RL GRIME, Baauer, Jauz, Iann Dior, SAYMYNAME
The Governors Ball (September 24 – 26)
Imagine Spotify’s global charts, jot down a list and put it on a sheet of paper. This is what Gov Ball’s lineup looks like. For their 10th anniversary, New York is prepared to present only the best of what popular music has to offer. As tickets for the events sell fast, Gov Ball would be a festival worth ensuring a place. Dancing to the tunes of our day in the mesmerizing environment at the heart of New York City is enough to convince anyone who calls themselves Pop music connoisseurs. From leading rap stars to indie icons all the way to Afrobeat legends like Burna Boy, Gov Ball is sure to offer a musical immersion that has no limits; genre is not of a concern here. If people love the music and the respective artists, and we mean lots of people, then they’ll be in New York performing.
Headliners: Billie Eilish, 21 Savage, A$AP Rocky, J Balvin, Burna Boy, Post Malone, Jamie xx, Aminé, Leon Bridges, Chiiild, Da Baby, 24kGoldn, Portugal. The Man, Phoebe Bridgers, and MORE.
Where: Citi Field, NYC
Creamfields (August 26 – 29)
Creamfields is an electronic music fan’s haven; it is impossible to navigate through the scene without hearing of the festival at every corner. A 3-day party, guests are prepared to groove through each day and night to the wondrous rhythms of techno, house, acid, and all the underground goodness that dance music has to offer. If an artist in the aforementioned scenes wants to be somewhere, it’s to perform at Creamfields. There’s no doubt in the prowess of the lineup, and Cinch – the festival’s new partner – have ensured a smashing lineup for the event of the summer! Even though tickets have quickly been sold out, as they do each year, trusted resellers have some available to the truly willing rave-goers.
Headliners: Carl Cox, Alesso, Above & Beyond, deadmau5, Enrico Sangiulano, Camelphat, Bicep, Charlotte de Witte, Martin Garrix, Tiësto, and MORE.
Where: Daresbury Estate, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Reading Festival (August 27 – 29)
One of the UK’s most historic festivals returns for another year. Having debuted its showcase in 1989, Reading Fest continues to offer the absolute best talent in all sectors of the music industry. There’s a reason Reading has consistently been considered as one of the most popular festivals in the country. This summer, they’re ready to show us why. With headliners such as Stormzy, AJ Tracey, and Post Malone, it is no surprise that GA tickets have already been sold out. Kudos to the lucky few.
Headliners: Stormzy, AJ Tracey, Two Door Cinema Club, Post Malone, Jack Harlow, Disclosure, slowthai, The Kid Laroi, and MORE.
Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading, UK
Tickets: https://www.readingfestival.com/tickets (Seek Trusted Resellers)
Honourable Mention: Lost Paradise (DEC 28 2021 – JAN 1 2022)
Throughout the pandemic, Australia has been notorious for maintaining strict and superiorly effective measures that have seen the nation relatively stable. This came with postponements and cancellations as necessary precautions – one of them being a hugely popular ‘Lost Paradise’ set to take place in Glenworth Valley, New South Wales. Lost Paradise sets out to create a multi-colourful world, where the valley in the far continent comes to life with magical costumes and immersive audiovisual experiences. With a key focus on sustainability, the organization has partnered with NGOs such as Green Connect to ensure no trash is left behind alongside a minimized usage of plastic within the grounds. Attendees are encouraged to be mindful of their surroundings and inner self, allowing for an environment that’s just blissful to connect with one another. While the lineup has not been finalized for the upcoming festival, history suggests a festival is coming up that’s not to be missed.
Where: Glenworth Valley, New South Wales, Australia
Don’t forget to check out Canada’s Top Music Festivals.