With each passing year, new music festivals pop up at a rapid pace. Picking the right one for you and your crew can be an arduous task, so this year, we put in the work for you. Although two of these fests have recently passed, they’re so essential that this list would be incomplete without them. Consider it a pro-tip for 2017 and motivation to get planning on those late summer opportunities!
Sasquatch!, George, WA, May 27–30
Rightfully hailed as one of the most beautiful venues in the world, George, Washington’s Gorge Amphitheater beckons festival goers on its own accord. Paired with the carefully curated lineup of the annual Sasquatch! Festival, which nods heavily to its Pacific Northwest roots, Memorial Day weekend at the secluded venue is one not to miss.
Though the main stage, situated just above the Columbia River, is the highlight of this four day camping event, be sure to catch up-and-comers at one of the side stages, each aptly named in the festival’s theme: El Chupacabra, Bigfoot, and Yeti. Check out the record store selling artists’ vinyl, enjoy sunset-painted skies, and crack a beer or two with your camping neighbors — you never know what lifelong friends you’ll collect at this PNW oasis.
Firefly Festival, Dover, DE, June 16–19
Nestled in the lush greenery of Delaware’s capital city, Firefly pulls out all the stops to create a an immersive experience in delight. Wine fanatics, craft beer lovers, hammock loungers, and arcade buffs alike all have something to look forward to inside the festival grounds. Want to spend some time lounging at the campsite? No problem. Daily yoga sessions, “Headphone Disco” dance parties, and late-night after hours DJ sets all occur outside festival borders.
Electric Forest, Rothbury, MI, June 23–26
Festival-heads are keenly aware of EDC — the massive Las Vegas dance music festival hosted by famed promoter, Insomniac — but next on their radar is Insomniac’s slightly pared-down offering in Rothbury, Michigan: Electric Forest. Well, if your definition of “pared down” is dancing beside intensely crafted temporary structures, LED installations strung in the trees, seriously breathtaking art installations, and hundreds of costumed performers roaming the grounds, refusing to break character. With about a dozen camping options ranging from standard tent fare to glamping your heart out, there’s something for everyone at Electric Forest.
Pitchfork, Chicago, IL July 15-17
Smack dab in the middle of Chicago at Union Square Park, Pitchfork regularly curates a weekend of the latest indie darlings across genres and sub-grenres. It’s a purists scene, where the main attraction is the music itself, though you’ll also find a splendid selection of crafts, books, music posters, and vinyl for sale. This year the festival is partnering with the Public Action Foundation to help register voters.
Pemberton, Pemberton, BC, July 14–17
Sometimes credited as Canada’s answer to Coachella, Pemberton boasts an eclectic lineup of hip hop, EDM, indie rock and everything between. Trade dry desert for the lustrous mountains of Mount Currie, add a giant, adult-sized ball pit plus an extensive comedy lineup, and you end up with the best festival north of the border. Given Turo’s recent launch in neighboring Alberta, there’s no excuse not to pack your friends and tents in a van and take off for this forest-set gem of an adventure.
Treasure Island, San Francisco, CA, Oct 16-17
Okay – October is definitely not summer, but who can resist stretching out festival season just one more month. While Outside Lands is San Francisco’s definitive landmark music festival, another, younger fest is nipping at its heels.
Treasure Island sits a bridge-length away from the Embarcadero shore — supplying the most majestic view of San Francisco’s city skyline you can find. The view is worth the trek alone, but Treasure Island Music Festival’s main allure is its simplicity and laid-back vibe. No need to worry about the torture of overlapping performances, TIMF’s set times are staggered, giving attendees a chance to catch every act on the lineup.
It isn’t summer until you’ve watched more than your fair share of headliners electrify one stage. So gather your buddies and don’t let these music festivals pass you by!