Entertainment

10 New Music Festivals to Put on Your Radar

A Gorillaz-Curated Festival Here, a Hadid-Approved Bahamas Escape There

By Ilana Dadras
Well, here we are again, steadily approaching everyone’s favorite not-really-a-season season: yes, the time for nonstop music festivals is upon us.

And while we trust you’ve already got Coachella, Outside Lands and other tried-and-true favorites locked down, we thought we’d steer your focus toward some of the newcomers in the festival world.

So here are 10 of the best first-year fests we’ve come across: from a Gorillaz-curated-and-headlined event in England to a medieval-themed festival for dance and hip-hop lovers to a long weekend of comedy, gaming and tech where Weezer and Animal Collective also happen to be playing.

So... something for everyone?

When We Were Young, April 8-9
Where: Orange County, CA
What You Want: Something to quell your ’90s nostalgia.
Why This Works: Well, they’ve got a host of ’90s-era punk and emo bands like AFI, Taking Back Sunday and Alkaline Trio playing. Oh, and Morrissey will be headlining, for good measure.


Fyre Festival, April 28-30, May 5-7
Where: Exuma, Bahamas
What You Want: Something incredibly diverse... that’s got both Bella Hadid and Emily Ratajkowski’s respective stamps of approval.
Why This Works: It’s an uninhibited island in the Bahamas with acts like Major Lazer, Blink 182 and Migos, and a more intimate stage with electronic names like Lee Burridge and Bedouin. Talk about variety.


Fortress Festival, April 29-30
Where: Fort Worth, TX
What You Want: A solid selection of hip-hop, indie and electronic in a city you’re always saying you wouldn’t mind checking out.
Why This Works: It’s where you’ll find Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus and Purity Ring in venues across Fort Worth’s cultural district. You’ll find they make good use of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s reflection pond. Which is worth checking out in the day, and more so when your favorite bands’ light shows are lighting it up.

Middlelands, May 5-7
Where: Todd Mission, TX
What You Want: Something Middle Ages–themed... for some reason.
Why This Works: Because it’s a campout festival headlined by Bassnectar and Kaskade, with a strong medieval theme evident in rides, costumes and also the fact that the teaser video stars Game of Thrones’ Hodor. Pack only your finest sheepskin cloaks.

Upstream Music Fest + Summit, May 11-13
Where: Seattle, WA
What You Want: Something like SXSW, but maybe a little more low-key.
Why This Works: Picture a festival organized by Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen with performances by Flying Lotus and AlunaGeorge—and keynote speakers including Macklemore and Quincy Jones. Oh, look. You’re picturing this.


Elements Lakewood Camping Festival, May 26-28
Where: Lakewood, PA
What You Want: Something that started as a Brooklyn rave, turned into a bigger Brooklyn rave and then fully blossomed into a three-day campout... but absolutely not in Brooklyn.
Why This Works: It’s the first camping installment of Elements—and you’ll find there’s no shortage of things to dance to (Claptone, Claude VonStroke, Baauer...).

Demon Dayz, June 10
Where: Kent, England
What You Want: A little mystery.
Why This Works: For one, it’s a daylong event curated and headlined by the Gorillaz, set in a seaside English town. For another... well, that’s all we know for now. Still, you’ll probably want to cop tickets sooner than later.

Arroyo Seco Weekend, June 24-25
Where: Pasadena, CA
What You Want: Some good old-fashioned rock and roll...
Why This Works: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, the Alabama Shakes and more will be spread across three stages with some of LA’s most celebrated chefs on hand to feed you.

ID10T Music Festival + Comic Conival, June 24-25
Where: Silicon Valley, CA
What You Want: Comics, comedy, gaming and something to dance to. Like, say, Girl Talk and OK Go.
Why This Works: They’ll have all that, and it’s right in the middle of Silicon Valley. Because of course it is.

Travelers’ Rest, August 12-13
Where: Missoula, MT
What You Want: A whole lot of good folk and indie.
Why This Works: It’s a lineup curated by the Decemberists, with bands like Belle and Sebastian, the Head and the Heart and Shakey Graves. There are a lot more acts to be announced, but you can rest assured of their taste.

Ilana Dadras cannot discern between situations in which sarcasm is and is not appropriate. Her favorite things include mezcal cocktails, Big Sur and writing about herself in the third person.

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