Music is the rhythm of life, binding us together and breaking boundaries of religion, language, and social status. Often the shortest way to a person's heart, it ignites the soul and unleashes indisputable energy that has the power to play with our most intimate of emotions. That's why music festivals the world over are an occasion for people to rejoice and groove to sounds and lyrics that resonate with us at a much higher level. Packed with a sense of belonging, euphoria, and companionship, some of the most famous music festivals take place throughout America, featuring a mix of popular as well as up-and-coming talent, with plenty of reasons to warrant taking a trip for one of them.
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5 Incredible Music Festivals in the US You Should Attend
A nine-day extravaganza, Burning Man, has a lot more going on than just music. Held annually in the Black Rock Desert, Burning Man epitomizes eccentricity with its amalgamation of art, music, and fashion, in a vast dystopian-like setting. The event takes place in August and September at the "temporary city" of Black Lake situated about 100 miles from Reno, Nevada. The entire experience emphasizes community participation and follows a new theme each year.
While the most popular mode of transport during the festival is bicycles, mutant automobiles, as seen in the movie Mad Max, are a massive draw at Burning Man. Very much like the ambiance at the Burning Man, the music here is equally eclectic. Trance, house, techno, and EDM are popular choices, but there's also openness towards more classical forms of music such as jazz and instrumental. As for celebrities and musicians to have made an appearance at the Burning Man, there's Paris Hilton, Heidi Klum, DJ Simi and Haze, Diplo and Flume, Matt Bellamy and Katy Perry to name a few.
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Music has this strange power over us, hear a song after decades, and it'll instantly transform you back to the time you first heard it. When it comes to music festivals, Coachella has a similar effect. No one forgets their first Coachella be it for the music that flows in every corner of the festival, the celebrity spotting, or the hippy, flower power vibe that has become a trademark of sorts associated with the event. Held annually during April, this ten-day mega celebration takes place in California's Colorado Desert. Started in 1999, it's gained popularity over the years for having a diverse mix of performers and attracting music lovers from all demographics.
Moreover, unlike many music festivals, Coachella is ideal for families and has lately attracted more of a millennial crowd. As one of the largest and most successful music festivals in the world, Coachella has welcomed over 250,000 music enthusiasts over the past couple of years. EDM, rock, pop, dance, and hip hop are typically the front-lining genres at Coachella, where both established and new artists perform regularly.
Past performances at the Coachella include Beyoncé, Eminem, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Justin Timberlake, Ice Cube, and Guns 'n' Roses. The influence of Coachella is so significant that it has become a catapult to promote politicians, movies, new music releases, and commercial brands. The festival also focuses on art and has multiple installations throughout the grounds highlighting some genuinely unique artistic creations.
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Hosted in Chicago, Illinois, Lollapalooza takes place over four days and comprises of a distinct set of performers. The iconic music festival is primarily known for alternative, rock, hip hop, and heavy metal. The nature of the festival is such that it has toured across the world with events being held in faraway countries like France, Israel, Germany, Argentina, and Sweden. However, the main event takes place at Grant Park in Chicago every year in July-August.
Although music is the prime focus of the festival, it does substitute as a chic business and entertainment venue with Lollapalooza's VIP and Premium experience being a favorite with industry hotshots. It's also possible to rent cabanas overlooking various performance stages that come with golf cart transport as well and food and drink service.
A typical Lollapalooza festival features as many as 170 performers. Childish Gambino, The Chainsmokers, Muse, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Nine Inch Nails, and Ellie Goulding are some of the famous artists to have previously performed at Lollapalooza.
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With close to a million visitors attending Summerfest every year, it is undoubtedly the "World's Largest Music Festival." Held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the festival spreads over eleven days in June-July and features a colossal 800 bands who perform on multiple stage setups. Summerfest's location next to Lake Michigan gives it an unmatched aura that adds to the charm of this melodic spectacle. In addition to being the premier music event of the country, Summerfest also shines a spotlight on the local arts and craft, and food scene. Stalls selling bespoke handicraft items and the most delicious of comfort foods are standard, creating a fair-like atmosphere enjoyed by all ages.
Among the many individual happenings during the festival, The Big Bang is the most eagerly awaited. An opening night fireworks display, it sets the mood for what is a magical extravaganza that never fails to surprise. Featuring legendary performers such as The Rolling Stones, Steve Wonder, Aerosmith, Bruno Mars, Selena Gomez, and Lady Gaga, Summerfest continues to attract all types of music lovers who descend upon the venue, year after year, from faraway corners of the world.
Electric Daisy Carnival
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The ever-increasing popularity of Electronic Dance Music is evident from the outstanding success of the Electric Daisy Carnival held in Las Vegas every May. While the festival has spread its wings over the years to hold additional events across the world, the one at Las Vegas Motor Speedway continues to attract the highest number of participants. Over time, EDC has expanded its boundaries by including a camping experience, adding multiple stages, and other fun excursions like Ferris wheels and rides.
Although EDC caters explicitly to electronic music, it dives a lot deeper into its many sub-genres inviting artists to showcase their music to nearly half a million visitors. Top DJs and singers have taken the stage at EDC over the years to share their music while creating a fun party atmosphere supported by an enthusiastic audience seen wearing glow-in-the-dark clothing and accessories that coordinate well with the entire set up of the event. Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Lady Faith, Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, and Van Burren are some of the hundreds of artists who to have had memorable concerts at the EDC.
Music festivals in America are more than just a destination. They are an escape from the harshness of everyday life, an opportunity to meet like-minded people, and best of all, let loose and surrender to the beats that have a mystic power of moving our mind, body, and soul. These incredible festivals make for a memorable trip you'll never forget.