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Coachella illustration for 360 magazine

Your Guide to the Most Popular Music Festivals

Over 32 million people in the US attend music festivals every year and that number is only getting bigger and bigger.

Buying a ticket and heading off to the most popular music festivals is the best way to listen to your favorite bands live, discover new artists, and have a lot of fun with your friends in a beautiful location.

There’s no wonder why so many people like going to music festivals! It’s a bucket list experience for many. But choosing the right music festival could make or break your whole trip.

If you want to figure out which of the most popular music festivals in the USA best fits your music taste and vibe, we’ve put together this guide to help you. All of these festivals are some of the most popular in the country and they cover a variety of genres and tastes.

Most Popular Music Festivals in the USA

We’ve listed the top, busiest, and most popular music festivals in the USA to inspire you to attend one. They’re located all over the US so we’ve included information such as exactly where they are and what time of year they take place annually.

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Where: Manchester, Tennessee

When: Early September

Like a lot of music festivals, Bonnaroo started small and primarily booked folk-rock acts and garage bands back when it started in 2002. In just under 20 years, Bonnaroo now books some of the biggest names in rock and pop music such as Miley Cyrus and Tame Impala.

This is a music festival that offers something for everyone and it’s a great option for first-time festival-goers.

If you’re a festival newbie and are struggling with what to take to a music festival then click here.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Where: Indio, California and Coachella Valley, Colorado

When: Two weekends in April

Whether you love it or love to hate it, Coachella has become one of the music festivals to see and be seen. Tickets sell out faster every year, tonnes of celebrities attend and for those watching from the sidelines on Instagram, it can seem more like a fashion show than a live music event.

But Coachella attracts some of the best musicians in the world spanning all musical genres. It’s also responsible for some of the best musical performances of all time. Everyone remembers when Beyoncé practically renamed the festival Beychella in 2018 with her mindblowing set, right? And they will for years to come.

Stagecoach Festival

Where: Indio, California

When: Late April

Usually taking place the weekend after Coachella wraps up, Stagecoach is primarily a modern country music festival that acts as a sister event to Coachella. The kind of acts that perform live concerts at Stagecoach includes Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert, and Keith Urban.

As you can imagine, Stagecoach attracts a different kind of crowd that particularly loves country music. But it’s still a hugely popular sell-out event with 75,000 people attending in 2019.

South by Southwest (SXSW)

Where: Austin, Texas

When: March

South by Southwest is a different kind of music festival altogether in that it’s not even strictly a music festival! Part conference, film festival, and music festival, South by Southwest (or SXSW as it’s often styled) almost takes over the city of Austin with hundreds of live music and arts events.

Some of the acts that have previously performed in the music section of SXSW include Lana Del Ray, The Shins, and Lady Gaga. The musical acts tend to be a mix of current pop musicians, hip-hop, and more alternative and indie names.

Lollapalooza Chicago

Where: Grant Park, Chicago

When: Late July/Early August

If you want to attend a quintessentially American music festival that isn’t out in a desert and has a line up featuring all different musical genres, Lollapalooza is perfect.

Past acts at Lollapalooza include Chance The Rapper, Paul McCartney and Alabama Shakes.

Lollapalooza also has a strong history of activism by allowing non-profits and political speakers a platform at one of the most popular music festivals in the USA.

Burning Man

Where: Black Rock Desert, Nevada

When: Late August/Early September

Burning Man is not a festival, and any true Burner will tell you the same thing. It is a spontaneous and cultural happening where art, self-expression, and curiosity converge in the Nevada desert.

But for the sake of clarity, it’s a festival and one of the most original in the world. Though there isn’t an official line-up of events or acts, nor is there really an ‘official’ anything at Burning Man.

Burning Man takes place over one whole week (called ‘Burn Week’) and since it’s inception in the late 1980s has amassed thousands of dedicated followers. No money is exchanged at Burning Man and Burners are expected to bring their own shelter, food, and supplies. 

Those who have attended this festival (or cultural happening) usually gushes that it’s one of the best experiences of their lives. 

Hangout Music Festival

Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama

When: May

What is missing from the other most popular music festivals on this list? If your answer is “the beach” then Hangout Music Festival might be the music festival for you!

Located on the Gulf Shores in Alabama, this three-day music event is the ultimate live-music-at-the-beach experience. Past performers include Twenty One Pilots, Stevie Wonder, and Vampire Weekend. Granted, Hangout doesn’t attract the huge mega musicians but their line ups are still star-studded events.
And who needs Beyoncé when you have upbeat and catchy tunes, sand, and the sun setting in the distance?

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana

When: Late April/Early May

There’s no denying that New Orleans is one of the most vibrant, exciting cities in the world and Jazz is super important to the city’s history and music landscape.
Back in the 1970s, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was created as a showcase for local musicians but nowadays the event is so much bigger. In the past, non-jazz performers like Stevie Nicks, Lizzo, and The Who have performed at the festival so there really is something for everyone.
But at the heart, the Jazz & Heritage Festival is still about celebrating the spirit of the New Orleans people and their undeniable love of music.

There’s a Music Festival Out There for Everyone

Those are just some of the most popular music festivals, and there are heaps more out there! Music festivals aren’t simply just live music shows, but they’re exciting, fun, and often life-changing experiences.

Check out our other arts and music-related articles on our site for more inspiration and information!

Homecoming

Netflix released Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé, which presents an intimate look at her historic 2018 Coachella performance that paid homage to America’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Interspersed with candid footage and interviews detailing the preparation and powerful intent behind her vision, Homecoming gives a peek into the process and emotional physical sacrifices it took to conceptualize and execute a performance of that magnitude that became a cultural movement. This stand-alone Netflix original is now available globally on Netflix.

As the first black woman to headline Coachella, Homecoming recognizes the African American visionaries who inspired Beyoncé, including HBCU alums Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, activist Marian Wright Edelman, and scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, in addition to cultural luminaries such as Nina Simone, Maya Angelou, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Audre Lorde. Beyoncé’s personal knowledge of the relevance and celebration of HBCUs started with her father, Mathew Knowles, an alumnus of Fisk University.
Shot over eight months, the film follows the global entertainer as she returns to the stage after the birth of her twins, highlighting the comprehensive preparation involved in creating her groundbreaking performance, which included four months of band rehearsals followed by four months of dance rehearsals with over 150 musicians, dancers, and other creatives, — all of whom were hand-picked by the artist herself.
In juggling dual roles as both the director of her live performance and the film that captured the process of making it, Beyoncé says, “It was one of the hardest jobs I have taken on but I knew that I had to push myself and my team to go beyond great to legendary. We knew nothing like this was ever done on a festival level before and it needed to be iconic beyond compare. The performance was an homage to an important part of African American culture. It had to be true to those who know and entertaining and enlightening to those who needed to learn. In making the film and re-telling the story, the purpose remained the same.”
Many in the cast; band, singers, dancers and steppers are former HBCU students, immersed in the HBCU marching band tradition. They joined Beyoncé’s own group of performers, some who have toured with her for years. Viewers not only get to see the intense dance rehearsals and talent of these amazing artists, but hear their personal journey from HBCU student to artist and the lifelong impact that comes with performing alongside Beyoncé in this historic concert.
“So many people who are culturally aware and intellectually sound are graduates from historically black colleges and universities, including my father,” she says in the film. “There is something incredibly important about the HBCU experience that must be celebrated and protected.”
As a treat to her fans, the film also includes, in the end credits, her remake of “Before I Let Go” by Frankie Beverly and Maze, a 1981 R&B classic that’s commonly performed at HBCU games. The single will be available on the film’s soundtrack, Homecoming: The Live Album, available today from Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records. smarturl.it/BH9102
Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé was directed and produced by Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Longtime collaborator Ed Burke served as co-director. Steve Pamon and Erinn Williams are executive producers.
Set List

“Crazy In Love”

“Freedom”

“Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing”

“Formation”

“Sorry”/”Me, Myself and I”

“Kitty Kat”

“Bow Down”

“I Been On”

“Drunk In Love”

“Diva”

“Flawless” (Remix)

“Feeling Myself”

“Top Off”

“7/11”

“Don’t Hurt Yourself”

“I Care”

“Partition”

“Yoncé”

“Mi Gente (Remix)”

“Mine”

“Baby Boy”

“You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)”

“Hold Up”

“Countdown”

“Check On It”

“Déjà Vu”(featuring JAY-Z)

“Run the World (Girls)”

“Lose My Breath” (featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)

“Say My Name” (featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)

“Soldier” (featuring Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams)

“Get Me Bodied” (With Solange Knowles dancing)

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”

“Love On Top”

About Netflix
Netflix is the world’s leading internet entertainment service with over 148 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere, on any internet-connected screen. Members can play, pause and resume watching, all without commercials or commitments.
About Parkwood Entertainment
Parkwood Entertainment is an entertainment and management company founded by entertainer and entrepreneur, Beyoncé in 2010. With headquarters in New York City the company houses departments in music and video production, management, marketing, digital, creative, philanthropy, fashion, publicity and a record label. Under its original name, Parkwood Pictures, in 2008, the company released the film Cadillac Records (2008), in which Beyoncé starred and co-produced. The company also released the film, Obsessed (2009), with Beyoncé as star and executive producer. Parkwood Entertainment produced The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour (2013-2014) and The Formation World Tour (2016), and co-produced the ON THE RUN TOUR (2014) and ON THE RUN II (2018).

Beyoncé, netflix, Homecoming

Beyoncé’s Homecoming

Writers: Vaughn Lowery, Tara McDonough, Stella Iman Dugall

Every once in a while pop culture encounters a rip in its continuum. The latest breach comes from one of the most effervescent entertainers of all time, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles Carter, as the first Black female to headline one of the most prolific festivals since the iconic Woodstock. Introspective yet intimate, Homecoming is positioned to be one of the most immersive concert series in the history of music and streaming services. Beyoncé, the Director and Executive Producer of the film, creates a visually captivating story from the beginning to end. The documentary answers a plethora of questions, at which the infamous Beyhive has had about the historical moment.

With intermittent quick cuts of her family before, during and after the epic performance, Beyoncé gives herself permission to exhibit her vulnerability. After all, she planned to take the stage at Coachella in 2017 before she was pregnant with her twins. The tour was postponed and we fast forward to ‘Mrs. Carter’ having to deal with the aftermath of a complicated pregnancy, which ultimately ends in a c-section. Similar to friend, and professional tennis superstar, Serena Williams, Beyoncé bounced back harder than ever after her tough pregnancy. Throughout the piece she digs deep and pummels through some of the most difficult days she has ever encountered. She even speaks to her weighing 218 lbs and how she was only able to zip her costume up after months of hard work alongside of a dedicated clean/raw food diet – no meats, carbs, sugars. The director of photography expertly captured an extremely intimate and vulnerable side to the strong and flawless Queen Bey.

Inspiration

Having family members as graduates of some of the prominent HBCU (historically black colleges and universities), Beyoncé was able to tap into the most celebrated moments of their collegiate life. Her full show not only highlighted the history of these schools but also their social networks and fraternal organizations; transforming the stage into one of the most dynamic Black Southern spaces of cultural legacy and pride. Much of it was enunciated with their boot dancing, a traditional dance style for HBCU called J-Setting, in between transitions. These dance formations visually anchored the performance. Contortionists contributed an urban Cirque du Soleil vibe to the display which can be more accurately described as an infused gumbo of Chicago (the musical), Moulin Rouge! and the Off-Broadway play Stomp. To date, the pyramid stage has been persevered onsite at this year’s Coachella as an art installation.

A group of 200 people shared the stage with Queen Bey including Jay Z, Kelly Rowland, Michelle Williams and Solange Knowles. The expansive crew that Beyonce worked and practiced with for 8 months is featured in the documentary, as each individual had their own part in making the event a success. The dancing in her set is not technical, but emotional. The crowd, as well as audiences watching the documentary at home, are meant to feel something from just the way Beyoncé and her dancers, who she handpicked herself, move with each other. The concert experience not only exhibits the immense talent of HBCU musicians but works towards using this heightened exposure to aid these institutions that have been struggling with little resources and grants since their establishment.

After the the release of Homecoming, Netflix will more than likely notice a spike in downloads/subscriptions; Beyonce will notice an increase in her fan base and HBCU enrollment rates will most likely skyrocket. Overall, most audience members will be thrashed into a world of black honor, history and preservation. While the Pew Report notes that there is a varying “black/white digital divide” concerning internet usage, (87% whites, 80% blacks), there is little divide when it comes to mobile platforms. The growth of black presence in media, such as on social media, in streaming services and more, will only continue due to the imminent success of Beyoncé’s partnership with Netflix. Her myriad of success as a dominant Black woman breaks down barriers in the same way Jordan Peele has done for young Black filmmakers across the diaspora. This will become one of the most treasured pieces of mass media and should offer encouragement to both women and minorities to bust through the glass ceiling on all fronts especially digitization and technology.

Beyoncé, Netflix, Homecoming

Illustrator: Alejandra Villagra

Shop Beyoncé

OTR II

By Vaughn Lowery

Last night concluded the Los Angeles leg of OTRII tour, featuring Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

DJ Khaled opened up for the Carters alongside of special guests – Tyga, Tank, YG and Ella Mai. With thousands of screaming fans, Bey and her husband transformed the Rose Bowl into an iconic night to commemorate. Massive LED screens, scores of dancers coupled with pyrotechnics and a state-of-the-art sound system commanded one of the most powerful performances of our lifetime. No wonder the show (earlier this year) has been decorated by both Michelle and Barack Obama’s presence as well as the Kardashians and Oprah. ‘Apeshit‘ off of their latest collaboration Everything is Love was a crowd favorite as Bey spits some serious bars with her epic flow which rivals some of today’s top lyricists.

With less than 8 shows left, you may want to consider making arrangements to see this landmark presentation at on of its last stops.

If anything to witness the bright smiles of 11 high school students who will receive one $100,000 scholarships (per city) from both the BeyGOOD and Shawn Carter foundations.

Remaining OTR II tour dates.

Beyoncé, Jay-Z, 360 magazine

Beyoncé, 360 magazine

Beyoncé, 360 magazine

*Photos courtesy of Frank Micellotta

BMW × COACHELLA

THE MOST EXHILARATING ROAD TO COACHELLA.

When music and innovation meet, incredible things happen. See for yourself in our latest collaboration with the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival.

For this year’s #roadtocoachella we unveiled a unique Coachella design for our BMW i8 Roadster, created by Portugal. The Man lead singer John Gourley. Take a look at this exciting reimagination of the BMW i8 Roadster.

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