Hottest music festivals this year

With spring approaching, it’s time to start thinking toastier thoughts. Imagine putting on your jean shorts and flip flops and listening to killer bands playing at festivals across the country. Then stop imagining and take your pick, because there will be plenty to choose from. 

1. Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival

 (Coachella)

Indio, Calif.
April 15-17 and April 22-24
Headliners: Guns N' Roses, LCD Soundsystem, Calvin Harris
www.coachella.com

Since 1999, this desert fest has wowed the crowds. Most people go for the music, of course, but there’s way more to Coachella than that. Fashion has become a big part of this gathering, and you’ll find pop-up boutiques and fashion shows. Beyond that, you can chow down at the food trucks and join in a dance party or a game of dodgeball. They’ve even had spelling bees in the past. 

2. Hangout Music Festival

 (Hangout)

Gulf Shores, Ala.
May 20-22
Headliners: The Weeknd, Florence and the Machine, Alabama Shakes, Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding,
www.hangoutmusicfest.com

Dig your toes into the white powder sands of the Gulf Shore (just a few hours by car from Tallahassee and New Orleans) and join more than 40,000 people at this popular gathering. This fest began in 2010 and has been gaining in popularity ever since.

3. Firefly Music Festival

 (Danilo Lewis)

Dover, Del.
June 16-19
Headliners: Mumford & Sons, Kings of Leon, Florence and The Machine, Deadmau5, Ellie Goulding, Disclosure, Blink-182, Death Cab for Cutie, Of Monsters.
FireflyFestival.com

More than 90,000 people flocked to Firefly last year. The forest backdrop is appealing and – get this –not only are there lanterns all around at night, but there are actual fireflies. That and the old-school arcade games will make you feel like a kid again.

 (Adam Macchia for Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival)

4. Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival

Manchester, Tenn.
June 9-12
Headliners: Pearl Jam, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Jason Isbell, Leon Bridges, Ellie Goulding.
www.bonnaroo.com

 (Electric Forest, Alive Coverage)

Some say this fan favorite in the Tennessee countryside is the best festival in North America. You’ll find things you wouldn’t expect, like early-morning yoga sessions and four-course meals, along with things you would expect, like amazing music and fun-loving people.

5. Electric Forest Festival

 (Willie McLean, Forecastle)

Rothbury, Mich.
June 23-26
Headliners: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Major Lazer, Fetty Wap, Duke Dumont, Flosstradamus.
www.electricforestfestival.com

Head to the Double JJ Ranch for a music/camping adventure. This electronic music festival in Manistee National Forest is gaining steam. You can sleep under tree canopies and dance to your heart’s content.

 (Roger Gupta)

6. Forecastle

Louisville, Ky.
July 15-17
Headliners: The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, Death Cab for Cutie, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
forecastlefest.com
 

Just a neighborhood event in 2002, Forecastle now draws tens of thousands of fans from across the world to the picturesque 85-acre Waterfront Park. Beyond the music, you’ll find art, activism, Kentucky cuisine and, of course, bourbon.

7. Floydfest

Floyd, Va.
July 27-31
Headliners: Gregg Allman, Warren Haynes’ Ashes & Dust, Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers, Leftover Salmon.
www.floydfest.com

Five days filled with music, plus outdoor adventure, brews and activities for kids. Set aside some time to go hiking and tubing down the nearby river.