Travel

The Best Music Festivals Happening in the U.S. This Summer

Grab your crew and get dancing.

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands
Photo courtesy of Outside Lands
Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

Music festivals and summer have gone hand in hand since the 1960s. The only thing that’s changed in 2023 is that there are more incredible music festivals than ever. These events create the soundtrack to your summer, with the heat, sun, and sounds of some of your favorite artists all coming together to make memories you’ll never forget. The festivals are filled with music, art installations, food experiences, and-in one case-even a mini water park. What more could you ask for?

So grab your crew or your significant other and get ready to join the crowd at some of the best summer music festivals happening in the US this year. Find one close to you, grab your tickets (like now) and get ready to make memories. And don’t forget to stay hydrated through it all.

Erika Goldring/WireImage/Getty Images
Erika Goldring/WireImage/Getty Images
Erika Goldring/WireImage/Getty Images

Essence Festival of Culture

Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
When: Thursday, June 29 – Monday, July 3
The lowdown: Essence Festival of Culture is where the pages of Essence Magazine come to life. Panels, seminars, networking, and-of course-music come together to create the festival that has been dubbed “The Party with a Purpose.” Essence Magazine has been in the lives and homes of Black folks for decades, and this festival has been a staple in the community since 1995, with some of the biggest musical acts coming out to make each celebration more memorable than the last.
The lineup: Performers include Missy Elliott, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Megan Thee Stallion, Jill Scott, Gucci Mane, Wizkid, Muni Long, Kid Capri, Ice Cube, and more.
The cost: Three-day passes start at $214.50 per person. Buy yours here.

Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

Where: Chicago, Illinois
When: Thursday, August 3 – Sunday, August 6
The lowdown: This four-day music festival turns Chicago’s Grant Park into a massive concert venue with over 150 performers. It’s been a mainstay in the city since 2006, and the festivities don’t end when the last performers hit the stage each evening. Every year there are hundreds of after-parties and pop-up shows where the artists give intimate performances or just dance into the night with their fans,
The lineup: Performers include Billie Eilish, Kendrick Lamar, the 1975, Lana Del Rey, Diplo, Yung Gravy, Carly Rae Jepson, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sylvan Esso, Kidd Kenn, and others.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $130 per person. Four-day passes start at $380 per person. Buy yours here.

The Governors Ball Music Festival
The Governors Ball Music Festival
The Governors Ball Music Festival

Governors Ball

Where: Queens, NYC
When: Friday, June 9 – Sunday, June 11
The lowdown: For the first time, this infamous New York City festival is in its new home at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park-if you’re a 90’s kid you might remember it from Men in Black. What started out as a one-day festival on Governors Island has evolved into a blend of music and food festival. Every year NYC’s top restaurants are in attendance with some of the most delish food the city has to offer and this year is no exception.
The lineup: Performers include Lizzo, Kendrick Lamar, Haim, Odesza, Diplo, Lil Nas X, Rina Sawayama, Phony Ppl, 070 Shake, Saba, and more.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $139 per person. Three-day passes start at $329 per person. Buy yours here.

Photo by Taylor Regulski, courtesy of Bonnaroo
Photo by Taylor Regulski, courtesy of Bonnaroo
Photo by Taylor Regulski, courtesy of Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo

Where: Manchester, Tennessee
When: Thursday, June 15 – Sunday, June 18
The lowdown: A music and arts festival centered around sustainability, wellness, and friendship, Bonnaroo is truly a festival for all. There are parades, yoga classes, a market to shop for crafts, and a huge water slide to escape the heat. Another great side of the festival is “Soberoo”, where sober festival goers who dig the music and vibes can connect, hang out and even attend meetings during the festival.
The lineup: Performers include Zeds Dead, Kendrick Lamar, Odesza, Liquid Stranger, the Foo Fighters, Three 6 Mafia, Lil Nas X, Korn, Sheryl Crow, Paramore, Franz Ferdinand, Big Freedia, AFI, Portugal. The Man, and more.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $175 per person. Four-day passes start at $360 per person. Buy yours here.

Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Music Festival
Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork

Where: Chicago, Illinois
When: Friday, July 21 – Sunday, July 23
The lowdown: A festival with a focus on alt-rock, hip-hop, and electro pop that’s held in Chicago’s Union Park, this is where a lot of indie artists come to shine. Surrounded by Chicago eats and treats, and easily accessible by the famous Chicago El train, it’s the perfect event to launch your summer festival season.
The lineup: Performers include the Smile, Leikeli47, King Krule, Yaya Bey, Bon Iver, Kelala, Koffee, Sen Morimoto, Ariel Zetina, Perfume Genius, Weyes Blood, and others.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $115 per person. Three-day passes start at $239 per person. Buy yours here.

Photo courtesy of Outside Lands
Photo courtesy of Outside Lands
Photo courtesy of Outside Lands

Outside Lands

Where: San Francisco, California
When: Friday, August 11 – Sunday, August 13
The lowdown: In its 15th year, this festival is held at an iconic location-San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park-and boasts one of the best summer food experiences you could have. Over 90 Bay area restaurants complement the music and help you keep your energy up throughout the three-day festival. Add in the wine from surrounding California wineries and you have one of the best festivals of the summer.
The lineup: Performers include Janelle Monáe, Kendrick Lamar, Raveena, Nala, the Foo Fighters, Orville Peck, Trixie Mattel, Odesza, Orion Sun, Megan Thee Stallion, Mild Minds, Pretty Sick, Maggie Rogers, and many more!
The cost: Single-day passes start at $199 per person. Three-day passes start at $449 per person. Buy yours here.

Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Rich Fury/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Rolling Loud Miami

Where: Miami, Florida
When: Friday, July 21 – Sunday, July 23
The lowdown: It’s a hip-hop lover’s dream in one of the hottest places in the states. Every year thousands of hip-hop heads head over to Miami to discover new faves and get loud with their old ones. This year, Rolling Loud has expanded to include festivals in California in March and the Netherlands, Germany, and Portugal later this summer. Hit them all to win at festival bingo, but if you’re looking to stay stateside and catch some vibes then Miami is where it’s at.
The lineup: Performers include Playboy Carti, A$ap Rocky, Travis Scott, Glorilla, Ice Spice, Chief Keef, Sheck Wes, Snow Banks, City Girls, Offset, Coi Leray, Latto, Maiya the Don, Dej Loaf, and more.
The cost: Three-day passes start at $329 per person. Buy yours here.

Made In America
Made In America
Made In America

Made in America

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Saturday, September 2 – Sunday, September 3
The lowdown: Founded by Jay-Z in 2012 at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philly, the festival has become a Labor Day Weekend staple. It’s the perfect festival to close out your summer before the weather starts to turn cold. This year’s line-up has yet to be announced, but it’s best to get on your tickets now as last year’s headliners included Bad Bunny and Tyler, The Creator, and acts like Jazmine Sullivan, Kodak Black and Burna Boy were on the bill too.
The lineup: Headliners haven’t been announced yet but early bird tickets are on sale.
The cost: Early bird two-day passes start at $150 per person. Buy yours here.

Courtesy of BACARDÍ
Courtesy of BACARDÍ
Courtesy of BACARDÍ

You live for music festivals, and so does BACARDÍ – the beat, the fire ‘fits, that endless summer feeling. Casa BACARDÍ is back this festival season with all the tropical vibes, iconic cocktails, and live music that your heart could desire. Whether you’re the classic mojito type or adventurous enough to try something sweet and spicy, they’ve got you covered. So #DoWhatMovesYou and explore BACARDÍ’s 2023 festival lineup.

broccolicity
broccolicity
broccolicity

Broccoli City

Where: Washington, DC
When: Saturday, July 15 – Sunday, July 16
The lowdown: A Black-owned and founded music festival with the goal to highlight culture and progress in the Black community, Broccoli City is one of DC’s most popular music festivals and always includes homegrown big names and indie artists on the rise. Now in its 10th year, this is definitely one of the top music festivals of the year.
The lineup: Performers include Jazmine Sullivan, Brent Faiyaz, Tre’ Amani, Saucy Santana, Ice Spice, Glorilla, Lil Uzi Vert, Kodak Black, and more.
The cost: Two-day passes start at $189.50 per person. Buy yours here.

Summerfest
Summerfest
Summerfest

Summerfest

Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
When: Thursday, June 22 – Saturday, June 24; Thursday, June 29 – Saturday, July 1; and Thursday, July 6 – Saturday, July 8
The lowdown: Now in its 55th year, the world’s largest music festival has been drawing crowds to the shores of Lake Michigan since the late ‘60s. This year, hundreds of musicians will perform on the event’s 12 stages, representing genres from pop, to rock, to reggae.
The lineup: Performers include Eric Church, Elle King, Dave Matthews Band, Trippie Redd, Imagine Dragons, Yung Gravy, Cypress Hill, the Pretty Reckless, Coi Leray, Tegan and Sara, Rayven, and more.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $26 per person. Nine-day passes start at $130 per person. Buy yours here.

Photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful Festival
Photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful Festival
Photo courtesy of Life is Beautiful Festival

Life is Beautiful Festival

Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
When: Friday, September 22 – Sunday, September 24
The lowdown: A festival dedicated to all things beautiful, this event features music, immersive art experiences, and even special performances from Cirque Du Soleil, Meow Wolf, Blue Man Group, and Magic Mike Live. But those who are really all about the tunes won’t be disappointed; there are tons of musical acts including plenty of big names. Whatever you’re into, this festival has all the vibes you won’t wanna miss this summer.
The lineup: Performers include the Killers, Kim Petras, Baby Tate, Yung Gravy, the 1975, Raye, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bebe Rexha, Chika, Rina Sawayama, Talk, Odesza, Night Tales, HoneyLuv, and more.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $165 per person. Three-day passes start at $395 per person. Buy yours here.

Daniel Boczarski/Redferns/Getty Images
Daniel Boczarski/Redferns/Getty Images
Daniel Boczarski/Redferns/Getty Images

Riot Fest

Where: Chicago, Illinois
When: Friday, September 15 – Sunday, September 17
The lowdown: This is the festival for the punk and alt lovers, and those of us who blasted all things emo in our rooms during our teen years. Founded in 2005, it serves as one of the closers to the summer festival season. Big name acts always make their way to this festival, ensuring it’s worth the trip for anyone who is a fan of all things rock and metal.
The lineup: Performers include the Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie, the Postal Service, the Cure, Queens of the Stone Age, the Mars Volta, Turnstile, Ani Difranco, and Tegan and Sara.
The cost: Three-day passes start at $289.98 per person. Buy yours here.

CMA Country Music Association
CMA Country Music Association
CMA Country Music Association

CMA Fest

Where: Nashville, Tennessee
When: Thursday, June 8 – Sunday, June 11
The lowdown: The longest running country musical festival in the world is celebrating 50 years in 2023. Expect great music, great outfits, and fantastic food as the festival continues to bring together country fans from around the globe. This year’s big anniversary is sure to make for a special event, and you can expect surprises throughout the four day festival.
The lineup: Performers include Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Lily Rose, Kidd G, Tyler Booth, Keith Urban, Eric Church, Chapel Hart, and others.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $85.70 per person. Four-day passes start at $291 per person. Buy yours here.

Jeff Fusco/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Jeff Fusco/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Jeff Fusco/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Roots Picnic

Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Friday, June 2 – Sunday, June 4
The lowdown: Philly has been getting a lot of well deserved extra love due to the breakout hit Abbott Elementary, and now you can visit the city of Brotherly Love by heading to the annual Roots Picnic-a celebration of Black love, Black culture, and Black music. This year there is so much incredible stuff going on, including a State Property Reunion and a celebration of Lauryn Hill’s iconic album “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill,” which is turning 25. There’s even a podcast stage to celebrate the other audio medium, and a comedy act by Dave Chappelle.
The lineup: Performers include Ms. Lauryn Hill, Ari Lennox, Syd, Black Thought, Eve, Mary Mary, City Girls, Busta Rhymes, Lil Uzi Vert, and more.
The cost: Single-day passes start at $99 per person. Two-day passes start at $189 per person. Buy yours here.

OUTLOUD
OUTLOUD
OUTLOUD

Outloud Music Festival

Where: West Hollywood, California
When: Friday, June 2 – Sunday, June 4
The lowdown: Tons of queer performers, musicians, drag artists, and even a Broadway fave or two will take the stage at this queer music festival to make West Hollywood Pride a bigger party then it already is. Add in DJs, dancing, and just the right amount of debauchery, and you get a fantastic festival where the LGBTQIA+ community can come together to be themselves.
The lineup: Performers include Orville Peck, Grace Jones, Santigold, Tinashe, Idina Menzel, Yung Bae, Carly Rae Jepsen, Passion Pit, Princess Nokia, and more.
The cost: Weekend passes start at $79 per person. Buy yours here.

Dancefestopia
Dancefestopia
Dancefestopia

Dancefestopia

Where: Kansas City
When: Monday, September 4 – Sunday, September 10
The lowdown: Have you ever dreamed of escaping to the forest to dance? To pop a tent and be surrounded by love, happiness, and celebration on the highest of levels? At Dancefestopia you’ll get just that. This one is for the outdoor types who want to connect with nature and their bodies alike-with some good tunes in the background, of course. Take a break from dancing to zipline, rock climb, or even just kick back in the lake on a floaty. Bring all the good vibes and a solid crew to the forest for an experience you won’t forget.
The lineup: Performers include Zeds Dead, Excision, Subtronics, Jantsen, Tape B, DMVU, A Hundred Drums, Bear Grillz, Borgore, Effin, Level Up, Reaper, Jaenga, Swarm and more.
The cost: Three-day passes start at $199 per person, Camping starts at $89 for three nights or $219 for seven nights. Buy yours here.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTikTokTwitterFacebookPinterest, and YouTube.

Shelli Nicole is a contributor for Thrillist.

Travel

Ditch your Phone for ‘Dome Life’ in this Pastoral Paradise Outside Port Macquarie 

A responsible, sustainable travel choice for escaping big city life for a few days.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

The urge to get as far away as possible from the incessant noise and pressures of ‘big city life’ has witnessed increasingly more of us turn to off-grid adventures for our holidays: Booking.com polled travellers at the start of 2023 and 55% of us wanted to spend our holidays ‘off-grid’.  Achieving total disconnection from the unyielding demands of our digitised lives via some kind of off-grid nature time—soft or adventurous—is positioned not only as a holiday but, indeed, a necessity for our mental health. 

Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, an accommodation collection of geodesic domes dotted across a lush rural property in Greater Port Macquarie (a few hours’ drive from Sydney, NSW), offers a travel experience that is truly ‘off-grid’. In the figurative ‘wellness travel’ sense of the word, and literally, they run on their own independent power supply—bolstered by solar—and rely not on the town grid. 

Ten minutes before you arrive at the gates for a stay at Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, your phone goes into ‘SOS ONLY’. Apple Maps gives up, and you’re pushed out of your comfort zone, driving down unsealed roads in the dark, dodging dozens of dozing cows. Then, you must ditch your car altogether and hoist yourself into an open-air, all-terrain 4WD with gargantuan wheels. It’s great fun being driven through muddy gullies in this buggy; you feel like Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park.  As your buggy pulls in front of your personal Nature Dome, it’s not far off that “Welcome…to Jurassic Park” jaw-dropping moment—your futuristic-looking home is completely engulfed by thriving native bushland; beyond the outdoor campfire lie expansive hills and valleys of green farmland, dotted with sheep and trees. You’re almost waiting to see a roaming brachiosaurus glide past, munching on a towering gum tree…instead, a few inquisitive llamas trot past your Dome to check out their new visitor. 

To fully capture the awe of inhabiting a geodesic dome for a few days, a little history of these futuristic-looking spherical structures helps. Consisting of interlocking triangular skeletal struts supported by (often transparent) light walls, geodesic domes were developed in the 20th century by American engineer and architect R. Buckminster Fuller, and were used for arenas. Smaller incarnations have evolved into a ‘future-proof’ form of modern housing: domes are able to withstand harsh elements due to the stability provided by the durable materials of their construction and their large surface area to volume ratio (which helps minimize wind impact and prevents the structure from collapsing). As housing, they’re also hugely energy efficient – their curved shape helps to conserve heat and reduce energy costs, making them less susceptible to temperature changes outside. The ample light let in by their panels further reduces the need for artificial power. 

Due to their low environmental impact, they’re an ideal sustainable travel choice. Of course, Tom’s Creek Nature Domes’ owner-operators, Cardia and Lee Forsyth, know all this, which is why they have set up their one-of-a-kind Nature Domes experience for the modern traveller. It’s also no surprise to learn that owner Lee is an electrical engineer—experienced in renewable energy—and that he designed the whole set-up. As well as the off-grid power supply, rainwater tanks are used, and the outdoor hot tub is heated by a wood fire—your campfire heats up your tub water via a large metal coil. Like most places in regional Australia, the nights get cold – but rather than blast a heater, the Domes provide you with hot water bottles, warm blankets, lush robes and heavy curtains to ward off the chill.

nature domes port macquarie
Photo: Nature Domes

You’ll need to be self-sufficient during your stay at the Domes, bringing your own food. Support local businesses and stock up in the town of Wauchope on your drive-in (and grab some pastries and coffee at Baked Culture while you’re at it). There’s a stovetop, fridge (stocked as per a mini bar), BBQs, lanterns and mozzie coils, and you can even order DIY S’More packs for fireside fun. The interiors of the Domes have a cosy, stylish fit-out, with a modern bathroom (and a proper flushing toilet—none of that drop bush toilet stuff). As there’s no mobile reception, pack a good book or make the most of treasures that lie waiting to be discovered at every turn: a bed chest full of board games, a cupboard crammed with retro DVDs, a stargazing telescope (the skies are ablaze come night time). Many of these activities are ideal for couples, but there’s plenty on offer for solo travellers, such as yoga mats, locally-made face masks and bath bombs for hot tub soaks. 

It’s these thoughtful human touches that reinforce the benefit of making a responsible travel choice by booking local and giving your money to a tourism operator in the Greater Port Macquarie Region, such as Tom’s Creek Nature Domes. The owners are still working on the property following the setbacks of COVID-19, and flooding in the region —a new series of Domes designed with families and groups in mind is under construction, along with an open-air, barn-style dining hall and garden stage. Once ready, the venue will be ideal for wedding celebrations, with wedding parties able to book out the property. They’ve already got one couple—who honeymooned at the Domes—ready and waiting. Just need to train up the llamas for ring-bearer duties! 

An abundance of favourite moments come to mind from my two-night stay at Tom’s Creek: sipping champagne and gourmet picnicking at the top of a hill on a giant swing under a tree, with a bird’s eye view of the entire property (the ‘Mountain Top picnic’ is a must-do activity add on during your stay), lying on a deckchair at night wrapped in a blanket gazing up at starry constellations and eating hot melted marshmallows, to revelling in the joys of travellers before me, scrawled on notes in a jar of wishes left by the telescope (you’re encouraged to write your own to add to the jar). But I’ll leave you with a gratitude journal entry I made while staying there. I will preface this by saying that I don’t actually keep a gratitude journal, but Tom’s Creek Nature Domes is just the kind of place that makes you want to start one. And so, waking up on my second morning at Tom’s —lacking any 4G bars to facilitate my bad habit of a morning Instagram scroll—I finally opened up a notebook and made my first journal entry:

‘I am grateful to wake up after a deep sleep and breathe in the biggest breaths of this clean air, purified by nature and scented with eucalyptus and rain. I am grateful for this steaming hot coffee brewed on a fire. I feel accomplished at having made myself. I am grateful for the skittish sheep that made me laugh as I enjoyed a long nature walk at dawn and the animated billy goats and friendly llamas overlooking my shoulder as I write this: agreeable company for any solo traveller. I’m grateful for total peace, absolute stillness.” 

Off-grid holiday status: unlocked.

Where: Tom’s Creek Nature Domes, Port Macquarie, 2001 Toms Creek Rd
Price: $450 per night, book at the Natura Domes website.

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