10 Must-See U.S. Music Festivals for 2013
Rock festivals are more popular than ever, and it can be tough for the devoted music lover to keep track of them all. But never fear, because your pals at Diffuser.fm are here to help! Although it’s still too early to tell who’s going to be booked at most of next year’s festivals, we’ve taken a look at who’s scored the best lineups in recent years, consulted our Magic 8-Ball and turned the results into a list of our picks for the 10 Must-See U.S. Music Festivals for 2013.
Coachella has been one of America’s premiere festival events since making its debut in 1999, and over the last few years, it’s only gotten bigger — thanks in large part to a booking philosophy that blends established acts, up-and-comers and rare stage appearances from reunited legends like Pixies, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Iggy and the Stooges. We’re still waiting to hear who will take the stage for Coachella 2013, but we’re sure it’ll be some of the most fun you’re able to have in the desert next year.
Lollapalooza has admittedly lost a bit of its luster since the days when it was a traveling cornucopia of chart-topping alt-rock artists and carnival-worthy sideshow acts, but there’s no denying that Perry Farrell‘s brainchild set the template for the modern rock fest, and over the last few years, the U.S. version has settled into a groove in Chicago’s Grant Park while satellite editions crop up overseas. In 2012, Lolla touched down in Brazil, and next year, it’ll make its debut in Tel Aviv, Israel.
Austin City Limits
Like the long-running PBS series with which it shares its name, Austin City Limits is known for playing host to a wide variety of artists — in 2012 alone, ACL booked Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Roots, Neil Young, the Afghan Whigs and Florence + the Machine. We’re eager to see what organizers have in store for the 2013 lineup — sadly, we won’t hear anything until next spring, but we’re sure it deserves a spot on our 10 Must-See U.S. Music Festivals of 2013 list.
A pioneer in the burgeoning field of environmentally conscious rock festivals, Bonnaroo is the fest you can feel good about while you’re digging the music, thanks to its sustainable energy and charitable initiatives. And if anything, the lineups are even better than the festival’s green credentials, offering something for everyone along the spectrum of rock, pop, metal, country, and even comedy — and providing a model for exactly the type of experience we’re looking for in our list of must-see music festivals.
Thanks to its name and roster of past headliners — the Allman Brothers, Ratdog, etc. — Mountain Jam is primarily known as a jam-band event, but there’s more to this annual Upstate New York campout than twirling bodies and 40-minute guitar solos. Now in its ninth year, Mountain Jam has played host to such acts as the Hold Steady, Coheed & Cambria, My Morning Jacket and Girl Talk. Last year, the Roots and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem were among the performers, so there’s no shortage of indie cred. Plus, organizers cap ticket sales at 15,000, ensuring a field full of happy campers.
One of the year’s longest and most crowded festivals — as well as arguably its most hotly anticipated — SXSW earns its place on our list of 10 Must-See U.S. Music Festivals for 2013 simply by virtue of its long history of reliably bringing music (and tons of it) to the masses. Actually, SXSW is something of an all-purpose pop culture destination — it’s grown to include technology and film offshoots, and ticketholders can choose between simply being entertained and taking in keynote addresses or Q&A panels from industry leaders. For proof, look no further than this insanely long list of confirmed performers for 2013.
For most of the year, the town of George, Wash., boasts a population of roughly 500 — but when Sasquatch! rolls into town, all that changes, thanks to organizers’ knack for luring big names like Beck, Bon Iver, the Shins, Silversun Pickups, and Metric, all of whom were on hand for the festival’s 2012 lineup. Who will follow them out to central Wash. next year? We don’t know yet, but we’re sure the list will include a healthy number of household names.
Washington’s Sasquatch! festival makes a big splash every year, but it’s got a long way to go before it reaches the level of Bumbershoot, the fest that’s been rocking Seattle for more than 40 years running. Reflecting its mashup of a name, the ‘shoot attracts a wildly eclectic array of talent — last year’s headliners included Skrillex, Gotye, Jane’s Addiction and Tony Bennett — spread out over a variety of creative disciplines, including comedy, theatre and film. Plus, while other festival-goers around the country are sweating their necks off in the heat, the folks in Seattle are enjoying some of the most moderate summer weather that the United States has to offer.
Voodoo Music Experience
New Orleans boasts some of the richest musical traditions in our country’s history, so it’s only fitting that the city is home to one of our 10 Must-See U.S. Music Festivals for 2013. Next year, the Voodoo Experience will celebrate its 15th anniversary, and if previous years’ lineups are any indication, we can expect to see anyone from Metallica to the Avett Brothers or Green Day. With U2 reportedly in the studio working on their next record, we’re putting them at the top of our headliners wish list, but with the next Experience not slated to take place until Halloween weekend of 2013, we’ll be waiting awhile to hear whether or dream will come true.
As if San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park weren’t already a must-visit destination in the City by the Bay, the marvelously eclectic Outside Lands Festival ups the ante for anyone within traveling distance every summer. Entering its fifth year, Outside Lands pulls from the pop charts and the underground with equal aplomb, making room for everyone from Stevie Wonder to fun., Regina Spektor and Passion Pit — and those are just a few of the bigger names from 2012’s event. We’ll have to wait until April to see what’s in store for 2013, but we’re confident enough to say that if you can spring for the trip, San Francisco is the place to be for live music lovers next August.