People travel for all sorts of reasons but increasingly, travelers are motivated by the experiences they want to enjoy. For music lovers, attending a live performance of their favorite artist is the perfect reason to travel. There are music festivals for all ages and musical genres. Plus, many have expanded to include art and technology installations, gourmet food options, and luxury amenities. Festival season runs from spring to fall, so now is the time to plan a vacation around music. Here are the top 11 music festivals around the world that are worth your well-earned vacation days.
2018 Music Festivals – Listed Chronologically
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Indio, California: April 13 – 22, 2018
Coachella kicks off the music festival season with two weekends of music, large-scale original art, and fashion in the desert. A sell-out crowd of 99,000 attends each weekend. Genres: Rock, Indie, Hip-hop, Electronic dance music (EDM). Flower crowns optional.
Sasquatch! Festival, George, Washington: May 25 – 27, 2018
Sasquatch is held at the 27,500-seat Gorge Amphitheatre, widely considered to be one of the most scenic concert locations in the world. Genres: Indie rock, Experimental rock, Singer-songwriter, Electronica, Alternative rock, Underground hip hop
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Manchester, Tennessee: June 7 – 10, 2018
60,000 attendees camp onsite at a 700-acre farm in a tribute to jam band rock concerts of the 1960s. Bonnaroo supports recycling and sustainability and contributes heavily to local organizations and national charities. Genres: Indie rock, Classic rock, World music, Hip-hop, Jazz, Americana, Bluegrass, Country, Folk, Gospel, Reggae, Pop, Electronic, Alternative
Glastonbury, Somerset, UK: June 26 – 30, 2019
Around 175,000 people attend the UK’s largest festival held on the land of a working dairy farm. Every six years the festival takes a “fallow year” to let the land recuperate. 2018 is one of those years, so plan for 2019. Genres: pop, reggae, rock, folk, dubstep, techno, and more.
Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal, Canada: June 28 – July 7, 2018
Ranked as the world’s largest jazz festival by Guinness World Records, this even features 3,000 artists from 30 countries playing 650 concerts (450 are free!) on 20 different stages to over 2 million people. Genres: Jazz, R&B, Soul, Funk.
Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland: June 29 – July 14, 2018
This jazz festival takes second place behind Montreal in size but is arguably the longest-running of any music festival. In its 52nd year, the Montreux Jazz Festival will offer a rich and varied program of paid and free performances to over 200,000 people over a two week period. In addition to the Casino and Convention Center venues, shows are held on boats cruising Lake Geneva and moving train cars. Genres: Jazz, Blues, Soul, Rock.
Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark: June 30 – July 7, 2018
Roskilde draws over 130,000 visitors from all over the world to Northern Europe’s largest concert. Nine stages, including Europe’s largest tent (17,000 people) showcase 175 acts. The non-profit festival donates all profit to charities. Genres: Rock, Hip Hop, Metal, Urban, Electronica and 3rd world contemporary music.
Tomorrowland, Boom, Belgium: July 20 – 29, 2018
Since the first Tomorrowland in 2005, the festival has grown to a massive 400,000 attendees over two weekends. It’s so popular that tickets literally sell out in minutes. The festival offers 16 stages, 1,000 artists and DJs, a themed village called DreamVille, gourmet dining, and accommodations from pitch your own tent to luxury private cabanas with saunas. Genre: Electronic Dance Music
Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary: August 8 – 15, 2018
Held on Old Buda Island in the middle of the Danube, the week-long Sziget has become a top European festival drawing nearly a half million people from 100 countries. The theme is a “Love Revolution” where diversity is embraced and individual freedoms are respected. Genres: World music, Blues, Rock, Metal
Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, Texas: October 4 – 15, 2018
Expect a diverse lineup of 140 bands playing on eight stages in the “Live Music Capital of the World” over these two weekends. The ACL Eats Food Court, Art Market, and family area (Austin Kiddie Limits) add to the experience. ACL Cares collects donations to support local charities. Genres: Rock, Indie, Country, Folk, Electronic, Hip-hop.
Voodoo Music + Art Experience, New Orleans, Louisianna: October 26 – 28, 2018
Visit the Big Easy for a musical gumbo over Halloween weekend with big-name artists and local musicians from all genres. In addition to 65 bands, find large-scale art installations, the Market Place, Beer Hall, and all the favorite flavors of New Orleans prepared by top chefs. Genres: Rock, Metal, R&B, Jazz, Alternative, Cajun, Folk.
To create a toe-tapping vacation around any of these top music festivals, contact the vacation specialists at Covington.