10 Best Spring Music Festivals

By March 21, 2013

Spring is upon us which means better weather and allergies are here! This is also the time of year my new music radar starts going off. Depeche Mode‘s “Delta Machine” just dropped, David Bowie‘s “A New Day” has become the fastest selling album this year so far, there’s word of new Daft Punk coming soon and Justin Timberlake‘s “The 20/20 Experience” is out with the promise even more new material coming later this year.

I suppose it only makes sense, the timing of all these new releases, since Spring brings with it an onslaught of music festivals. New music from all genres can probably be best showcased in a music festival environment where hip hop beats can boom from one stage while electro house and indie rock can be heard booming from the tents across the field.

So, with that said, here’s a list of the best music festivals Spring has to offer!

March 12 – 17

I know, I know. SXSW is over and done with. However, it seems only fair to mention the event here as it’s sort of the welcoming party guiding us through the Spring season of music festivals. Part film, part interactive and part music festival, this year had a wide variety of performers showcasing their talents.  It seemed everyone from Prince and Justin Timberlake to Macklemore and The Flaming Lips performed.  You can check out the full 2013 artist roster here.

Music, BBQ and beer? Yeah, you can bet I’m already planning my 2014 excursion to Austin, Texas!

Lollapalooza Brazil
March 29 – 31

Sure, we all know about Lollapalooza. The show that was started by Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell has existed in a few different incarnations now for over 20 years.  However, did you know there’s a pretty kick ass installment of Lollapalooza that happens in Sao Paolo, Brazil every year? Yeah, neither did I until a few minutes ago! There’s the August event in Chicago but we’re talking Spring music festivals here!

This year’s festival boasts a lineup that includes Pearl Jam, Queens Of The Stone Age, Knife Party, Alabama Shakes and more! Taking place at The Sao Paulo Jockey Club, I am going to go on record and say I’m envious of Brazil. Check out the official page (remember to hit translate!) for all the details.

April 12 – 14, 19 – 21

The last music festival I attended happens to be this one. Back in 2006, I got the chance to see Daft Punk’s epic live set that is featured on their live album “Alive”. I have mixed feelings about Coachella due to my affinity for crowds, heat and dirt. But if you can get past those details, this is one amazing music festival. Now a two weekend festival, mirroring the exact same lineup each week, The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival is exactly that. There’s everything for everyone, really. From art galleries, to campgrounds, and stages specializing in every genre of music you can think of, it’s a pretty great festival to partake in at least once.

This year, The Empire Polo Fields will be welcoming a whole crap ton of musicians including the likes of Blur, Jurassic 5, The Stone Roses, Lou Reed, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The Wu-Tang Clan and so much more. Here’s the lineup. I mean, seriously!

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
April 26, 27, 28, May 2 – 5

Of all the festivals listed here, this one interests me the most. Being a fan of Jazz and Blues music, and given the fact I’ve always wanted to visit New Orleans, my intrigue here is almost painful. The New Orleans Jazz Fest has been going strong since Mahalia Jackson performed with The Eureka Brass Band in 1970. Since then, the show has been a mainstay celebrating the arts, culture and music scene that is New Orleans. Being that it’s the birthplace of Jazz music, this really just makes perfect sense.

Since its inception, the festival has broadened its own horizons by including artists that lie a bit outside the Jazz realm. This year’s lineup includes Billy Joel, Fleetwood Mac, The Black Keys, Darryl Hall and John Oates, BB King, and way so many much more!

If only I could get my ass to New Orleans next month….

Primavera Sound
May 22 – 26

Let’s take a trip over to Spain, shall we? Barcelona, in particular. This is where the Primavera Sound Festival takes place every year. Not to be confused with sister festival Optimus Primavera Sound Festival, Primavera has been going strong now for 13 years. Featuring an eclectic lineup that seems a bit reminiscent to Coachella’s, this is one of Spain’s largest music festivals. The event has been known to bring in over 100,000 people!

This year’s show will feature the likes of Phoenix, Fiona Apple, Tame Impala, The Jesus And Mary Chain and more! Here’s all the details.

May 24 – 27

Back in 2002, The Sasquatch! Music Festival became a reality. The festival takes place over Memorial Day Weekend in central Washington State. Featured here are an eclectic range of musical genres, with the emphasis being on indie rock bands and singer-songwriters. The show also features other genres as well as live comedy acts. There are five stages to showcase all the acts included on the lineup, which include the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Postal Service, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Primus 3D and more!

Check out all the festival details here.

Governor’s Ball Festival
June 7 – 9

The Governors Ball Music Festival (Governors Ball, Gov Ball or Gov Ball NYC) is a fairly new multi day music festival held on Randall’s Island in New York City. Launched in 2011, the festival features a decent variety of genres of music (including rock, electronic, hip-hop, indie, Americana, pop, folk, etc).  Aside from the wide variety of music, the event also features a slew of popular NYC restaurants and food trucks, as well as a nice bunch of activities (Silent Disco, ping pong, photo booths, lawn games, and so on). Also, kudos to the festival on the “Free Water Refill Stations”! Other similar events should take note of this bit of genius!

The lineup for the 2013 Gov Ball NYC includes the likes of Kanye West, Guns N’ Roses, Grizzly Bear, Kendrick Lamar and Cut Copy. Here’s the full lineup for all you inquiring minds out there!

Sónar Barcelona
June 13 – 15

Sónar International is a collection of music events that happen in Iceland, Japan and Barcelona throughout the year. I’ve poured through the information of each festival and am going with Barcelona here. Sónar Barcelona is a three-day music festival held in Barcelona, Spain. The official description of the event is “Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art” with music being the festival’s focal point. This year marks the 20th edition of the Sónar festival and artists on the bill include Kraftwerk, Pet Shop Boys, Skrillex, Diplo among many others. If you’re lucky enough to be in Spain, go to this. Kraftwerk’s live show is something to behold!

For all the info on Sónar (Reykjavik, Tokyo & Osaka, Barcelona), here’s the official site!

June 13 – 16

A New Orleans slang popularized by Dr. John‘s 1974 album, “Desitively Bonnaroo”, the word Bonnaroo means “a really good time”. So, I suppose one must deduce that The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is exactly that!  Held at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee, this massive music festival lasts four days. And if you ask me, that’s four days of awesomeness!  Much like many of the festivals in this list, Bonnaroo features an ecelectic array of music styles (indie rock, world music, hip hop, bluegrass, gospel, etc)

What started as a festival for jam bands and folk rock, the event has grown in size and popularity. It has been named “Best Festival” by Rolling Stone magazine and “Festival of the Decade” by Consequence of Sound. So, obviously, this event is a force to be reckoned with!

This year’s vast lineup includes Paul McCartney, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Bjork, Billy Idol and a crap ton more! See for yourself!

June 14 – 16

The Pinkpop Festival is a three day event that is held at Landgraaf, Netherlands. In existence since 1970, Pinkpop is the longest running annual music festival in the world (seriously, it’s in The Guinness Book Of Records)!

The name of the festival may be a bit misleading, but Pinkpop is a festival primarily dedicated to rock music (there is some hip hop in this year’s lineup). With roughly 60,000 people attending each day, three stages to choose from, a separate expo one can attend,  this thing is a behemoth!

This year, the lineup includes Green Day, Fun., Kings Of Leon, The Killers, Stereophonics, etc etc etc.

Well there you have it! If this spring is any inclination, this summer is going to have some crazy music festival lineups. With your Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z tour, Depeche Mode’s US tour announcement and the most recent announcement that Nine Inch Nails will be releasing new music and touring later this year…my mind is about to explode at the possible festival announcements.

Until then, I leave you with my favorite music festival memory ever…

Daft Punk’s new album can’t come fast enough!

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Aside from throwing words onto your screen here, he has written for the likes of FEARnet, Examiner, Dread Central and MTV Movies Blog. And yes, he was Percy on VR Troopers.