Festival-goers were excited to hear the much-anticipated line-ups for summer music festivals across America. The most popular include Hangout Music Fest, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Show, Firefly Music Festival, Counterpoint Music Festival, The Governor’s Ball and dozens more. The lineups vary from festival to festival, as do the experiences an attendee will enjoy.
There are noteworthy similarities in the lineups of most festivals. Popular music is represented in the lineups of each show, so there is great overlap from festival to festival. Often a certain headliner will perform at various festivals. For example, this year Outkast will be headlining Coachella, Counterpoint, Firefly, Hangout and The Governor’s Ball. Certain popular acts tend to dominate the broader festival landscape and will invariably show up all over the country during the festival season. A crowd of less popular acts, groups of every genre, will also make the rounds to all the most popular festivals. In this way, the lineups appear on the surface to take the same shape, and for the most part they do. But, deep investigation into the lineup cards of the festivals will expose just how much they differ. Just as the music differs, a festival-goer will naturally enjoy a different experience at each festival.
Though a music fan will likely find acts they enjoy at any festival, if you are partial to a certain genre, you should know if that genre is well-represented in the festival’s lineup. For example, Jack Johnson, The Black Keys and all the usual rock-and-roll draws will be at opposite ends of the country in Coachella Valley, Calif. and at Firefly in Dover, Del. If you are more into hip-hop, you should look beyond Firefly, because Outkast and Chance the Rapper are the only hip-hop performers. At Coachella, for example, Chance and Outkast will be joined by Nas, Kid Cudi, A$AP Ferg and the Flatbush Zombies, among others. There are even festivals that feature only one genre of music. Rock the Bells is a hip-hop festival that hosts four shows across the country near the end of the summer. Ozzfest is a long-standing festival that features only heavy metal. Festivals like these are markedly different from those already mentioned because they do not feature a broad variety of music.
The most popular festivals which are dedicated solely to one genre are the various electronic dance music festivals. Many festivals were founded in the past 10-20 years specifically to cater to the EDM crowd, and EDM artists have been added to the lineups of virtually every festival. As is the case with hip-hop, certain festivals favor EDM artists more than others. Camp Bisco, Electric Zoo, Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival and Electric Forest are some of the most popular EDM festivals. Considering the homogeneous tastes of the crowds at these festivals, the lineups tend to be similar, though this is not to say that the experience will be the same across the board.
The location and visual aesthetics of a festival also dramatically affect the experience one has there. Hangout takes place yards away from the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama. Electric Zoo takes place on the more cosmopolitan Randalls Island in New York City. The Coachella Valley, with its palm trees and rolling hills, is perhaps one of the most beautiful settings in the country for a festival. Ultra unfolds under the bright lights of Miami, while Camp Bisco takes place on an Indian reservation in upstate New York. Art also adds to the festival experience in varying degrees. Coachella has some of the most striking art, and all of the EDM festivals dress up their settings. At Electric Forest, as the name suggests, an entire forest of trees is illuminated with colorful lights.
No matter how similar their lineups may be, no two festivals are the same. At each festival, one will enjoy a different experience. Whether you are looking for hours and hours of EDM or a variety of acts, there is something out there for every taste. Check out the lineups for yourself to find out where your favorite artists will be performing, and do not let the festival season go by without getting in on all the wonderful music.