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Top 10 Summer Music Festivals

Ryan Thomas . . . Comments

The mainstream music industry doesn’t often smile upon the independent music community. The radio does very little to support steadfast musical idealists, and seems to have little tolerance for actual instruments. Additionally, there’s always some coked-up record company executive dropping some pretentious line like “instruments are obsolete” or claiming an entire genre of music is “dead” in order to rally favor for the ever-regressing, superficially-minded direction of the industry. Lines are drawn (and occasionally snorted) and now we live in a time where the Jack Daniels-and-glitter-soaked likes of Ke$ha can live in a mansion after having only one album to brag about, while a million touring musicians die in the back of a piss-stained VW Bus, from exhaustion and rejection-poisoning. The grassroots approach is really all that’s available to anyone without sex appeal, an image to exploit. We all know any decent pair of breasts can fair well in the arms of a reputable producer doing all the songwriting and actual legwork. As such, a huge bastion for indy musicians lies, in addition to spending months touring the country, in the summer festival enterprise. Securing a gig at any one of the majors is a surefire way to become visible to a sea of receptive fans, the likeliest to appreciate talent and integrity immediately upon seeing it. After all, a festival is as much a chance to experience more than one favorite act at a single ticket price, as it is a chance to be enlightened, and in more ways than one. Here are the top ten summer music festivals:



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This Seattle, Washington, music and arts festival is another festival chock full of niche acts, some slightly more known than others, while carrying on its shoulders show-making headliners: last year saw Bob Dylan, Weezer, Rise Against, Courtney Love’s Hole (yuck), and the Decemberists, as the proverbial cream of the crop (yes, Bob Dylan… and Hole) to give an idea for how mixed, maybe even ambivalently so, the line-up can be. There isn’t really the kind of consistency that the others secure, but for a good sampling of whatever-the-hell, Bumbershoot is a decent outlet for seeing your favorite third-rate acts (though not enough that you should sacrifice all of your festival dollars here). Taking place September 3-5, it really does amount to the dregs of the festival season.




South by Southwest, taking place in Austin Texas, has a Costco mentality: it’s more in the way of quantity than it is quality. And while a few big names stick out, it seems every subordinate tier features a life-threatening mob of bands, almost a small town population’s worth, clamoring for attention. As such, injuries are commonplace. Over 1,300 largely unknown acts were scheduled this year between March 11th and the 20th (and you thought three days was a lot), but the headliners ranged from Duran Duran, Bright Eyes, and Queens of the Stone Age to Wu-Tang Clan and Cee Lo Green. Jack White, who always finds a way to top his own minimalistic tendencies, even stopped by and gave a surprise parking lot performance outside of his portable record store. Also, what’s neat about this particular festival is that it appeals to music as well as film, where a festival of its own exists; Arcade Fire’s Spike Jones directed short was a notable exhibition in that it had a little of both.




No Joke, this festival takes place at the Gorge Amphitheater…in George, Washington. Taking place Memorial Day weekend, this Bigfoot-themed festival is appropriately named: it’s leading acts carry quite the footprint, this year including the likes of Foo Fighters, Death Cab for Cutie (both out of the woods with new albums), Modest Mouse, Wilco, the Decemberists, Bright Eyes, Cold War Kids, Wolf Parade and Deerhunter, amongst a great many others (others that also heavily populate the festival circuit). What’s most relieving is that none of the headliners are rappers or self-interested pop singers, which is what really ups this venue’s indy cred and respectability as a safehouse for all the weary road warriors.


Newport Folk


This festival is most frequently associated with Bob Dylan’s decision to go electric (which didn’t go very well at the time). Now it carries on a tradition of prominently displaying the best concurrent examples of popular and indy folk music. Already past its 50th anniversary, essential and fresh voices alike have graced the stage, including Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Johnny Cash, The Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, the Avette Brothers and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. This has got to be the mellowest of all the festivals, making up in subtlety what it lacks in overblown performances and high flying histrionics. It takes place July 30 and 31 this year.



171861-Woodstock-3Ss Slide

This was the genesis for all the rest, at least as far as the festival mentality goes: three days of nothing but ingestion: musical, chemical and spiritual. World peace existed soundly and briefly in a vacuum on a farm, where upon which a full society of hippies embraced in the community of song, dance and “mental expansion.” While decadence ran amok, life and death took place on a muddy field, where everything was natural and nothing else seemed necessary. This was also the place where Hendrix blew minds with an acid soaked rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, Carlos Santana cringed as he played warped solos on a hallucination-manifested snake, and the sunny weather was matched by the shiniest of the decade’s folk, R&B, blues and acid rock acts, including Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas and the Papas, the Band, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. Ever since, festivals have been packing bills to the brim and bringing together unseemly genres and people.


Live Aid/Live 8/Farm Aid


It’s an amazing thing when music can be used for reasons other than self-indulgence, like when a group of musicians decide to join forces to raise money for important causes, whether it be poverty in Ethiopia (Live Aid), supporting the agricultural industry from which we derive physical sustenance (Farm Aid), or to help rid the world of global starvation (Live 8). Leave it to the world’s biggest, multi-generational acts and most globally-conscious minds to make it happen, as with U2, Crosby Stills Nash and Young, Phil Collins, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson and Dave Matthews. Performing across global venues, to form the most holistic collection plate, musicians proved they have the capacity to not be selfish. Such righteous ideals still find grounding today in myriad forms and charity/benefit concerts, as with Arcade Fire and Radiohead for Haiti, and the various artists who release profit-free singles for natural disasters and other seemingly ubiquitous global afflictions. Proof positive that a single artist with a following can be a million times more thoughtful and influential than a crafty team of record producers (their only true concern is that such time and dedication isn’t being spent on creating or promoting the next thing that will put a million dollars in their pockets).



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This is probably the biggest festival on the list, both in terms of bill and popularity. The line-up always seems to resemble the intro credits for a Star Wars movie, or that huge contract Willy Wonka has those ill-fated kids sign with the microscopically-fine print, big names up top in bold print, lesser-knowns tightly squeezed-in below. The reason for this Chicago-based festival’s popularity has mostly to do with its utter eclecticism, and tendency to mesh the most despicably-adored mainstream with high-flying indy titans: for example, last year made room for Lady Gaga and Green Day, as well as Rage Against the Machine, the Strokes, Kings of Leon and Phoenix. While the headliners are seemingly obligated to display the mainstreamers to draw as big a crowd as possible, encouraging an atypical festival audience, there is no slight on indy representation. In fact, everything below the top two lines on the bill are almost exclusively indy, featuring the most appealing samplings possible, regular hits, with the recurring likes of the National, Black Keys, Spoon, the Walkmen, Mumford and Sons, etc. No one can be offended at a line-up like that, especially when you can pick which stage, make your own concert itinerary. This year, it takes place August 5-7.




Another biggie in heavy competition with Lollapalooza, though not really. Festivals really lend themselves into each other, as they simply present the ability for fans to attend the nearest-by one (though the east coast really suffers in this respect). There are some differences, but a lot of the important names are on each. Manchester, Tennessee’s Bonnaroo, however, boasts some names this year which Lollapalooza is lacking, like Arcade Fire, the Strokes, Mumford and Sons, Buffalo Springfield (with Steven Stills and Neil Young), Lil’ Wayne, and whatever non-Led Zeppelin band Robert Plant is making music with. Meanwhile Lollapalooza seems to be hogging, amongst others, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, the White Lies and Cee Lo (though given his bomb of a performance at Coachella, it might be for the best). Bonnaroo is the most hippy-friendly, what with all the drug-friendly activities and asides, and is also a comedy-haven in its own rite; so even the musically-apathetic (or at least less-than-die-hard-consumers) can find equal merriment. This year does seem to offer compelling reasons why it makes sense to attend both (being very separate shows), but for all those 90’s-era white rapper-addicts, Eminem will assuredly appear at both. So prepare for vomit on your sweater already, mom’s spaghetti, as you will likely suffer heat stroke all the while at literally the hottest of the summer festival venues. This festival takes place June 9-12.


Austin City Limits


This festival is an indy safe-haven, and another pit stop for the greatest examples of such. Last year the usual 2nd tiers were in attendance, the ones we love to see every year, regardless if they’re toting a new album or not (the ones who seem to get a little more popular, a little higher on the list, every year they come out). Meanwhile, the Eagles were at the top of the headline, right before Phish, M.I.A., Muse, the Flaming Lips and the Strokes, who were putting their toes in the touring waters again after a half-decade hiatus. Other great reasons to make the pilgrimage to the big state, or else watch the televised coverage on PBS: Temper Trap, the XX, Beach House, Spoon, Vampire Weekend, the National, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes, Band of Horses, Monsters of Folk, Silversun Pickups, Two Door Cinema Club and a bucket of others. Yes, with a consummate bill like that, last year was a good time to lose your festival virginity, and ACL was the place.




Held in Indio, California, this festival is really a spectacle. With impressive multimedia-equipped sets, grand ornamental structures and stage performances, and 3 stages on which a diverse sampling of musicians of varying popularity levels perform simultaneously, Coachella keeps concert-goers’ sensory receptors consistently satisfied, with hardly a static moment in between doses of perpetual amusement. This year was especially rich with stimuli, what with Arcade Fire’s epic strobe beach-ball light show, Empire of the Sun’s sci-fi-interpretative-dance rave, and avant-garde filmmaker David Lynch adding his twisted touches to Interpol’s live YouTube-streamed performance, the likes of which he gave Duran Duran not long prior. Speaking of Duran Duran, they were there, too. As was Kanye West, whose presence contradicted the indy mentality infinitefold. It’s only (slightly) forgiven for the fact that he had to follow the Strokes who, breaking a 5-year hiatus, cranked out a hyper-tight set, rife with material from their latest album. This festival, kicking of the season in late April, would be one of the more accessible festivals, featuring a contentious three day line-up and plenty of music to dance/tweak out to. Bonus points given to 5 Gum for sponsoring a live webcast which covered the concert from start to finish, with the ability to manually switch between the different stages, for those unable to physically make the trek.

  • loapaja

    Missed the Big Day Out!!

    • shfgeydr

      agreed also not nz but what bout shambhala thats getting big and rhythm and beats i think its called………help if you know

  • hiii

    boring list

    • efekinkor

      It needs Download!!

      • Chineapplepunk

        … and Sonisphere…
        Jeez, show the UK some luuurve ;)

        • Shitverse

          Isn’t this list already a little to UK heavy to have one of those two tho?

  • Kitcarson

    Should be top ten US festivals, my list would include Glastonbury,T in the Park, Reading and Leeds ,Fuji,Rock Werchter and Roskilde.

    • Julius

      Plus Rock am Ring/Rock im Park and Wacken

      • Arsnl

        Sorry to say but THE european music festival is sziget.

        • Julius

          I heard it was good, just never been there. (I really should though. Budapest isn’t that far away from my place)

          • Arsnl

            Well if getting drunk and partying with hundreds of thousands of people is your thing, you should go :). I think its a bit surreal. Also i just love the artists.
            That being said, on an unrelated note: WTF DSK? I just felt the need to say that.

          • Julius

            I’m usually more of a fan of smaller festivals which aren’t horrendously overpriced, but yeah getting drunk with thousands of people is exactly my thing :-D


    • Donna

      Montreal Jazzfest.

  • Here in SA, Oppikoppi is one of the ruling music fests. Camping gear, food and beer . . . you are set .

    • Julius

      I really wanted to go Oppikoppi but didn’t manage. Went to the Coke festival, Ramfest and Earthdance though.

  • Katiebean

    Ummm where the hell is Summerfest? It’s slogan is ‘The worlds biggest music festival’ how could it not make this list?

    • Xyroze

      Seriously. I went through the whole list expecting it to be next, got to the bottom and realized that a list of “Top 10 SUMMER music FESTivals” some how missed Summerfest, the worlds largest music festival..

  • wazzle

    list should be named top 10 us summer festivals

    • flgh

      Live 8 & Lollapalooza aren’t US-ian

      • Arsnl

        Live 8 isnt even a music festival. It was just a benefit concert. And i dont get the connection between farm aid and live aid and 8.

  • chrom3d

    Are all of these in America?.. so all the best summer music festivals are in America then?

    • s


  • Eh, is there a specific location for these festivals or they are held around the globe? Or in the US only? Sorry, but hardly an interesting list, this.

  • br0ck

    this list is too american!!and we all know that americans listen to j.bieber while the real party land is europe(except UK)

    • And Rebecca Black also.

    • UK

      Except the UK? Pffft you Europeans couldn’t fucking throw a party in a nightclub with us Brits!!!!

    • Chris

      PAHA. Please. The majority of the world’s best festivals are in the UK.

  • Trent

    A little versatility would have been nice. Besides these all being American, they were all pretty much the same kind of music too. I was really looking forward to seeing Mayhem fest on here.

  • mech

    way too american. you left our so many awesome non-u.s ones. shambhala is huge in Canada

  • WheresEngland

    Your forgot (in no particular order); Glastonbury, Isle of wight festival, Reading and Leeds, Latitude, V festival, Bestival, T in the park, and Download. In short, England has always had (and always will) the best festivals. Live 8/8 aren’t even summer festivals, they’re aid concerts. Music in America just isn’t quite up to the same level of festival goers as it is in England, i’m afraid.

    • Arsnl

      T in the park is actually scotish. Tone it down a bit. And please dont be afraid. Americans do have the biggest

      • Chris

        America has the biggest? Apart from Summerfest, the majority of UK festivals are bigger than US ones. Not to mention, since when did bigger mean better? Half of the festivals in the US don’t even let you drink in the venues.

  • Shirokuma

    Writer probably didn’t care to research outside of his own narrow domestic knowledge.

  • DubiousHonors

    Quick note: Coachella has 6 stages (or 7 if you want to count the Do Lab)

  • Rossco

    The list is too American once again.

    • s

      boo hoo. maybe it’s because America is the hub of the EARTH- idiot

      • Thomas Jefferson

        It is the hub of the Earth-idiot, as you are clearly from there. Yes! Excellent use of grammar on my part. Self-five.

      • Rossco

        The hub of a corrupt bankrupt dive full of morons like you s.

  • bansey

    Change the name to top 10 US music festivals. There are tonnes of excellent festivals around Europe that are better than nearly all of these.

  • Christel

    I can’t believe you forgot Roskilde Festival

  • bansey

    Awful. awful list. Whoever wrote this needs to research outside of his own country. The best festivals in the world are European. Mainly the Uk. Better music and can attract the biggest artists. Awful list.

    • s

      Those festivals are crap compared to USA’s festivals, sorry bud! Clearly you have never been to an American music festival. You’re an awful idiot

      • Helloyourewrong

        There are people that expressly go to the UK just for our festivals- we have the best lineups (let’s be honest, British popular music is indescribably better than American), and far superior festivals

      • bansey

        You know nothing. American music is bollocks. The UK has and will continue to produce the greatest bands to ever exist. Only people who know nothing about music, like you, go to these *****ty festivals.

        • die

          you only think that because you’re a limey. We created ROCK N ROLL. idiot. Chuky Berry, Muddy Waters, Fats Domino- ALL THE GUYS THE BEATLES LOVED…. all american. suck it.

          • bansey

            Yeah but they weren’t The Beatles. You lose.

      • Sarah

        Have you ever been to one in another country?

  • Will Trame

    This was a pretty good list (but then I love music-related trivia). I think that Woodstock should have ranked a lot higher; the irony about that festival and the whole particular ethos related to this event was that it didn’t last too long…it died a violent death at Altamont less than six months later. Still, it was a definitive happening.

    There were some interesting events listed here as I definitely recall Live Aid, Farm Aid and the Newport Folk Festival of 1965. Notable omissions include the 1970 Isle of Wight festival and the June 1967 Monterey Pop Festival.

  • Comboio Azul

    Apart from being all in America (apart from the Lives which aren’t really festivals), number 9 takes place in the Winter and 8 in the Spring.

    This list was a huge fail.

    • sd

      no, it’s pretty much accuarate. Euro’s are all butt-hurt because they didn’t mention any of your crappy festivals. die hipster die

  • Will Trame

    Also of note are the Watkins Glen concert during Summer 1973 and the Rolling Stones’ July 1969 performance at Hyde Park which was a memorial to the recent passing of Brian Jones. You don’t always go to a concert and hear Mick Jagger read from Keats.

    • Will Trame

      Further research led me to the realization that I erred in this post. Jagger read from Percy Bysshe Shelley, not Keats. Mea culpa.

  • Robin

    How about Rebel Salute or Reggae Sumfest… two of the greatest festivals in the Caribbean. Disappointing list.

  • mmolle


  • Branigr2

    Eh?…… I may be mistaken, but I’m pretty sure Europe has some pretty damn rockin’ festivals too!!

  • daniel

    “Top 10 US Summer Music Festivals”

  • Harris

    The title needs to be changed to ‘Top US Festivals’, and yes, the ‘Live’ gigs aren’t festivals.

    Don’t these lists get checked before they’re uploaded?

  • Fred

    sorry, but this is ridiculous, how oblivious to the rest of the world can you be?

  • crewzer

    top 10 summer music festivals…haha dontmake me laugh!!

  • Alex

    Where are Leeds and reading ):

  • choadius

    This list could have been crafted into a great Top 10 American Summer Music Festival list. I’m an American that was in Philadelphia for the American portion of The Live Aid show in 1985. Between acts, we watched the London show on big screens. Omg, I’m totally old now.

  • Chineapplepunk

    As the ever so insightful Chuckle Brothers would say:

    “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear”
    “Oh *dear*, oh dear, oh dear”

  • Mathias

    AJust like a lot of the posters here, I think it is way too american. I mean, seriously. There is LIFE outside of the US, you just have to open your eyes to it.

  • Jimbob

    Glastonbury? WOMAD? Bennicasim? Any other festivals from outside of the USA? Nah, course not!

  • wannes

    a few belgian festivals would have been nice like Dour Rock werchter Pukkelpop and graspop for the metalfans

  • John Paul II

    Err, no Glastonbury?

    I usually get annoyed when people moan about missing entries on lists, but this is ridiculous.

  • Rizla

    very nice list but badly compiled, it’s only US festivals:
    first how could you miss GLASTONBURY, which is the biggest one, then Dance Valley in the Netherlands, Sziget festival in Hungary should be in top 3, Roskilde in Denmark is huge, Roto Tom in Spain… These are only some that popped in my mind but I’m sure there ‘s many more
    Overall, you should it again !!!!
    FAIL list!!!!!!!!

  • There is no such thing as a “top” music festival. They are horrible ways to see music. Uncomfortable. Unpleasant. Unsanitary.

    • Julius

      Well, you know, that’s just like, your opinion, man.

      • This is a comment section, right?

        • Julius

          Indeed it is. But I didn’t want to get drawn into an argument about the merits of festivals (which I love) so I thought I’d dismiss your comment through a qoute from the Big Lebowski.

    • Did I also mention the sound is usually awful and the visuals suck?

      • Lifeschool

        Sound and visuals depend on which place you end up at. Small festivals can be nice and intimate, with dedicated sound systems and marquees that are a perfect size – just like dancehall size, with great accoustics. Large festivals can be hit or miss depending on how close you are to the actual sounds and the stage (some will provite video screens so people at the back can see). Massive festivals are the worst, perhaps because the slightest wind will blow the sound away, the place is heaving with sweaty bodies, and the food and prices are la-la-land. If I got to a festival, I like to be on the front row; which is usually sheltered from the rain (whoops, I brought it up) and most of the pushing and shoving, and you get to see and hear the artists live – not through some distant TV screen.

        However, the thing that made me smile at your initial comment aspicco was the question of sanitation. I have a rake of stories about festival sanitation :D

  • Kane92

    Gonna tell it straight… worse list ever. Obviously written by a xenophobic American who doesn’t realise that there are things that don’t happen in America.

    • Kane92


      • Arsnl

        And you are very level headed im guessing.

    • ihateyou

      Gonna tell it straight….. GET OVER IT, AMERICA DOES HAVE THE BEST FESTIVALS. I have never seen so many butt hurt Euro’s upset about not mention there stupid obscure festivals. clearly hipsters exist in other countrys, because they’ve all come out of the wood work to comment on this list

      • Abbie

        Glastonbury is hardly obscure… And by the sounds of it the UK seems to get better known artists…

  • Namesdg

    Lame list, the rest of the world has some awesome festivals as well.

    • die

      right. because you’re the dictator of what’s lame and what’s cool- you’re a hipster and you are what’s wrong with society. :) have a nice day and die

      • Nameseft

        Lol, You think I should die because I think it would be intresting to read about festivals from all round the world? :’)
        Love it that you called me dictator btw, it really fits me.

  • calexico

    This is just bad. There is tons of wel known summer festivals in Europe, Japan and the rest of the world as well. This is clearly showing a slacked work and a really lacking vision of what music’s world is.

  • nickoho

    I would accept this list as “okay” if it was titles, Top 10 US Summer Music Festivals, and even then it’s a little iffy. As has been said a few times already, most of the best festivals are european, but I guess it also depends on what music you like. Me personally am partial to rock and metal, so i’d go for: Rock AM Ring, Download, Wacken, and since I’m in aus, Soundwave!

  • oouchan

    Title should read that it’s only the US festivals. We do need a follow up international list. Also to miss Summerfest and not have Woodstock at number one kinda makes this list feel a bit off.

    Interesting concept for a list.

  • angelus

    I found it odd that there was no mention of Ozzfest or Reading music festival on here. Both have contained many amazing performances.

  • Oatler

    Wow, this list is getting a lot of hate, I’m from the UK and I am surprised that so few festivals outside America are mentioned (Glastonbury anyone?) but the ones that are in the list are very well written, although the list could use a title change to add ‘US’ .

  • Lifeschool

    Well… kinda interesting, but I’m not in a big hurry to get to any of these – not that I could afford to. I used to enjoy going to Glastonbury when it was easy to get in, and when it was alive and fresh. These days it’s full of hip-hop and R&B, and the ‘hippies’ have made way for the ‘middle class’ (I hate that phrase), cus it’s too expensive otherwise, and frankly too Up Itself now to be considered Uber Cool. But to be honest, it’s not just the venue and the people, it’s the music that makes or breaks a festival for me, and even Glastonbury – even with Emily Eavis – occasionally pulls it out of the bag. I suppose most of the bands I used to love have foulded a long time ago; which is just a mark of getting older I suppose – although there are still some great acts coming along all the time.

    The only festival I manage to get to these days is a small family-friendly festival in Cumbria, UK, called Solfest. There is another one called Solfest somewhere but this is a UK one. I like the selection of odd and old names at this venue, there really is something for everybody, and the security do a great job of kicking the airheads, the meatheads, and the dope dealers out – so that parents can feel safe with their kids. This year they have The Damned, Utah Saints, Cast, The Saw Doctors, Wilco Johnson, Kanda Bongo Man and The Stranglers all headlining (gotta love the Stranglers!) , plus it’s under half the price of Glastonbury for 5 campings days (Thursday thru Monday).

    NOTE: I am biased towards Solfest because I’m also heavily involved with it – steward team leading, filming it, and helping to code the web site. www. solfest .org. uk. However, the jury is still out as to whether I’ll even make it this year…

  • Gabriel

    Rock in Rio I, II and III.

  • j

    so sick of these idiots saying “thats too american” fuck off go to a European website ya dick heads… PS. RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE DID NOT PLAY LOLLAPALOOZA LAST YEAR…. I WAS THERE, I WOULD KNOW. NOR DID KINGS OF LEON….

    • ihateyoumoar

      this website is owned by a new zealander, and it is not dedicated to american audiences only. ***** off go to an american website ya dick head…

  • necropenguin

    maybe a european festival list should be in the making. it needs to have wave-gotik-treffen, wachen open air festival, and (if it’s still running, even if it isn’t) castle donnington. i’m sure there are several others.

  • s

    missed this missed that too american waaah waaaaah waaaaaah you euro-hipsters really make me ill

  • james1

    never seen more hipster-complaints in my life…. typical hipster BS. you forgot this “small and better one” and this “europeon one obviously you know nothing about music like ME” God. it makes me sick,

    • Abbie

      Oh right so because people live in Europe and know some better festivals than are on this list it makes you sick? Mate grow up.

    • Thomas Jefferson

      Yeah, Glastonbury is tiny and no one has heard of it before. How do hipsters find out about these exclusive festivals?

      • Hayhay

        Glastonbury tiny? Americans are so funny, you know only 5% of Americans have passports, and only 5% of Americans with passports have ever travelled out of their state! Lol! Stick to eating burgers and shooting skunks.

        • Molly

          Hi Hayhay – I think you’ll find Thomas Jefferson is kidding. :-)

  • Johnp

    I think you forgot the largest annual music festival of them all, Summerfest.

  • GeauxFallon

    I agree that this should be titled “Top Ten American Music Festivals.” I don’t think festivals that only happened one time should be included in the full list. Woodstock would have made an excellent bonus, but there is no need to include it in the full list since it happened one time and was poorly reproduced by MTV twice. Live Aid, Live 8, and Farm Aids are benefit concerts and shouldn’t be on here either. Where is Voodoo Fest and Summerfest? Both of these use a few mainstream performers to draw large to some independent acts. Voodoo Fest also has the best food out of any festival on this list, guaranteed.

  • ChesneyFunkhouser

    Ryan Thomas is an idiot.

  • Tree

    I thought Rock in Rio would be there.

    • joetravolta

      totally agree. one of the biggest music events in history

  • joetravolta

    I immediately have to write a proper list of music festivals. these are all great U.S festivals but the author has omitted the best that America has to offer. i.e ‘Summerfest’ in Milwauke. Apart from the ones in austin and newport, i’ve been to all of these and summerfest tops the lot. it gets upto a million people attend each year.

    in addition, to all those americans telling us euro hipsters to stop moaning… how can you possibly be so ignorant towards every one else when a list like this has to be completely international, regardless of how big or how good you think the bands are. When you get off your fat asses and go to another country and one of their festivals you’ll realize that it’s pretty much the same as any other in the world. for this list to work you have to find the ones that stand out. Glastonbury, Fuji Rock and the Rock in Rio Concerts should have never been cast aside.

    • Bob

      Don’t call yourself a euro hipster, makes you sound rediculous.

      • Abbie

        He was being facetious.

    • P5ychoRaz

      As far as music goes (being the central focus of the festival) Summerfest definitely takes the cake. The number of artists, big and small, never fails. In recent years, it’s gotten a little more pricey, but what hasn’t?

  • Bob

    The first paragraph was so god damn hateful, and generalizing, that I don´t even wanna read this article. People have different tastes in music, and you obviously think your taste ( which is obviously a matter of opinion) is better than everyone elses, and therefor you think you can just insult them. Well fuck you, asshole.

  • ianz09

    As a metalhead, I have to take particular issue with the exclusion of Big Day Out, Download, and Rock on the Range. Any one of those three included would have been satisfactory. For shame.

  • gabethedestroyer

    your right about all that stuff about Kesha and katty perry we need to bring real musicians back

  • Cody P

    What about Ozzfest? It helped launch the careers of everyone from Linkin Park to Slipknot, not to mention it has brought in over 100 million people to see the festival since it’s beginnings.

    • Jude The Obscene

      I was going to mention Ozzfest as well. I have been to a few of them in Denver. Including the very first one. Also, The Family Values tours were a bit of a dark festival too. Seen some of those as well. I must admit that I do not care at all for the bands you mentioned, but the fact remains that in the Metal community. These were the places to be to see a lot of your favorite bands.

      • Maggot

        Ozzfest isn’t really a “festival” per se. Not in the context of this list, at least, which appears to be focusing mostly on annual, one-day (or weekend), one-location events (item 5 notwithstanding). Ozzfest is more of a touring troupe, playing many dates and cities each year (except the first year). So IMO it doesn’t fit here. Lollapalooza started that way too btw, but is more of a single-site annual event these days.

  • Conor

    Oxygen??? ever hear of it

  • AllenK

    I lived in Seattle for seven years and never did make it to Bumbershoot. I do recommend the Folklife festival every Memorial Weekend and although it is not a music festival per se there is plenty of good music.

  • Metal musician

    1996 Ozzfest was started because Ozzy was not allow to play Lollapalooza .
    From 1996 to 2005 Ozzfest was awesome , but decline in later year’s. A heavy metal musician can play Classical to soft rock to hard rock to everything in between . Most people that call them self great musician can even play Megadeth songs . Metal musician are some of the best musicians in the WORLD.

  • Kris

    I’m not one to complain about exclusions or lists being too American but no Glastonbury? Come on. Like so many recent listverse lists it was also poorly written.

  • Daniel

    What about Vans Warped Tour? They actually travel the country and it has the best underground music and probably the most stages.

  • gina

    Uuummmmm…… No.

    Leeds fest, Download, Rebellion, Hevy, Pukkelpop, Groezrock, Warped Tour….

  • sian

    NO Glastonbury ????? Criminal.

  • pocelain heart

    What about Wacken Open Air, Ozzfest, Bloodstock, Rock In Rio, Slovenia Metalcamp, Glastonbury, etc? :(

  • S

    Osheaga, check the lineup and tell me it shouldn’t be #2. Not to mention the Jazz fest… Montreal is a music city, and yet, no love.

  • Tom

    disgustingly based on US festivals

  • karl

    UK holds better fests than the USA, Sonisphere, Download, Bloodstock, Reading, T4 on the Beach/Park, Leeds, BBCR1’s Big Weekend, V, Amplitude, Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, Oxygen etc. of course there are many many more but these are by far the biggest and best

    now i feel like making a list myself as to why these are the best…anyone from Britain or the world want me to?

  • Canadianguy

    The anti-corporate rant in the intro quickly becomes a huge joke when you notice that one of the pictures in the list has the name of a corporation which has its claws sunken deep into at least one government.

  • karl

    UK holds better fests than the USA, Sonisphere, Download, Bloodstock, Reading, T4 on the Beach/Park, Leeds, BBCR1’s Big Weekend, V, Amplitude, Glastonbury, Isle of Wight, Oxygen etc. of course there are many many more but these are by far the biggest and best.

    NOTE: i have not including internationaly roaming and touring festivals like Ozzfest and Bloodstock Open Air

    now i feel like making a list myself as to why these are the best…anyone from Britain or the world want me to?

  • monie


  • david

    what about ibiza?


    I, for one, appreciates the massive scope of music festivals. But nothing will ever beat a basement gig where 40 kids are shoulder to shoulder, singing songs that means so much to them, and then going to a local diner after a show.


    I won’t put down Warped’s cred, but the recent editions aren’t actually ‘underground’. It’s more ‘music for scene kids who don’t actually listen to the songs but think the singer is hot’ nowadays.

  • Zglotz

    You left out the best one!!! WARPED TOUR!!!!!

  • jakeryder

    Wow. I had no idea that music festivals only happened in the U.S.

  • Johnny_Chimpo


  • Zach Hippie

    Woodstock HAS to be number 1, just for the cultural impact alone, then followed by Live Aid.

  • Anonymous

    what about vans warped tour?

  • joedemarco

    I concur with most of the comments saying how US-centric this list is. Obviously the author has never been to Glastonbury, Leeds/Reading, 2000 Trees, etc, and that’s just in the UK. There’s other great festivals in Europe too

  • Jay

    where in the hell is Summerfest is this a joke?

  • Red

    More like “Top 10 U.S. year-round music festivals”. Half of these don’t even take place in the summer!

  • Chloe

    Wheres Glastonbury?

  • bansey

    You know nothing. American music is bollocks. The UK has and will continue to produce the greatest bands to ever exist. Only people who know nothing about music, like you, go to these shitty festivals.

  • Dan

    Whoever made this list has apparently never heard of Rockfest in KC. 12 bands, 2 stages, prices kept relatively cheap, one helluva party!!!

  • lola

    Wish you would correct the tittle to “top ten AMERICAN music festivals” .

    Otherwise it’s unfair to leave Europe out of it.

    • Maggot

      But if some European festivals were included, it would then be perfectly “fair” to you? Who cares if other countries or regions are left out, as long as Europe is represented, right? Don’t you realize how hypocritical you sound? I agree this list is “too American”, but as is typical, the majority of complainers are equally self-centered jingoists…so who’s kidding who here? What about the Rising Sun Festival, Summer Sonic Festival, or the Fuji Rock Festival, to name a few from Japan? What about Rock in Rio (Brazil), the Dubai Desert Rock Festival (Dubai, UAE), Big Day Out (Australia), Oppikoppi (SA), Rock ‘N India (India), Pulp Summer Slam (Philippines), Quebec City Summer Festival (Canada), etc, etc. If you are going to whine about a lack of “fairness”, how about exhibiting a little bit of it yourself?

  • fuddy

    Neither Austin festival that you list here, ACL or SXSW are Summer festivals, sxsw is during spring break and ACL is during the Fall

  • Lotuskid88

    You also forgot All Good!! Best Fest I’ve ever been to.

  • Woyzeck

    This is one of the best written lists I think I’ve seen on here, but seriously dude, no Glastonbury? Maybe it’s time to stop drinking out of the plastic bottle that smell like smoke and pens.

  • Tyler

    Jesus, that introduction has to be one of the most pretentious ones I have seen on this site. Way to generalize the entire music industry..or at least your glamorized, hollywood, faux version of it.

    You could have very well just posted the top music festivals without standing on your soapbox and speaking of the industry when it’s rather obvious you don’t have the correct view of it.

  • Amrendra

    This list should have been labeled The top 10 summer music festivals of US. Why is that we are forcefully spoon fed with all this American stuff day after day. We are supposed to understand each and everything they do and say and on the other hand they ignore everything about the world. Looks like Jamie is now a days too busy and letting such a lovely site as Listverse (long long time fan of the site) die a natural death. I hope he reads this and becomes active once again.

  • Truth-Monger

    The keyword is subjectivity; not everyone can be accounted for by a single writer. To think otherwise is plain silly.

  • Johnny_Chimpo

    OK, the list is Americentric. However, what I’m hearing from many of the non-Americans is a bunch of puling and jingoism.

    Some of you are saying Americans are arrogant and others beat your chests and proudly proclaim the bands and fests from their country to be the best. Who are you crapping?

    How much better would this thread be if there was a true exchange of ideas? I guess that’s wishful thinking.

  • Bogle

    America is not the world.

  • Nikolle

    You clearly forgot Summerfest, It’s 11 days of music on the Lake Michigan shoreline in Milwaukee WI. June 29-July 10. There are over *700* posted bands this year.

    This year some of the big posted bands are George Clinton, Peter Gabriel, Kid Rock, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Sugarland (w/ Sara Barielles), The Black Keys (w/ Florence + the Machine & Cage the Elephant), Panic! and the Disco, Owl City, Maroon 5, Hinder, Sevendust, Buckcherry, and Def Leppard,

  • Ffiffisop

    Incredibly American orientated… As a lot of lists on this website do tend to be.

  • Niamh

    You should have called it the top ten US festivals. There are many FAR better festivals around the world, but of course, to you, America IS the world.

    Hence the ‘World Series’ of baseball not including any other country.

    It’s that kind of language, thinking you don’t even have to make the distinction, which tends to dig the stereotypes in our heads a wee bit more.

    • Woyzeck

      The World Series is named for The World newspaper which used to sponsor it. Do some fucking research before you allow this shit to “dig” your “stereotypes”.

    • Maggot

      Hence the ‘World Series’ of baseball not including any other country.

      This clichéd complaint is so lame, and why you’re dragging it into this list I have no idea. But since you did, and I hate to go on an off-topic rant here but – it’s just a name, don’t read so much into it. It was coined by a newspaper at a time when no countries outside the U.S. played the so-called “modern era” game, at least not to the competitive and organizational level of American professional players (with the possible exception of perhaps Cuba and other Latin teams), so the championship did in fact likely crown the best team in “the world”. Quite frankly, annual international competition would’ve been impractical then anyway, due to travel/distance logistics.

      The original name was “The Championship of the United States” btw, which itself is misconstrued, considering MLB was racially segregated until the ‘40s, so early “world champs” quite possibly may not have even been the best teams in the U.S. Anyway, now the name “World Series” just continues on as a matter of tradition, and no one pretends it is anything other than the insular MLB championship series. That all said, I bet you didn’t even know that there is an international Baseball World Cup played almost every year since 1938. So there is an avenue for the crowning of true “world champions”, as sanctioned by the International Baseball Federation, and has been for quite some time. Of course it’s not nearly as popular as the football/soccer, rugby, or cricket World Cups, but don’t blame the U.S. for that. No, you just want to whine about things that don’t matter.

      • fendabenda

        OK, you started this, Maggot…
        What about ice hockey? In America it seems that National Hockey League is the World Cup of ice hockey… but wait a second… it isn’t. Tonight the National Team of Finland won the IIHF World Cup against Sweden. And if I may add, in a match that was superior to any NHL game. I’m not whining, I would just like to point out the habit of Americans ignoring any sports or leagues that they suck at. Soccer is a case in point.

        • Maggot

          I would just like to point out the habit of Americans ignoring any sports or leagues that they suck at.

          Why is that a bad thing, really? Seriously, not being facetious here. No one can mandate what should be “popular” or not. If Americans aren’t rabid about some particular sport because we suck at it or whatever the reason, why are others so put off by that?

          Here’s another way of looking at it, with regard to sports that we arguably don’t suck at: track & field, gymnastics, swimming, and figure-skating. Other than at Olympics time, those are all pretty much relatively ignored here by the masses too. So your attributing the level of popularity being solely based on international suckage is not true Likewise, your claim that “In America it seems that National Hockey League is the World Cup of ice hockey” is just you projecting…no one here thinks that. Yes, the NHL is vastly more popular in the States than IIHF international play, but really – so the f.uck what? The “National” Hockey League is not comprised of only U.S. teams or players btw.

          Soccer is a case in point.

          Well I can only speak for myself here, but I ignore soccer because I think it is boring as hell.

        • gabi319

          Continuing the off topic but…

          It’d be better to compare NHL to KHL or the Swedish Elite League rather than comparing the NHL to the IIHF. Leagues verses Tournament. The NHL has teams that gel together during an 82 game season followed by the playoffs for the highly coveted Stanley Cup. The IIHF World Cup is a tournament that brings individual players from various teams and various leagues to play together for the duration of the tournament.

          But if you’re wondering about why the NHL Playoffs seem more popular than the IIHF World Cup here… a number of reasons. 1) Television coverage. Hockey isn’t one of the US’s “big sports”. The NHL barely gets coverage in probably 2/3 of the States which makes it that much harder to find Worlds on TV with any regularity. I’ve had to watch the Worlds by internet streams. Sometimes I luck out and get a feed in English. Most times not. 2) Different style of hockey. NHL has a smaller rink, faster, more chaotic, more physical while the Worlds has a bigger rink, more finesse, more chances for individual creativity. Different styles appeal to different folks and 3) The Hockey Players Preference. Ask them what they dreamed of when they were little and it was probably “Lift Lord Stanley’s Cup” rather than “Win a gold medal at Worlds” and that enthusiasm for the NHL playoffs rubs off on their fanbase.

          The NHL is considered the best hockey league in the world (not a cocky American saying this to be cocky. This is something that is agreed upon around the Hockey World. That’s the reason given when many hockey players from Europe are asked why they’ve come here to play) so that should hopefully produce some interesting hockey… of course I could be wrong since you’ve no doubt watched the hundreds of thousands of games since the NHL’s inception in order to correctly conclude this one worlds game superior to them all. I’m not whining, I’m just pointing things out as I see them.

          • fendabenda

            Thank you both for answering in a civilized manner.

            To Maggot:
            “Here’s another way of looking at it, with regard to sports that we arguably don’t suck at: track & field, gymnastics, swimming, and figure-skating. Other than at Olympics time, those are all pretty much relatively ignored here by the masses too.”

            That may be true, but in those sports there aren’t any big competitions except the Olympics, at least not internationally. Do you follow ski jumping regularly? Probably not, because only Europeans and Japanese don’t suck at it. On the other hand, do I follow NFL? No, because I find it boring as hell, just like you think soccer is boring.

            To gabi319:
            You are probably right in most of your opinions, except this: “since you’ve no doubt watched the hundreds of thousands of games since the NHL’s inception in order to correctly conclude this one worlds game superior to them all.”
            D’uh. Of course I haven’t seen every NHL game ever played, but neither have I seen every IIHF game. I was just saying that this particular game was pretty exciting.

          • Maggot

            but in those sports there aren’t any big competitions except the Olympics, at least not internationally.

            Aside from the fact that you are totally wrong about that, what difference would that make? You said Americans ignore sports we suck at. In addition to asking you why that is such a bad thing (which you neglected to explain), I showed that it’s not the only reason certain sports aren’t as popular here by countering with examples of other sports that Americans are pretty successful at, but that we also don’t pay much attention to. If you want an example of a sport that Americans are currently NOT very good at, but yet has a big American following, look no further than tennis.

            Do you follow ski jumping regularly?

            No. Why don’t you ask that same question to our Canadian, So. African, Australian, and Filipino Listverse friends? Why are only Americans subjected to your scorn for not regularly following some sport that is popular elsewhere?

            Probably not, because only Europeans and Japanese don’t suck at it.

            If Europeans also sucked at it (I mean always sucked at it), would you still follow it to the degree that you do? Are you saying that every sport known to man is regularly followed by your country’s sports fans? Since that’s not likely to be the case (and I’ll even spot you the gridiron football one), what are your or your countrymen’s reasons for not following a particular sport? Why are you entitled to those probably many different reasons, whatever they may be, but we Americans only get “because we suck at it”?

            On the other hand, do I follow NFL? No, because I find it boring as hell, just like you think soccer is boring.

            So why did you feel the need to tell me that? I didn’t bring it up. Funny how Americans generally don’t care that non-Americans dislike gridiron football. But conversely, everyone else sure likes to point out how worthless Americans are because we don’t like soccer.

          • Without getting too involved in this conversation, I would just like to say I agree especially with your last point. I have never heard a European (or any other non-American) for not liking American football. Funny how that works.

  • Forest

    Boring list. The best festivals are in Europe. Wacken and Sonsiphere. Where none of the mainstream music takes over the festivals.

    • fg

      Boring comment

      • Jefferson Airplane

        Boring reply

        • sdsv

          Boring way to belabor a joke.

  • Enter your comment here.

  • What about ultra sound?

  • fendabenda

    I would like to add the annual Roskilde rock festival in Roskilde, Denmark. That’s in Europe.

  • kathy

    Did anyone else find this list to be really pretentious?
    You know, there are lots of types of music out there, and most have their merits. Also, some musicians never get big for a reason. Just sayin.

    • fendabenda

      Hmmm.. I kind of agree, although I’m not sure what you mean exactly. “Some musicians never get big for a reason”… do you mean that they’re bad musicians? Do you think that someone like Lady Gaga or Kanye West deserve their fame and fortune, compared to a jazz musician who can actually PLAY, but who doesn’t get any radio play? Especially Kanye West has no talent at all, yet he’s rich and famous. Whazzup with that?

  • Matt

    Where’s the Warped Tour at!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • natapillar


  • Giuls

    Ever heard of Summer Jamboree? Surely it isn’t one of the top 10 music festival but it’s very nice anyway.
    It takes place in Senigallia – Italy – and is about ’40 and ’50s music and culture.
    Jerry Lee Lewis, Wanda Jackson, Chuck Berry, Stray Cats (to name a few) played there during the last years.
    If I were you I’d check it out (and not only because I work for it).

    • fendabenda

      Oh, wow! That sounds really cool! (Although I thought Chuck Berry was dead already… sorry Chuck!) More information, please! Where can I buy tickets and when exactly does this take place?

      • Giulis

        July 30th to August 7th 2011.
        This will be the 12th edition of the festival.
        Yet the line-up is a bit ‘secret’ make sure to check out on
        summerjamboree . com (hope this is not considered spam).
        And I forgot ti mention that the majority of the
        events are free of charge!

  • James___UK

    No Reading/Leeds? :D

  • Jamino

    Montreal Jazz Festival! Canada has some amazing festivals too you know.

  • Bob

    Try Either research or writing about something you know about.

  • Bob

    Reading through the comments is like reading through your grandparents talking to each other about iPhones on Facebook.

    • Giuls

      How I miss the thumbs… I would have given one to this comment

  • DGMdragunov

    Where the hell are the Sonisphere Festival, the Wacken Open Air, the Ozzrfest, and the Download Festival???

  • Nitefreak

    What about Summerfest?

  • Fernnn

    It’s spelled indie, not indy.

  • cv

    what about camp bisco and ultra music festival? both two of the most popular now

  • Brackus Studley

    Wheres Sonar? And Summerfest , well i guess Summerfest is too mainsream for the list but Sonar should be up there.

  • Johnny_Chimpo

    @fendabenda: I hate to continue this tangent, but you are dead wrong about ice hockey. The best ice hockey in the world is in the NHL, which is populated mostly by Canadian and then secondly by American players. Witness the Olympics and who battled for the Gold Medal. Witness which countries repeatedly face each other in World Championship games, both men and women.

  • Allegra

    No Warped Tour? Boo.

  • sniper

    Everyone knows the US is the best next to germany and ibiza. But u missed warped tour. Its the best…and y’all europeans need to get over the fact that a lot of lists are US based…fuck no one wants to hear u whine and complain cause ur wack country didn’t get listed. I assume an american wrote this that lives in america so yes its an american list. Fuck write ur own list if ur that offended

  • JordanElla

    I would also like to butt my nose in and add the Rhythm & Vines festival in Gisborne, NZ. Happens over New Years, which is our summer. Amazing venue (a vineyard) and we get a good mix of local and big name acts. See, the world isn’t evenly divided through the US/Europe/UK

  • Leah

    New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival… WAY better than Coachella.

  • nice blog!

    thanks for your information,i will listen those this summer :)

  • Ummmno.

    Summerfest? Hello? WORLDS BIGGEST MUSIC FESTIVAL is screamed out with the advertising every year. How could it not make this list? Seriously?

  • Dave T

    Ozzfest not on here?…

  • katy

    This list definitely had the opportunity to be diverse and therefore a lot more interesting. The best festival I have ever been to was Exit in Serbia, would recommend to anyone, set in a fortress, amazing. Also worth a visit is Melt! In berlin. By only including US ones, this list has missed the chance to highlight some little known but amazing festivals that everyone should go to.

    • fendabenda

      I have seen Srpski Film (A Serbian Film) by Srdjan Spasojevic. I will never grow big enough balls to ever go to Serbia after seeing that film.

  • sardo

    why rock am ring in germany was not included?

  • some guy

    Wow, you are extremely prejudiced towards music of any genre besides indie. Pretentious as fuck, and showcases everything wrong with the so-called indie “mentality”.

  • Emah

    Rhythm and Vines, Gisborne, New Zealand

  • Omniscientist

    Went to Mera Luna in Germany last year .. a niche festival for goth/industrial/neofolk – very great

    Their drugpolicy:

    Stay away from illegal substances. The whole Festival experience is quite surreal and gives your senses enough of a challenge just taking it all in. You might get very insecure, paranoid or distressed in large crowds.

  • Ralph

    Jazz Fest in New Orleans?!?! How do you miss that?

  • mel061970

    My favorite music festivals to attend are Jazzfest in New Orleans and Bayfest in Mobile, AL… 2 really great venues!!

  • JonAnscombe

    where is glastonbury.? reading? leeds? V festival?

  • Jimmy

    No Shambhala????

  • warlord

    What a rubbish list I am sorry to say. I’ve been to every festival in the UK and have been for twenty years. I despise the mainstream pop culture and most UK festivals deserve to be on this list. At least make a top 15 to include European ones? So biased, I think you should broaden your horizons a little. The only festival worthy of number one in my opinion is rock am ring in Germany. Check the lineup out for the last few years. Also downliad/donnington, reading/leeds and glastonbury deserve a mention. As does sziget in Hungary (a whole week of world class bands, probably should be number one actually)

  • I’ve been to Bonnaroo several times (before it got sucky) and must say it is truly the HOTTEST, muddiest festival out there.

  • Annie

    How could you forget about Jazz Fest???

  • Truth-Monger

    *Generic cynical comment cloaked in anonymity.
    **Information regarding what the author “forgot” to include because it doesn’t coincide 100% with your absolutely subjective perspective.
    ***Resentment because you’re European and the author isn’t, which inherently makes you feel excluded from this conversation
    ****Inability to just read something objectively for what is, a piece of writing, one author’s ostensible viewpoint

    • thegreatwhite

      I do agree with what you’re saying but I do prefer a list that only focuses on one region or one group of people to state that in the description some where. “Here are the top ten summer music festivals that I would reccomend in the USA” Kind of thing.

  • Ness2k

    Coachella is not a summer festivals. It’s a spring festival! And it’s really effing great.

  • flaming_frogurt

    Someone should make a list about German metal festivals. There’s a truckload of them.

  • Pedro

    Big Day Out!

  • powdershredder32

    Bamboozle or warped tour?

  • Name

    Needs Wacken and Hole in the Sky

  • Sam

    Oxegen in ireland gets nearly every day 100,000 people over 4days and glastonbury gets 150,000 people with 800 acts on 80 stages and has been goin, in some shape or form, since 1914. know it bein said below alot but are u serious u didn include either?

  • Thegreatwhite.

    I’m going to throw out festival d’ete de Quebec as a fun Canadian festival to go to. Over the course of more than a week there are big name ticketers such as Rush, Ramsteinne, Billy Talent, Black Eyed Peas (And that was only a few of 2010’s list) as well as many smaller bands over a half dozen stages around the old city. I can’t think of any festival I’ve been to where I’ve heard french folk music next to american pop with mongolian throat singing, african tribal and a little bit of classics rolled in next to eachother. Definitely a place to check out.

  • festitravler

    wakarusa, summercamp, gathering of the vibes, ultra, etc….you are missing every good festival here man

  • wow… alot of people are very partial to their sweaty unsanitary preferred festivals…

  • Frank

    what about tomorrowland????????

    that a sick music fest

  • Max


    Also, why didn’t Ibiza make the cut?

  • God, this list blows.

    No doubt I would love to attend many of these festivals, including those excluded (yet brought up in comments, even if by butthurt fanboys). But the opening paragraph rails against popular music controlled by corporate suits and their endless marketing, then the entries ramble on about so-and-so-big-name-band’s “unforgettable” live performance. The people who put together these fests are no better than those record execs: They go to great lengths to make it known that Arcade Fire or (insert current hipster heartthrob) is headlining, and that that’s what’s drawing in the crowds.

    “Independent” music is no different than the “mainstream.” Nowadays, to me, it’s almost impossible to tell the difference. Fuck you, Pitchfork. FUCK YOU.

    Also: Yeah, everyone is right. There is even more to be found outside American borders.

    Rant over.

  • rikki

    I live in Washington. I’ve been to George, WA, but never to Sasquatch. It sells out pretty fast :/

    I did go to Bumbershoot in 2006 though. It has a great atmosphere, and lots of really fun stuff to do.

  • Demon

    Ryan Thomas I cannot respect you, you haven’t even listed Metalcamp yet you list all these events that are mainstream as f**k. Why not actually post good [email protected]


    Coachella. Birthplace of idiots, liberal fags, and the naked hippie!!!!!

  • Name

    Please re-name this list.

    Top 10 festivals based on my personal limited taste in music.

  • Henry Soggin

    Do we have to go to the US for a music festival? Surely there are other parts of the world where people go. Maybe not? But I secretly think there are.

  • GreenEyedMonsta

    The author of this piece (and another posted today) does seem to write more for himself than for the readers. Don’t get all het up about it. Just accept that whatever he writes is not meant for you to read and enjoy but is merely a medium for him to express his obvious distaste for the world. Move onto another article and let the guy stew in his own bile.

  • BOB

    ummmm Jazzfest in New Orleans!!!???

  • archangel

    In an objective sense, the list itself was not bad. However, the titling of the list suggested otherwise to its content which does have only US summer music festivals. Whilst perhaps it can be argued that the best summer music festivals are in the US, it’s more likely that this is not the case, and other such festivals should have been added. Furthermore, the Indy-ness was not in the title, which further misrepresented the list to come (although it is true that most summer music festivals are Indy). Perhaps the title should have been better of as ToP 10 US Indy Summer Music Festivals.

  • A.N. Old-Hippy

    Stonehenge and Burning Man for the real deal you bunch of weekend hippys!!
    The rest (except Woodstock maybe) are commercial marketing tools.
    Glastonbury sucks satans todger now as well unfortunately.
    Best to organise your own, saves having gaga or bieber turn up :)

  • n0nd1scrimin8nt

    What about Street Scene (San Diego,CA)?

  • Jen

    Summerfest Milwaukee, WI

  • caljake


  • bkbkbk

    There must come a time in most American’s lives where they realise that there is a world outside America.

  • Hertzum

    wherr are all the europran festivals? Im Danish, and I think Roskilde is, if not europe’s, thwen Scandinavia’s biggest festival with around 40000-50000 guests.

  • cloeeb

    There are music festivals outside of the US..glastonbury, reading, hop farm festival, secret garden party to name a few in the UK, and the International festival in benicassim in spain is brilliant- the strokes, arcade fire, the stranglers, beirut are akl playing this year….and i know that live 8 was all around the world, but also in America.

  • Taniesha

    where is the Vans Warped Tour? its been going on since like 1995 and so many amazing bands have played it…..

  • Andrew

    I do believe Wacken Open Air has one of the highest attendances in the world. Also a notable festival from the other side of the world, Australia, is the Sunbury festival in the 60’s.

  • Name

    Enter your comment here.

  • Name

    have you even BEEN to England?

  • arsonistsgetallthegirls

    Where’s Download? and Big Day Out? and Reading? and Sonisphere? and Wacken?

  • :/

    Avett Brothers, not Avette Brothers. Number 7.

  • I am the jackal

    ATP, anyone?

  • Aaron


  • yourtasteiscock

    Duran Duran mentioned thirce times? yeah….great list……

  • Norberto121

    Is it only a compliation of Us festivals. Would be good to see here the hungarian music festival in Budapest in every august attracts more 500 000 people per occassion.

  • Erik

    No Vans Warped Tour? That tour is what made Mike Posner famous

  • LY FRO

    i feel that burning man should deserve a place on here…

  • Bob

    Awww Americans hiding in Americas ignorance, like feeder rats at a pet store.

  • Julia

    Excuse me, where’s Glastonbury? how can any list of top music festivals be complete without Glastonbury?

  • NZsummerisawesome

    Rhythm and Vines NZ!!

  • K

    I didn’t know “Indie rock” was the only “real” kind of music. I guess those idiots that like jazz, classical, and blues are just dumbasses that don’t understand Jack White’s keen intellect.

    • K

      P.S. The limited scope of this list would give a real musician a flipping heart attack. All festivals are in the U.S. and feature popular independent acts. How can someone complain about the limited scope of fans that like pop garbage and then write about nothing but indie pop acts that might be greater than Kesha but would be laughed out of a room of classical music intellectuals?

  • Brandi Dewberry

    Ummm as lame as it is Warped Tour should have been on here… I mean, seriously teens break their parents wallets to make that tour!

  • Kylle

    The biggest music festival on the planet is the “ROCK IN RIO”, that currently takes place in the cities of Lisbon, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro (obvious). In the latest edition (Rio, this year), brought together 700 million people in seven days of celebration. “Rock City”, the Rock in Rio’s places in Rio, Madrid and Lisbon are the most modern structures for festivals around the world .

  • Kaitlyn

    How is All Good not on here? big mistake not including it

  • errol

    bit narrow-minded this one. should maybe rename “Top 10 US Music Festivals”…

  • Name


  • How about the annual Castle Donnington heavy metal festival held every year

  • alaina

    splendour in the grass… though it’s shit expensive

  • Jenna

    Voodoo Festival in New Orleans is not on here!!

  • Rabbit

    Milwaukee’s SUMMERFEST!

  • Definitely a distinct lack of British festivals in this list.

    Even places like Creamfields, Global Gathering, they may be music fesitivals that don’t appeal to the masses (They are mainly Dance, Drum & Bass, Dubstep) but they are still epic!

  • Jim

    Pfft they look terrible. Go look at secret garden party for a proper BRITISH festival

  • Marcus

    You missed shambhala. Shambhala is the best music festival. I’ve been to a few of these and Shambhala was 10X better.

    • Sammy

      Sasquatch was great. I can’t wait for next year. I just found out about a new Penticton Music Festival called rock the peach can’t wait to see the lineup.

  • :D

    There’s also Roskilde in Denmark but these are all American festivals…

  • Kevin

    Great Folk Music….

    Check this out this summer

  • MA3GO0

    Great descriptions of all the festivals. Solid list!


  • peter8172

    Does anybody know if The Castle Donnington Music Festival held in England still exists ??

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  • tobi0578

    where is the Roskilde festival??

  • Luis

    I’m curios as to why Rock The Bells was omitted??

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  • Donkey

    Foreign Music is dirt beneath my feet, I’d rather hear my mother get raped with a razorblade for 2 hours than listen to one song of European music.