Our favorite season is here! For most music lovers festival season beats out Christmas for the most wonderful time of the year slot. We may not have Coachella, but the Southeast has managed to snag some pretty amazing festivals including the world renowned Tomorrowworld, Bonnaroo, and Hangout. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of lineups and new festivals popping up every week, which is why AMG has pulled together our top picks for summer music festivals that need to be on your calendar! So grab your flowered headbands, tie dye, and hula hoops and get ready for the best summer of your life!
April 25th-27th in Kingston Downs, Georgia
The much anticipated Counterpoint Festival is back with a different location and a new springtime date, and we really could not be more excited! Previously located in the Chattahoochee Hills, where Tomorrowworld now calls home, this year the festival will be in Kingston Downs, Georgia. The first year of the festival gave us an all EDM lineup, which was amazing, but this year organizers have thrown in some really amazing jam and “jamtronica” acts to mix things up including STS9, Moon Taxi, and The Revivalists. And let’s not forget festival headliner, Outkast, (you may remember them) who will be returning home to Atlanta for one of their first stops on their massive festival circuit schedule for the summer. Other artist highlights include Krewella, Big Gigantic, Above & Beyond, and Major Lazer. Check out our Road to Counterpoint blog series.
Oh and fun fact, your very own AMG writer (aka me, Halina) happens to be in the picture below from last year’s festival. We will find something to giveaway to the reader who correctly identifies her (s.w.a.g alert!).
Pro Tips: You will definitely want to carpool! Traffic in Atlanta is bad enough as we all know it, plus you’ll be eligible to win awesome prizes through the “Carpool to Counterpoint” contest!
April 23rd-27th in Asheville, North Carolina
Since 2008, Moogfest Synthesis of Technology, Arts, and Music festival has been a ground-breaking gathering celebrating the innovation of electronic music. The festival is five days long and broken into day and night activities taking place in the heart of charming Asheville, North Carolina. Moogfest is packed with panels, workshops, installations, and showcases in addition to famed day-presenters such as Giorgio Moroder, David X. Cohen, Nick Zinner, and Janelle Monae. When the sun goes down the fun continues with performances from Pet Shop Boys, M.I.A., Dillon Francis, Flying Lotus, Zeds Dead, 3 Concerts from Kraftwerk 3D, and so much more! Check back next week with AMG for coverage of the first two days of Moogfest 2014!
Festival Tip: If you haven’t already booked your hotel for the festival, DO IT NOW! There are plenty of great hotels located right in the heart of the festival within walking distance that can be found here. The festival takes place over more than 10 different venues, and you will have a much better time being able to walk everywhere rather to have to drive to and from your hotel.
May 2nd-4th in Memphis, Tennessee
The 2014 Beale Street Music Festival lineup is easily one of the most diverse of the festival season with Snoop Lion, Kid Rock, Pretty Lights, Patti LaBelle, The Alabama Shakes, and a whole lot more. The event is held at Tom Lee Park, a beautiful 25 acre riverfront location at the foot of historic Beale Street in Downtown Memphis. A three day pass is only $85 dollars, an unheard of price for festival tickets that normally will cost you right around $200 or more!
Pro Tip: Take advantage of the free phone charging stations. Your battery will die after a day of taking photos and videos. Save yourself the agony or having no way to reach your friends or get back to your hotel later that night!
May 9th-11th in Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta’s very own Atlantic Station will be hosting a rocking festival next month featuring The National, The Alabama Shakes, Modest Mouse, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Spoon, The Gaslight Anthem, and plenty of other killer bands. The stages will be located on the lower lots of Atlantic Station, and we don’t have to tell you twice that it would probably be a good idea to take a cab or MARTA to avoid parking and traffic congestion. Since no one is ever ready to go home once the festival gates close there will be several Shaky Knees sponsored Late Night Shows to hit once the party ends at Atlantic Station. Atlanta’s favorite club venues, The EARL, Terminal West, The Masquerade, and Center Stage will all be keeping the party going post-festival.
Pro Tip: Download the Shaky Knees Mobile App in order to make the most of your festival experience! It provides up to the minute info on the festival, maps of the stages, and will keep you from missing any sets with your custom built schedule.
May 16th-18th in Gulf Shores, Alabama
A music festival on the beach. It really doesn’t get much better than that! Hangout is one of the most well organized festivals I have ever attended. You will rarely find a city that embraces their town being taken over by tourists and hippies for a week, but Gulf Shores locals actually have all good things to say about this particular event. This is the perfect festival for first timers because you get to head back to your hotel at the end of the day, get a shower, and sleep in air conditioning! However there is camping available near the festival grounds for those festie pros trying to save a few bucks. This year’s lineup includes The Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast (again), Jack Johnson, Queens of the Stone Age, and many more!
Pro Tip: Get a shuttle pass! There are stops close to all the main condos, and I never once had to wait for one to arrive. The buses are clean and there is virtually no parking near the festival so this really is your best option.
May 30th-31st in Blackstock, South Carolina
This May, in a field smack dab between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina, Blackstock Music Festival will draw 10,000 jam band lovers to the small pastures of Blackstock. For a South Carolina festival this lineup is pretty amazing with Leftover Salmon, Galactic, Papadosio, Boombox, Toubab Krewe, Dopapod, and the Revivalists making the roster. Tickets are a big pricey for only a two day fest with General Admission Gate Prices hitting $160. Despite the high ticket prices Blackstock has the potential to be a great festival, but since it’s such a new event only time will tell.
Pro Tip: This is a great festival to hit if you work a 9 to 5. The first big set doesn’t start until 11:30 p.m. Friday night, so you could either make the quick four hour drive right after work or take a half day so that you’re not rushed while traveling. Either way you’re back early Sunday with a day to recover before you have to head back to your desk.
June 12th-15th in Manchester, Tennessee
“The Farm” where Bonnaroo lives is truly a magical place. Nearly 100,000 people come together to create a community like no other, radiating positivity, and living by the “Bonnaroovian Code“. It’s an experience that everyone should have at least once in their lives. Bonnaroo is a wonderfully overwhelming, life changing experience that teaches you how to better respect your peers, nature and all in all be a better person. Heading to “the Farm” this year will be Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Lionel Richie, a Super Jam with Skrillex and Friends, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Pro Tip: Bring battery powered fans for your tent! It is a VERY hot festival. You’re sweated out of your tent right around 7:30 a.m., but after staying at the late night shows until 4 or 5 a.m. you’re going to have a pretty miserable day if you don’t snag a few more hours of sleep. When it gets too hot to bear at the campground head to Centeroo, find some shade, and sneak in a few more hours of downtime!
September 26th-28th in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia
Closing out festival season is the 2nd annual Tomorrowworld festival, tucked away right at home in the Chattahoochee Hills of Georgia. Stemming from its world-renown mother festival in Belgium, Tomorrowland, Tomorrowworld is the U.S. version of the European fairytale. These festivals are like no other on the planet with mind blowing decorations, a magical and interactive adventure narrated by the massive storybook on the main stage, and of course the biggest names in electronic music. It really is something special that of anywhere in the world this franchise chose Atlanta to host their expansion and second home. The festival is 21 and up, cutting down on the all too common occurrence of middle schoolers ruining your time. I’m getting chill bumps just thinking about it. I highly recommend closing out your summer by living this fairytale for a few days. You won’t believe it until you see it.
Pro Tip: You can’t camp next to your car so pack light and bring a big wagon to carry your belongings to and from your vehicle. Also start packing up before Monday morning. You are going to be in no mood to haul everything back to your car after several long days of raging, so do it in shifts!
Is your favorite festival missing from this list? Let us know in the comment section!