2020 Music Festival Guide

2020 is here and so are this year’s music festival lineups! We are just a few short weeks away from music festival season! Sun, fun, good music and good vibes awaits you at the festival of your choice. Music festival season known to others as summer, is my absolute fave. I have been to over 12 different mid to large-scale music festivals over 25 times. That’s not including local music festivals, outdoor concerts and shows. You could say, I like music festivals and know a thing or two about them!

The below guide includes tips for the festivals that I’ve been to and aspirations for the ones I plan to attend this year. Each festival has the same details for easy comparison. No matter your region there is a music festival just a drive away from you. This is not an exhaustive list that would be wayyyyy too much for me to write. The good thing about festivals is, you can pick your flavor. What city, what size, what time of year, what kind of lineup, it’s basically build your own experience.

Which of the below festivals are you attending this year? Do you think I should add one to the list? Let me know in the comments section.

DISCLAIMER: GA pass prices are as of 1/6/2020and may change/be sold out depending on when you view. 

Okeechobee

March 5-8, Okeechobee, FL GA Passes: $279 On-Site Camping: Yes Highlights: Aquachobee, a daytime swimming, hanging & music hang zone

This is the first large-scale festival of the year. I’ve never been, but all of the pictures, testimonies and videos are either amazing marketing or this festival is truly wonderful. I mean it has a beach and swimming hole in the camping center! It’s on my list next year for sure. I like festivals that truly build community and they seem to have done that. This year’s headliners include Bassnectar, Vampire Weekend, Mumford & Sons and Rufus du Sol.

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SXSW

March 13-22, Austin, TX GA Passes: Varies for Conference and Festival On-Site Camping: No Highlights: 10 days of Film, Music, Comedy, parties and showcases

I really hope I can go to SXSW this year. I’ve tried other years and it didn’t work out. In case I go, I’ve been doing a lot of research and asking SXSW veterans. If I go, I will be going the last weekend, which I heard is the best.  Essentially, you can get into most of the presentations by simply RSVPing on the site. For the parties and official concerts you need a pass. Those will cost you a hefty fee. Good news, there are lots of unofficial stages and parties around Austin that will be packed and still have artists and celebrities.

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Ultra

March 20-22, Miami FL GA Passes: $399 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: Miami!!! One of my favorite cities. Reason enough to go

I’ve always wanted to go to Ultra, but I don’t know if I can hang anymore. I’ve heard mixed reviews which is part of the reason I haven’t. Honestly, I prefer eclectic festivals and this is def just a rave in downtown Miami. It’s held at Bayfront Park. If that sounds like a good time to you, go for it. I’ve heard it can get really dirty and very crowded as well. If that happens, you can always escape down to the beach. This year’s headliners include ZEDD, Major Lazer and Afro Jack. If you can keep up, this is the fest for you.

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Coachella 

April 10-12 & April 17-19 Indio, CA GA Passes: SOLD OUT weekend 1 On-Site Camping: Yes
Highlights: Two weekends, amazing campground fun

Coachella Weekend 1 has been sold out for a few weeks, but you can still get overpriced tickets on resale sites like StubHub. I am going Weekend 1 and this will be my 6th year. I normally go Weekend 2, but my friend and I decided to switch it up this year. Coachella always has the best artists and very eclectic bill. Beyond the music, the food and art help enhance the experience. I suggest camping as it makes the experience more memorable and cost-effective. Pretty sure everyone knows who is headlining, lol! If you are planning on going, be sure to check out my Coachella Planning Guide.

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Something in the Water Fest 

April 20-26, Virginia Beach, VA GA Passes: $250 On-Site Camping: No

This is Pharrell William’s fest in case you haven’t heard (I’m sure you have). Straight from the SITW website “Pharrell will expand upon the week by once again bringing the best of the world back to Virginia Beach, including the brightest minds from the culinary world, technology, environmental sustainability, health & wellness, media, starting Monday, April 20th.” Pharrel is bringing all of his friends including A$AP Rocky, Chance the Rapper, BANKS, Clipse and LANY.

Beale Street Music Festival 

May 1-3, Memphis, TN GA Passes: $125 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: The culture of Beale Street and the show is by the river

The BSMF is part of Memphis’ month long celebration “Memphis in May”. This festival always has incredible lineups. I went for the first time last year as a guest of Budlight. Read my full recap here. I had a blast because Beale Street..duh. That’s the great thing, you get the festival and then all of the other wonderfulness of Memphis. Memphis has lots of new rooftops, bars and restaurants you can visit during your stay. This year’s headliners for the fest include Lil Wayne, Three 7 Mafia, The Lumineers and Leon Bridges.

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Rolling Loud Festival

March 8-10, Miami, FL GA Passes: $249 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: For the price, you really just get the music and Miami

I went to Rolling Loud Miami for the first time in 2019 with a group of friends. Read my mixed review here. It was very interesting to say the least. I will say they’re still a new festival and definitely still have a lot to learn. The Miami lineup has not been announced. I’m sure it will be good. It’s a traveling festival in various US cities and the biggest hip hop festival we have. That’s why I had high hopes in 2019 and still have high hopes in 2020. I’ll let you know if I make it make this year.

 

Hangout

May 14-17, Gulf Shores, AL GA Passes: SOLD OUT On-Site Camping: No, condos Highlights: Shows on the beach, nightly beach bonfires

I’ve been to Hangout Music Fest twice and I’ve been craving to go back ever since I was last there in 2018. Hangout is one of my faves and read why here. It was one of my best festival experiences. I went in 2012 and 2018 and I still vividly remember the magic of the shows on the beach and late night vibes at the beach bonfires. It’s so nice waking up to the sound of the ocean and then heading to your favorite set. Highly recommended. GA is sold out, but you can get tickets on 3rd party websites.

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Soundset

May 3, Minneapolis, MN GA Passes: ~$90 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: Great local hip-hop artists

Although this is a one day festival, you get a lot of great artists in that day. Soundset focused on hip-hop and was started by Minnesota native, rapper artist, Atmosphere. The 2020 lineup has not been announced. I’ve been twice and had a great time each year. The only really downside was the weather. It somehow rains every year. So pack a poncho.

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Bonnaroo

June 11-14, Manchester, TN GA Passes: $319 On-Site Camping: Yes Highlights: Another great community and THE FOUNTAIN

Roo! One of my faves as it just so happens to be the first festival I went to back in 2011. There truly is something magical about Bonnaroo and the community they have created. Everything from hi-five Fridays and radiate positivity sticks with you long after the festival is over. It’s also one of the nation’s only four day festivals. This year’s headliners are being announced on January 7. I do miss the day’s when a camping pass was included, but passes are now separate making this one of the most expensive festivals this year.

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Essence Music Festival

July 1-5, New Orleans, LA GA Passes: $150 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: Bourbon Street!

2020 headliners have not been announced. You’re sure to have a soulful good time at this festival. This festival is more family friendly and certainly caters tot the more mature crowd. If you’re looking for a laid back, good time, I suggest this festival.

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Forecastle

July 17-19, Louisville, KY GA Passes: $169 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: The Bourbon Lodge. The best bourbon is made there

This is a very affordable festival. This year’s headliners have not been announced. Hoping to make the short 2 hour drive up from Nashville this year. I don’t know anyone that has gone, but seems to be a fun, well put together fest. Let me know if you’ve gone before.

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Pitchfork

July TBD, Chicago, IL GA Passes: Varies for Conference and Festival On-Site Camping: $175
Highlights: Downtown Chicago and the beach are steps away

I’ve been to Pitchfork once. It was very low-key and we bought our one day pass  the day of. This is another very affordable festival. This festival caters to the indie crowd and while there are a few big names, it’s more for up and coming artists as well as a lot of great local talent. The 2020 dates and lineup have not been announced.

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Lollapalooza

July 30-August 2, Chicago, IL GA Passes: Not Confirmed Yet On-Site Camping: No Highlights: Great lineup and views of the Chicago skyline at sunset

Lolla was still a 3 day festival the last time I went. This will be its 4th year as a 4 day fest. You stay in hotels and it’s Chicago so you have to book early. It’s easy to get around with the train, but they are going to be overwhelmingly crowded. The lineup hasn’t been announced yet. Lolla now has festivals all over the world and they always get the top artists. In recent years, this festival has catered to a younger crowd.

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AfroPunk

August 25-26, Varies GA Passes: $105 On-Site Camping: No Highlights: 10 days of Film, Music, Comedy, parties and showcases

AfroPunk has festivals in Brooklyn, Atlanta and London. Brooklyn is probably the most well-known and well-attended. Check back for dates and details.

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Music Midtown

Sept 12-13 2020 Dates Not Confirmed and lineup not announced, Atlanta, GA GA Passes: TBD On-Site Camping: No
Highlights:

Life is Beautiful

September 18-20, Las Vegas, NV GA Passes: $200+ On-Site Camping: No Highlights: VEGAS BABY! And the art is dope

2017 was my first year going and man on man, it was amazing! I went back last year with Bacardi and had another amazing time. The festival includes a conference portion and then music in downtown Las Vegas. We did a hotel/pass combo which I highly recommend. Check out my 2017 recap here. 2019 recap is also on the main page. Lineup has not been announced yet.

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Pilgrimage Festival

September TBD, Franklin, TN GA Passes: $275 On-Site Camping: No Highlights:

Austin City Limits

Oct 2-4 & Oct 9-11 Austin, TX GA Passes: Varies for Conference and Festival On-Site Camping: No
Highlights: Beautiful backdrop of Austin skyline and the food!

 

I’ve been once in 2016 and hope to go back this year. I have a friend that just moved there so another excuse to visit Austin. It was a wonderful experience. It’s two weekends so kinda like the Coachella of the South. But it’s much more laid back than Coachella and you certainly get the Southern vibe throughout it.

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VoodDoo Music Festival

October 30- November 1, New Orleans, LA GA Passes: TBD On-Site Camping: No Highlights: Halloween weekend on Bourbon Street, Art & Culture

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If it’s your first time to a music festival, be sure to check out my Music Festival Starter Kit. Are you going to any festivals you think I’m missing? Put it in the comments below. Also, let me know which ones you plan to attend in 2020 or another year. I hope each of you has a fun and safe festival experience no matter where you end up. Happy Festival Season!

love, 

Leigh 

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