Best Music Festivals in the US in 2023
Location: Empire Polo Club, Coachella Valley, California
Festival dates: Apr14 - 23, 2023 (two weekends)
This curated list walks you through 13 of the best music festivals in the US in 2023 and lets you know how to book your tickets for your favourite festival.
The US is home to some of the most iconic music festivals in the world. From Coachella to Lollapalooza to Woodstock, some of the biggest landmark festivals in the history of music were born in the US.
In this article, we delve into the 13 most iconic American music festivals in 2023, providing you with an in-depth look at the unique experiences and musical talents that make each even the best music festival of its kind.
Each festival has its own distinct flavour, and celebrates creativity, artistic expression, and community spirit in its own style. Without further ado, here’s our curated list:
Location: Empire Polo Club, Coachella Valley, California
Festival dates: Apr14 - 23, 2023 (two weekends)
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, commonly known as Coachella, is one of the most famous music festivals in the US. This year’s event was held on two weekends of April 14 and April 23, attracting over 125,000 attendees each weekend.
The festival is known for its unique setting, art installations, and diverse line-up of more than 100 artists from various genres.
The festival has hosted some memorable performances over the years from artists such as Radiohead, Beyoncé, Kendrick Lamar, and Daft Punk.
This year’s Coachella was headlined by Bad Bunny, BLACKPINK, Frank Ocean, Skrillex, Fred Again, Four Tet among other big names.
In addition to the incredible music lineup, Coachella is renowned for its vibrant visual arts displays, featuring large-scale interactive art installations and sculptures created by world- renowned artists.
Fashion is also an important part of the Coachella experience. The festival's celebrity attendees and high-profile performances often make headlines, further contributing to Coachella's status as a cultural phenomenon.
The Sybarite is a preferred ticketing partner for the Coachella Music Festival. To book your tickets, get in touch with us along with your details, and we’ll get back to you at the earliest.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Festival dates: Aug 3 - 6, 2023
The quaintly named Lollapalooza is a four-day music festival that takes place in Chicago's Grant Park every August. Founded by Perry Farrell in 1991, the festival is one of the longest running music festivals in the US.
It has evolved from its alternative rock roots to encompass a diverse range of musical genres, including rock, hip-hop, electronic, and pop music.
With the iconic Chicago skyline as its backdrop, Lollapalooza attracts approximately 400,000 music fans each year, making it one of the largest music festivals in the US. Past headliners have included legendary acts like Arctic Monkeys, The Weeknd, and Jack White, as well as more recent stars such as Billie Eilish and Post Malone.
The 2023 event will offer performances from Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, ODESZA, Lana Del Ray, and many more.
The music festival features multiple stages with each displaying its unique character and atmosphere. Lollapalooza also hosts a variety of food vendors, art installations, and interactive activities, ensuring there's something for everyone to enjoy.
Lollapalooza's commitment to sustainability and community engagement is evident through its various initiatives, including a recycling program, water refill stations, and partnerships with local non-profit organisations.
The festival also offers a platform for social activism and education through its Lolla Cares program, which highlights various causes and organisations aimed at making a positive impact.
As for its unusual name, it comes from a long-forgotten 19th century American phrase meaning an extraordinary person, event, or instance. The Lollapalooza surely is one.
Location: Manchester, Tennessee
Festival dates: Jun 14 - 18, 2023
Bonnaroo is a four-day event held annually in June at Great Stage Park, a 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee.
The festival takes its name from the French words bonne meaning good, and rue meaning street, thus roughly translating to “the best on the streets”. It is playfully misspelt as Bonnaroo, and in line with its jovial, impish character, events and venues at the festival are often named to rhyme with ‘roo.
So, for instance, the main camping ground at the festival is called Outeroo, a blend word derived from outer space and ‘roo. Similarly the centre stage is called Centeroo, while attending the festival itself is called “doing the ‘Roo”.
Since its inception in 2002, the festival has become a favourite destination for music enthusiasts seeking a diverse lineup of artists in a welcoming and communal atmosphere.
Bonnaroo showcases a variety of music genres, including rock, indie, hip-hop, electronic, and more, hosting around 80,000 attendees each year.
Past performers at Bonnaroo music festival have included legendary artists such as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, U2, and Elton John. In recent years, contemporary favourites such as Lana Del Rey, Tame Impala, Mumford and Sons, Eminem and Lizzo are some of the big names to have graced its stages.
The festival's multiple stages offer a continuous flow of performances, ensuring there's always something exciting for fans. This year’s headliners include world renowned acts like Foo Fighters, Kendrick Lamar, Paramore, Lil Nas X, Sheryl Crow, and many more.
Bonnaroo's experience extends beyond just the music. Attendees can also participate in workshops, attend yoga classes, and even take a dip in the festival's water sports attractions.
Sustainability and community engagement are one of the key components of the Bonnaroo ethos. For instance, initiatives such as the Refill Revolution encourage festival-goers to use reusable water bottles, and the Bonnaroo Works Fund supports local and national non-profit organisations.
The festival's emphasis on environmental responsibility and social impact enhances its reputation as a forward-thinking and inclusive event.
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Festival dates: May 19 - 21, 2023
If you’re an electronic dance music fan, this is a festival you would not want to miss. The Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is the largest electronic music festival in North America.
Originally founded in Los Angeles in 1997, EDC has since expanded to multiple locations worldwide, with its flagship event in Las Vegas drawing over 400,000 attendees.
Thus, even though EDC events are now regularly held in countries as far away as Brazil, Japan, and India, its home remains the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, which also hosts other mega events such as NASCAR Cup Series and the AMA Superbike Championships.
Apart from some of the best electronic dance music, Electric Daisy Carnival is renowned for its extravagant production, featuring stunning stages with state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, as well as pyrotechnics, carnival rides, LED lit flora and fauna, and immersive art installations.
The festival's lineup boasts some of the biggest names in electronic dance music, with past headliners including Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix, and Calvin Harris. This year’s EDC Las Vegas line-up consists of Alison Wonderland, David Guetta, Marshmello, 12th Planet, Chris Lake, Marshmallow, Lane 8, and Martin Garrix to name a few.
EDC’s ethos revolve around the principles of peace, love, unity, and respect (PLUR). Electric Daisy Carnival also emphasises sustainability and social responsibility, with initiatives such as waste diversion efforts, energy-efficient lighting, and partnerships with non-profit organisations that promote mental health awareness and environmental conservation.
Location: Austin, Texas
Festival dates: Oct 6 - 15, 2023
Austin City Limits (ACL) is a two-weekend music festival held annually in October at Zilker Park in the heart of Austin city, Texas. Inspired by the long-running PBS television series of the same name, ACL has grown into a premier music event since its inception in 2002.
The festival features more than 130 bands that perform across eight stages and attracts over 450,000 visitors each year.
The festival's diverse line-up spans various genres, including rock, indie, country, folk, electronic, and hip-hop, showcasing both established acts and emerging talent. Past performers at ACL have included The Eagles, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Amy Winehouse, and The Flaming Lips among others.
This year’s line-up include acts like Gorillaz, Taylor Swift, Drake, Blink-182, Tame Impala, Rosalía, Lil Nas X, and more.
In addition to its stellar musical line-up, the music festival also offers a variety of experiences for festival-goers including the Art Market, where local and national artists showcase their work, and Austin Eats, which features a selection of the city's best food trucks and vendors.
The festival also includes a dedicated area for children called Austin Kiddie Limits, offering family-friendly activities and entertainment.
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Festival dates: Jun 29 - Jul 3, 2023
Essence Festival is an annual celebration of African American culture held in New Orleans during the first weekend of July. The event, also known as "the party with a purpose”, began in 1994 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of Essence magazine and has since grown into one of the largest cultural gatherings in the US. Each year, it attracts around 500,000 attendees.
The choice of New Orleans as a venue is no accident, as the city is the birthplace of jazz and rhythm and blues, two musical genres that originated out of African American communities in New Orleans in the early 20th century.
The music festival celebrates this rich musical legacy of the African American community by showcasing the best contemporary jazz, hip-hop, and R&B.
Past performers at the Essence Festival have included Prince, Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys, LL Cool J, Luther Vandross, Ashanti, and Kanye West to name a few. This year’s lineup consists of acts like Megan Thee Stallion, Missy Elliot, Ludacris, Lil John, and others.
In addition to the music, the Essence Festival offers an array of educational experiences, such as panel discussions, workshops, and keynote speeches led by prominent figures in the African American community. Topics covered at the festival include health and wellness, entrepreneurship, and social justice.
The Essence Music Festival also highlights the rich culinary and artistic traditions of New Orleans as local food vendors and artisans showcase their talents throughout the event. The festival's vibrant atmosphere and sense of community make it a unique and memorable experience for those who attend.
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
Festival dates: Jul 28 - 30, 2023
The Newport Folk Festival is an iconic music festival steeped in American folk music history. It is held annually in late July at Fort Adams State Park in Newport, Rhode Island. Established in 1959 as a sister festival of the more popular Newport Jazz Festival, the festival has played a crucial role in reviving American folk music.
It has since expanded its focus to include a diverse range of genres, such as indie, Americana, and bluegrass.
With a setting overlooking the beautiful Narragansett Bay, the Newport Folk Festival attracts around 10,000 attendees per day and offers an intimate and relaxed atmosphere compared to the high-energy vibe of larger festivals.
The festival's line-up is known for its emphasis on collaboration and surprise performances, with past artists including the icons of modern American folk music such as Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Joni Mitchell. This year’s exciting line-up includes legendary bands like Los Lobos to up-and-coming acts such as Maggie Rogers and Billy Strings.
The music festival is also committed to social and environmental causes. The Newport Festivals Foundation, the non-profit organisation behind the event, supports music education programs, social initiatives, and environmental projects, ensuring the festival's positive impact extends beyond the weekend.
Besides enjoying folk and country music, attendees at the Newport Folk Music Festival can also taste Rhode Island’s unique culture as the festival showcases local food vendors, artisans, and craftermen.
Location: San Francisco, California
Festival dates: Aug 11 - 13, 2023
Outside Lands is a three-day music festival held annually in August at the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California. It attracts over 70,000 attendees over each of its three days, making it the biggest music festival on the West Coast. It is also ranked as among the highest grossing music festivals in the world, with the 2022 event generating over $33.9 million in ticket sales.
A relatively new entrant among American music festivals, it was first held in 2008, with Radiohead being the star attraction of the inaugural event. The festival's multiple stages offer a range of performance styles and settings, from intimate wooded areas to grand, open-air venues. This year’s line-up consists of acts like Lana Del Ray, Megan Thee Stallion, The 1975, and Orville Peck among others.
Beyond the music, Outside Lands is known for reflecting the vibrant culture of the San Francisco Bay Area. The festival's "Taste of the Bay Area" program showcases local food vendors, while the "Wine Lands" and "Beer Lands" areas feature regional wineries and breweries, offering attendees a curated culinary experience.
In 2019, it also became the first major music festival to legally offer cannabis for sale, resulting in the area being called “Grass Land”.
Outside Lands is also committed to environmental sustainability. The festival implements initiatives like waste reduction programs, solar-powered stages, and carbon offset projects. The festival's dedication to eco-friendly practices earned it the title of the world's first zero-waste major music festival in 2019.
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Festival dates: Apr 28 - May 7, 2023
The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Music Festival, commonly known as Jazz Fest, is an annual celebration of the diverse music and cultural heritage of New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz.
Established in 1970, the festival has since become one of the most popular music events in the world. The Jazz Fest is held during the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May at the Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Each year, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees, with recent editions welcoming around 450,000 music lovers over the course of two weekends.
The event's success is due in large part to its willingness to move beyond jazz and incorporate other genres of African-inspired musical styles such as blues, R&B, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean, rap, hip-hop, and bluegrass.
Past line-ups in New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival have included world-renowned artists like Fats Domino, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King, and Bruce Springsteen.
In addition to these icons, the festival highlights the talent of local musicians and bands, showcasing the rich musical heritage of the region. This year will showcase performances from many world-renowned artists including Ed Sheeran, Lizzo, Dead & Company, Robert Plant, Tom Jones, and The Lumineers to name a few.
Visitors to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival can also explore the unique culture and traditions of Louisiana. On display at the festival are various cultural villages which showcase the history and customs of different communities that have shaped Louisiana and New Orleans through history, including the Mardi Gras Indians, Cajuns, and African-Americans.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Festival dates: Aug 26 - 27, 2023
Afropunk Festival is a groundbreaking annual event that celebrates the beauty and diversity of Black culture, art, and music. Established in 2005, the music festival has expanded from its original location in Brooklyn, New York, to include events in cities such as Paris, London, Atlanta, and Johannesburg.
The festival has gained immense popularity over the years, attracting around 60,000 attendees annually at the flagship Brooklyn event alone.
Afropunk showcases an eclectic mix of musical genres, including punk rock, hip-hop, R&B, soul, reggae, and electronic music. Past lineups have featured world-renowned artists such as Solange, Erykah Badu, D'Angelo, Janelle Monáe, Lenny Kravitz, Grace Jones, Lauryn Hill, and Miguel. The festival also promotes up-and-coming artists from minority backgrounds.
Afropunk is committed to promoting social and political awareness. The festival encourages attendees to engage in discussions on topics like race, gender, identity, and activism.
It also enforces a strict code of conduct, which prohibits racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of discrimination to ensure a safe and inclusive environment for all.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Festival dates: Jul 21 - 23, 2023
The Pitchfork Music Festival is an annual summer event that highlights the best in new age music and art. Established in 2006 by the popular online music publication Pitchfork, the festival is celebrated in Chicago's Union Park.
The three-day music festival has a focus on indie rock, experimental music, EDM, and hip-hop. The festival curates a line-up that balances established acts and emerging artists, offering a platform for new talent and providing visitors with the opportunity to discover fresh music.
Past lineups have included influential artists such as Björk, LCD Soundsystem, Fleet Foxes, Tame Impala, Robyn, and A Tribe Called Quest.
Popular acts like Bon Iver, The Smile and Big Thief will headline this year’s event.
One unique aspect of the Pitchfork Music Festival is its dedication to supporting local artists and businesses. The festival runs a CHIRP Record Fair, where local record labels, vendors, and collectors can sell and trade vinyl records, CDs, and other music-related items.
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Festival dates: Jun 22 - 24, Jun 29 - Jul 1, and Jul 6 - 8 (Three Weekends)
Summerfest describes itself as the world’s largest music festival. First held in 1968, it now receives around 800,000 visitors over the course of its 11 days.
Summerfest takes place every year in late June and early July at the Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and features over 1,000 performances across 12 stages. With its multiple stages set against the backdrop of Lake Michigan, the festival offers a picturesque and lively atmosphere for music lovers.
Past performers at Summerfest have included legendary acts such as The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Lady Gaga.
This year has a blockbuster lineup, consisting of legendary acts like Zach Bryan, Zac Brown Band, Eric Church, James Taylor & His All-Star Band, Dave Matthews Band, Larry Fleet, Tyler Hubbard, Morgan Wade, Scotty McCreery, The Avett Brothers, Vance Joy, Brett Eldredge, and Corey Kent to name a few.
Location: Black Rock City, Nevada
Festival dates: Aug 27 - Sep 4, 2023
Each year, around 80,000 participants gather in the remote Black Rock Desert in Nevada to create a temporary city for the Burning Man festival.
While music is not the primary focus of Burning Man, the event is known for its diverse soundscape that features countless musicians from various genres. The vast expanse of Black Rock Desert, also called the playa, comes alive with numerous theme camps, art installations, and stages hosting live performances. The mix of music at Burning Man ranges from electronic dance music and techno to live bands, world music, and experimental performances.
The festival's unique gifting economy encourages participants to share their talents and resources with other participants. Burning Man is guided by ten principles, including radical inclusion, decommodification, and leave no trace, which emphasises the importance of environmental responsibility, community engagement, and personal expression.
The awe-inspiring art installations scattered throughout the playa are another major attraction for event-goers, with pieces incorporating fire, light, and interactive elements. The event culminates in the burning of an effigy, from which comes the festival’s name. This is followed by the Temple Burn, a solemn ceremony honouring the memories of lost loved ones.
The 2023 Burning Man theme is Animalia, celebrating animals - real, imaginary, and mythical - and our own place within the larger animal kingdom.
The Sybarite is a preferred ticketing partner for the Burning Man Festival. To book your tickets, contact us with your details and we’ll get back to you at the earliest with ticket information and booking details.
Barring a few months of winter, the music festival season in the US lasts all year long. As we have seen, all festivals receive record attendance each year. This means tickets are always in high demand. Make sure you follow the official websites and social media channels of your favourite music festivals to stay updated about the dates and tickets.
You can also get in touch with The Sybarite to book your tickets for your favourite US music festival without a hassle. If you’re interested in other festivals around the world, follow us for regular updates about the best and biggest music festivals from around the world.
Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo arts and music festival, Summerfest, Pitchfork, and Firefly music festival are some of the best known music festivals in the USA.
Electric Daisy Carnival, Miami Music Week, and Electric Zoo are the most important festivals in the USA for electronic music fans.
The Newport Folk Festival, Watershed Festival, and Stagecoach, California’s country music festival are the most iconic music festivals in the USA for folk lovers.
The biggest music festivals in the US based on the number of people in attendance are as follows:
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC)
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Austin City Limits Music Festival
Ultra Music Festival
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Burning Man Music Festival
The biggest music festivals for rock lovers in the US are Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival and the Firefly Music Festival. Credit also goes to the Newport Festival for keeping the folk and country roots of modern rock music alive since 1959.
The best rap and hip-hop festivals in the US are the Afropunk Festival, the Essence Festival and the Rolling Loud festival in Miami.
You can book tickets for almost all music festivals in the US through the festival’s websites or official ticket partners. However, you’ll need to follow your favourite festival’s updates closely and book in advance, as they tend to sell out quickly.
If you don’t want to go through the hassle, The Sybarite can help you secure your tickets for music festivals in the US easily. All you need to do is fill out our contact forms with your details. We’ll get back to you at the earliest.
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