With warm weather come hundreds of music festivals around the world. But let’s be honest, many of us only know the few big names: Pitchfork, Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza.
Unfortunately, big names mean a real fight for tickets. And with tickets already sold out to these well known music festivals, it may feel like your live music dreams are dashed. But it turns out, there’s a slew of smaller and equally hypeworthy festivals on offer. So we present our list of the best music festivals you probably don’t know about—but should. Dotted all around the world, these nine festivals leave you with plenty of room to breathe with more intimate lineups than the big guys. From Japan to Chicago, nobody’s missing out on good music this summer.
By Mina Kang
Taico Club June 1-2, Nagano, Japan Join 7,000 music lovers in the lush mountains of Nagano for performances ranging from indie to electronica by XXYYXX, Of Montreal, Richard Villalobos, and Machinedrum. Past lineups have seen Animal Collective and Africa Hitech.
INmusic June 24-26, Zagreb, Croatia This 25,000-person event lets you dance freely without bumping into other concert-goers and with the gorgeous backdrop of Zagreb’s Lake Jarun and forest landscape. This year’s lineup is impressive with Bloc Party, Arctic Monkeys, and NOFX on the list.
Beacons August 16-18, Skipton, UK This extravaganza offers two days of rock and electronic music to a group of just a few thousand music buffs. This year, enjoy the sounds of artists like Local Natives, Bonobo,and Solange along with breathtaking views of The Yorkshire Dales.
Treasure Island Music Festival October 19-20, San Francisco, CA The two-day affair is centered on electronica and hip hop on day one and day two highlighting rock and indie rock. The 2013 lineup is yet to be announced, but last year’s bill starring The XX, Best Coast, Girl Talk, and Toro Y Moi is plenty to keep us in high hopes.
Hangout Music Festival May 17-19, Gulf Shores, AL Chill on the beach while taking in the sounds of this Alabama summer fest. This year, the event brings Kings of Leon, Stevie Wonder, The Shins, Ellie Goulding, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar, and more.
The Capitol Hill Block Party July 26-28, Seattle, WA Get your fill of the best up-and-coming music at this three-day occasion in Seattle’s hip and bustling Capitol Hill. This year’s headliners offer a treat from their individual genres: Girl Talk, Seattle’s own Pickwick, and The Flaming Lips.
AfroPunk August 24-25, Brooklyn, NY One of the most energetic weekends in Brooklyn, AfroPunk focuses on the afro-indie rock and punk scene and throws back to the early days of hip-hop. While the 2013 lineup is not yet announced, past performers include the likes of Das Racist, Erykah Badu, Janelle Monae, and Alice Smith. Bonus: tickets are free, and first come first served.
Sasquatch! May 24-27, Quincy, WA This four-day spectacular, which is set on a gorgeous landscape with a view of the waters, indulges enthusiasts of indie rock, hip-hop, and alternative alike. This year’s acts include Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Postal Service, The XX, Steve Oaki, Earl Sweatshirt, Indians, and more.
North Coast August 30-September 1, Chicago, IL Only on its fourth year, North Coast has brought a stellar fleet of bands each year to the Windy City. Last year’s crowds enjoyed the chill atmosphere, amazing food and clothing vendors, and raging performances by Pretty Lights, Girl Talk, Avi Sic, and Savoy.