Attending a music festival isn't simply about seeing live performances. It's an immersive experience that envelops music lovers in the moment through discovery of new bands and camaraderie among strangers. That's probably why they've become such a hot commodity. This year, some of the most popular, including Coachella, Lollapalooza, Electric Forest and Outside Lands, sold out of hundreds of thousands of tickets in just a few hours.
In Texas, festival season generally swings before or after the oppressive summer months. But that doesn't keep the rest of the country from rocking. Here are 10 spring and summer music festivals worth the trip.
Old Settler's Music Festival
When: April 16-19
Where: Driftwood, Texas
Headliners: The Mavericks, Robert Earl Keen, Jake Shimabukuro, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Sam Bush.
The pitch: This roots-rock and Americana-centric festival has been rocking Central Texas since 1987. It's said to be more relaxed than many, with a manageable 31 bands across three stages. Pitching a tent at Camp Ben McCulloch is also a huge draw, as many attendees organize acoustic concerts or late-night jam sessions. There are performance workshops taught by some of the acts on the bills too, so don't forget to bring your instrument.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at oldsettlersmusicfest.org.
New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
When: April 24-May 3
Where: New Orleans
Headliners: Elton John, The Who, Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, John Legend, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefer Band, Pitbull, Hozier, Widespread Panic, and Ryan Adams.
The pitch: Jazz Fest, as it's commonly known, has been cultivating a music community since 1970 when about 350 people attended. The festival has since grown into one of the country's biggest, luring an estimated 400,000 to 450,000 people each year. It's not just about the tunes -- Jazz Fest is showcases local history, cuisine, and artisan goods through a variety of villages and exhibits. The venue, Fair Grounds Race Course, does not open on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in between weekends, but so many musicians will be town, you're bound to stumble upon some ear candy throughout the rest of city.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at nojazzfest.com.
Shaky Knees Music Festival
When: May 8-10
Headliners: The Strokes, The Avett Brothers, Wilco, Pixies, Social Distortion, and Tame Impala.
The pitch: This year marks the third incarnation of Shaky Knees Music Festival, and organizers are testing out a new location for the third time. Rain threw a wrench in previous events when the fest was held at Masquerade Music Park and Atlantic Station, but in 2015, organizers moved the event to Atlanta's Central Park. The lineup is rock-heavy, with a splash of bluegrass, indie, folk, punk and electronic. No camping is available at Shaky Knees.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at shakykneesfestival.com.
Hangout Music Fest
When: May 15-17
Where: Gulf Shores, Ala.
Headliners: Foo Fighters, Beck, Sam Smith, Zac Brown Band, Skrillex, Damian Marley and Spoon.
The pitch: Few things sound better than relaxing on a beach. That is, of course, except for raging a music festival on a beach. Now in its sixth year, Hangout Fest is held on Gulf Shores Public Beach, providing a unique backdrop for enjoying live music. In fact, the Gulf of Mexico isn't just a background because festival attendees can also take a dip. The lineup features an eclectic mix of 80-plus bands across six stages, ranging from rock and country to electronic and reggae. This is not a camping festival, so don't worry about constantly having sand in your shorts.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at hangoutmusicfest.com.
BottleRock Napa Valley
When: May 29-31
Where: Napa, Calif.
Headliners: No Doubt, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant, Snoop Dogg and The Avett Brothers.
The pitch: Soaking in three days of music festival may not be the first thing you'd think to do in Napa Valley, but it isn't the worst idea. Founded in 2013, BottleRock is one of the country's newest festivals. Nestled between the mountains in Northern California, the fest offers a variety of big name acts alongside indie bands. And likely the best wine list you'll see in this sort of setting. As far as lodging, there's no designated festival camping, but Skyline Wilderness Park is close by. Or you can stay in one of the many hotels and rental homes in the area.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at bottlerocknapavalley.com.
Sasquatch Music Festival
When: May 22-25
Where: George, Wash.
Headliners: Kendrick Lamar, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Modest Mouse, Lana Del Rey, St. Vincent and the Decemberists.
The pitch: Anyone who's attended Sasquatch, which was founded in 2002, will tell you it's worth a trip just to experience the venue. The Gorge in central Washington is a natural amphitheater with stunning views overlooking the Columbia River Basin. In addition to having a commendably diverse lineup, with bands from genres across the musical spectrum, Sasquatch is one of the country's smaller pop festivals welcoming roughly 30,000 people over four days. This is one you'll want to prepare well for -- it's hot during the day and cold at night, and you can expect to do a good bit of hiking between the stages and campground.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at sasquatchfestival.com.
Wakarusa Music Festival
When: June 4-7
Where: Ozark, Ark.
Headliners: Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, The Roots, Major Lazer, Matisyahu, STS9 and Glass Animals.
The pitch: Now in its 12th year, Wakarusa has been held for the last six years on a private piece of land known as Mulberry Mountain in the Arkansas Ozarks. This one's not for the faint of festival spirit with more than 120 acts across five stages in its four days. No genre is off limits here -- rock, pop, reggae, blues, hip-hop, big band and bluegrass all have a place during the day. At night, Mulberry Mountain is a electronic music minefield with several performances that last until sunrise. A word of caution: This is a camping-only festival and some of the grounds can be quite a hike.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at wakarusa.com.
Free Press Summer Festival
When: June 6-7
Headliners: R. Kelly, Weezer, Skrillex, Chance the Rapper, Charlie XCX, Gary Clark Jr. and Mastodon.
The pitch: FPSF has been an H-Town institution since 2009, mixing big name artists and locals among the bill. Every year it's grown, now hosting nearly 80 bands during two days of musical mayhem at Eleanor Tinsley Park in downtown. Contrary to the belief that Texas festivals occur before or after summer, FPSF is smack dead in the height of the season, so water, sun block and general heat safety should be your first priority. Luckily, you'll have a hotel room to go home to at the end of the day, as FPSF does not allow camping.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at fpsf.com.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
When: June 11-14
Where: Manchester, Tenn.
Headliners: Billy Joel, Florence and the Machine, Deadmau5, Kendrick Lamar, Slayer, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Kacey Musgraves and Childish Gambino.
The pitch: If you're looking for a weekend packed full of superstars, Bonnaroo is the best bet. For 14 years, the fest has built a reputation as the Coachella of the Eastern U.S., drawing names that you might pay similar ticket price to see for just one night. There are plenty of other attractions aside from the main stages too, such as the iconic mushroom water fountain, a silent disco and the comedy theater that has previously hosted the likes of Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon and Flight of the Conchords. (Comedians for 2015 include Reggie Watts, Jeff Ross and more.) The one caveat to Bonnaroo's popularity is the crowd size -- upwards of 80,000 people show up for the fun. This festival is camping only.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at bonnaroo.com.
Firefly Music Festival
When: June 18-21
Where: Dover, Del.
Headliners: Paul McCartney, Snoop Dogg, Kings of Leon, The Killers, Morrissey, Zedd, Empire of the Sun and Hozier.
The pitch: Since its founding in 2012, Firefly has been on an upward trajectory toward being the hottest new festival in the Northeast. Last year marked the biggest installment yet at roughly 80,000 attendees, who not only experienced a mixed bag of indie and mainstream musicians, but also other scenic attractions on 150-plus acres of forest at The Woodlands at Dover International Speedway. There's also an air-conditioned lounge that serves exclusively Dogfish Head Craft Brewery beers. Campgrounds are located in a different section of the Speedway's 750 acres, but there are also hotels nearby.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing, and more info at fireflyfestival.com.