Thought festival season ended with the summer? Think again.
The thirst for live music has expanded festival season to almost 12 months a year. Cooler weather makes Texas prime real estate for these types of events, but the Lone Star State isn't the only place you should be looking to shake your tail fathers. Here are 10 fall music festivals worth the journey.
When: September 4-6
Where: Utopia, Texas
Headliners: Explosions in the Sky, Leftover Salmon, Tune-Yards, RJD2, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Of Montreal
The pitch: Named for the tiny South Texas town where it’s resided since 2009, UtopiaFest utilizes the expansive Four Sisters Ranch in the hill country, which includes a natural amphitheater. That will be one of two alternating stages for music. Sets will not overlap, so fest-goers can literally catch every band’s performance. With a max capacity of 2,000 people, UtopiaFest has a DIY atmosphere -- it’s BYOB, boasts free water and offers other activities, such as disc golf, yoga classes, a silent disco and kid workshops. Yes, you can bring the little ones as long as they are OK with camping.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at utopiafest.com.
When: September 5-7
Where: Seattle, Wash.
Headliners: Cake, Atmosphere, Flying Lotus, Chance the Rapper, Elle Goulding, Brand New
The pitch: Purchase a ticket to Bumbershoot and you’re buying in on more than just a festival -- you’re buying in on Seattle’s culture. Founded in 1971, the three-day event is like several festivals in one with programming for music, comedy, dance, film, and theater, all hosted across indoor and outdoor venues within the Seattle Center’s 74 acres. Music is the main attraction and Bumbershoot, whose name comes from the slang for “umbrella,” offers one of the most diverse talent pools in the country. Whether it’s hip-hop, country, electronic, alternative, pop, folk, punk, rock, mainstream or indie, nothing here is off limits. Except camping; no camping allowed.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at bumbershoot.com.
Kaaboo Del Mar
When: September 18-20
Where: San Diego, Calif.
Headliners: No Doubt, The Killers, Snoop Dogg, Zac Brown Band, The Roots, Foster the People
The pitch: Normally I’d shy away from sending you to a first-year fest, but from the looks of Kaaboo’s amenities, it seems worth the gamble. The event takes place at the Del Mar Fairgrounds and the fact that every toilet on-site will be a flushie is enough to at least consider it. In addition to music, Kaaboo is going all out on festival fare, if you can call it that -- the menu features 18 local chefs and restaurants, wine and spirit tastings, and a whole stage dedicated to chef demos and the like. There will also be sets from comedians including Joel McHale, after-hours dance parties, and plenty of places to lounge and soak in the sun (this is the beach after all). No camping is available.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at kaaboodelmar.com.
Life Is Beautiful
When: September 25-27
Where: Las Vegas, Nev.
Headliners: Stevie Wonder, Imagine Dragons, Kendrick Lamar, Weezer, Major Lazer, Duran Duran
The pitch: Now in its third year, Life is Beautiful boasts being equal parts music, art, food and education. The last bit may sound out of place among a typical festival, especially one that brings 90,000 people to downtown Las Vegas. But in addition to A-list musicians and haute eats, Life is Beautiful curates three days of lectures featuring athletes, entrepreneurs and smart guys like Bill Nye. (He’ll really be there this year.) The fest also enlists artists to transform downtown with outdoor installations and a special project called the Art Motel. Unfortunately you can’t stay there, but plenty of other rooms are available around the city.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at lifeisbeautiful.com.
Austin City Limits Music Festival
When: October 2-4 and October 9-11
Where: Austin, Texas
Headliners: Foo Fighters, Drake, Disclosure, Hozier, Alt-J, Gary Clark Jr.
The pitch: With a massive 150 bands over two consecutive weekends, ACL may as well be deemed the Coachella of the south. Members of the rock, hip-hop, indie, and electronic elite all have a place at Zilker Park’s annual celebration, which welcomed roughly 450,000 festivarians in 2014. Though the fest has grown immensely since its 2002 founding, it remains true to local culture. The Art Market features crafts and goods from local artisans, and beloved businesses like Torchy’s Tacos and Amy’s Ice Creams serve in the food court. Though ACL takes place in October, still prepare for extreme weather, be it heat or rain. And double-check the lineup, as some bands are only playing one weekend.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at aclfestival.com.
Canceled: Phases of the Moon Music and Art Festival
[UPDATE September 2 at 9:45 a.m.: Phases of the Moon has been canceled. According to a post on the fest's Facebook page, "due to a significant number of unseen obstacles, including the continued closure of the only road leading to the festival site, we were left with no choice but to cancel the event." No word yet on if it will return in 2016.]
When: October 16-18
Where: Ozark, Ark.
Headliners: Yonder Mountain String Band, Warren Haynes and the Ashes and Dust Band, Beats Antique, STS9, the Disco Biscuits, Moe
The pitch: Two years in and already Phases of the Moon is moving to a second location. Earlier this year, the fest, which debuted in Danville, Ill. in 2014, merged with the long-running Harvest Festival. The Phases name stuck, but the event will now take place at Harvest’s former location atop Mulberry Mountain in northwest Arkansas. Organizers say it maintains the best of both fests -- the array of funk, bluegrass and rock bands characteristic of Harvest, and the intricate art installations and the mediation/yoga center known as the Sanctuary from Phases. About 10,000 people are expected to attend the fest, which is camping only.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at phasesofthemoonfestival.com.
Treasure Island Music Festival
When: October 17-18
Where: San Francisco, Calif.
Headliners: The National, Deadmau5, Azealia Banks, Chvrches, Robyn and La Bagatelle Magique, Run the Jewels
The pitch: Now in its ninth year, Treasure Island is known for bringing a mixed bag of performers to its historic namesake site. Logistics are key here. The location provides sweeping views of the ocean and San Francisco skyline, but the island can often be windy and chilly, so bring a sweatshirt or be prepared to buy one for late-night sets. There is very limited parking on Treasure Island, so most take the fest's complimentary shuttles, which run between the venue and Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in downtown. There’s also no camping, so grab a room in the city and check out the sites while you’re there.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at treasureislandfestival.com.
When: October 22-25
Where: Rockdale, Texas
Headliners: Bonobo, Chali 2na and the House of Vibe, Greensky Bluegrass, Elephant Revival, Nightmares on Wax, Easy Star All-Stars
The pitch: Located at Apache Pass Event Center 50 miles northeast of Austin, this fest is fertile grounds for artistic expression. Organizers set up several galleries inside the festival grounds where paintings and sculptures are displayed, while larger -- and larger than life -- installations reside throughout the venue’s many acres. The space is littered with painters, sculptors and performers doing their work, and daytime programming offers a variety of workshops, from yoga to crafting, all included with the price of a ticket. At an expected 5,000 attendees, Art Outside is one of the more intimate festivals on this list. It’s also family-friendly, so bring the kiddos and set up camp.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at artoutside.org.
Voodoo Music and Arts Experience
When: October 30-November 1
Where: New Orleans, La.
Headliners: Ozzy Osbourne feat. Geezer Butler, Tom Morello and Slash, Florence and the Machine, Zac Brown Band, Modest Mouse, Jack Ü
The pitch: The Big Easy is hands down the best place to get weird for Halloween due in no small part to the city’s ghostly history, which has included Voodoo fest since 1999. The festival brings four stages of music, art installations, an artisan market, and food court dedicated to local Creole and French flavors to City Park. The lineup is consistently top notch, with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, hip-hop, electronic and indie. Voodoo is a substantial size at more than 100,000 concert-goers, but costumes are highly encouraged, so the more people the better people watching to be sure. Camping is not offered.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at worshipthemusic.com.
When: October 30-November 1
Where: Live Oak, Fla.
Headliners: String Cheese Incident, Pretty Lights, Primus, Chance the Rapper and the Social Experiment, STS9, Odesza
The pitch: Here’s another freakish festival to help you celebrate All Hallows Eve. This third-year fest returns to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, lauded for its lush forestation and the region’s largest bat cave. Spooky! Jam band String Cheese Incident, which hosts the event, will perform every night in addition to 25 other bands throughout the weekend. Organizers are going big on art this year with the expansion of Spirit Lake, “an experiential artistic glowing menagerie of multimedia metalwork, paintings, sculptures, light projections and live performances,” says the website. Attendees can camp on-site, hook up an RV, or stay at a hotel nearby.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at suwaneehulaween.com.
Fun Fun Fun Fest
When: November 6-8
Where: Austin, Texas
Headliners: D’Angelo and the Vanguard, Wu-Tang Clan, Jane’s Addiction, Chvrches, Future Islands, Cheap Trick
The pitch: Consider Fun Fun Fun Fest the hipster cousin to ACL’s mainstream music lover. From humble beginnings in 2006, the event has continuously climbed to new heights as a hub for music, comedy and, true to the name, all around fun. Organizers plan to go bigger and bolder for the 10th anniversary with nearly 100 bands and funny people across its color-coded stages at Auditorium Shores. There are other unique attractions, such as twerking lessons, an Air Sex Championship and a taco cannon. It’s a smaller fest too, drawing roughly 52,000 attendees in 2014. But there’s no camping, so you’ll still have to book a room near downtown.
Find full lineup, ticket pricing and more info at funfunfunfest.com.