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20 Music Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss in 2019

It's time to map out your perfect Summer 2019 festival itinerary

Lollapalooza 2017, by Photo by Philip Cosores
Lollapalooza, photo by Philip Cosores
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This article is presented by StubHub.

As the last notes of “thank u, next” rang out over Ariana Grande’s Coachella performance two weekends ago, they helped close one festival and kick off hundreds more. Festival season is really, truly upon us, that sun-soaked season that sees young people from all over the world crisscross America in search of life-changing music and memories.

For such a carefree pastime, the process of planning the perfect festival trip for you and your crew might seem more daunting than expected. One thing that doesn’t have to be difficult is buying tickets. That’s where StubHub comes in. The online ticket marketplace makes experiencing your favorite festivals a snap, whether you’re trying to get into Outside Lands, voting yes for Governors Ball, or skanking all the way to Riot Fest.

Speaking of those festivals: since we spend an inordinate amount of our days thinking about music festivals, we thought we’d make things easy for you, too. Read on for a list of the 2019 festivals that we’re most excited about. We’ve even included ticket links and info on the nearest airports to each ones, just in case the travel bug bites. Pick your festival with us, buy your tickets with StubHub, and take off on an adventure that’s yours and yours alone. If there’s an easier way to have a good time, we haven’t found it yet.

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Shaky Knees Music Festival

Shaky Knees 2019 lineup

Dates: May 3-5

Location: Atlanta, GA

Nearest Airport: Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL)

Why We’re Excited: Shaky Knees is just the beginning of the springtime music festivities in Atlanta’s Central Park, which also plays host to the EDM-focused Shaky Beats the following weekend. Before the DJs descend, come for headliners like Beck, Incubus, Tame Impala, and Cage the Elephant, but stay for Tears for Fears; Shaky Knees marks one of only two American festival appearances by the recently reunited new wave legends before they head back across the pond for a summer of European dates.

Buy: Pick up Shaky Knees tickets here and Shaky Beats tickets here.

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Just Like Heaven

Just Like Heaven 2019

Dates: May 4-5

Location: Long Beach, CA

Nearest Airports: Long Beach Airport (LBG), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Why We’re Excited: In music, as in all things, time marches forward, turning the underground discoveries of yesterday into the nostalgia acts of today. In 2019, that means it’s time to rediscover the heady days of blog rock at Long Beach’s inaugural Just Like Heaven. Sew up the holes in your old Said the Gramophone t-shirt and head to SoCal for sets by still-prime indie acts including the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, and The Rapture, who’ll be making their first live appearance since 2012.

Buy: Pick up Just Like Heaven tickets here.

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Rolling Loud

rolling loud 2019

Dates: May 10-12

Location: Miami, FL

Nearest Airports: Miami International Airport (MIA), Fort Lauderdale International Airport (FLL)

Why We’re Excited: What do you get when you combine the biggest names in hip-hop with the beachy bacchanal of Miami’s world-renowned party scene? This is not a (very dope) riddle; it’s the recipe for Rolling Loud, the festival that’s become America’s hip-hop fest of note in just five short years. Organizers will celebrate the fest’s fifth birthday with another blowout at Hard Rock Stadium, this year featuring the likes of Cardi B, Lil Wayne, Lil Uzi Vert, and many, many more.

Buy: Pick up Rolling Loud tickets here.

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Corona Capital

Corona Capital Guadalajara

Dates: May 11 (Guadalajara), TBA (Mexico City)

Location: Guadalajara and Mexico City

Nearest Airport: Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla International Airport (GDL), Mexico City International Airport (MEX)

Why We’re Excited: We’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to some of the stellar music festivals taking place throughout the rest of North America. If we had to pick just one, we’d go with Corona Capital, Mexico’s now-twin festivals that take place in Guadalajara in the spring and Mexico City in the fall. While the fall edition is still taking shape, Corona Capital inaugural spring outing comes with a formidable lineup, which includes the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Phoenix, and Tame Impala alongside crowd-pleasers from Chromeo to The Chemical Brothers. Oh, the Goo Goo Dolls will also be there, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Buy: Pick up Corona Capital tickets here.

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Sonic Temple

Sonic Temple Revised Poster

Dates: May 17-19

Location: Columbus, OH

Nearest Airport: John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH)

Why We’re Excited: Cleveland may get most of Ohio’s allotted rock-and-roll attention (thanks, opening theme to The Drew Carey Show!), but don’t sleep on Columbus. This year, Ohio’s state capital will crack open a dark portal and summon Sonic Temple, a three-day celebration of all things heavy and metallic. The festival’s inaugural edition fairly staggers; where else will you be able to see sets by Foo Fighters, Disturbed, and System of a Down in a single weekend without making some sort of otherworldly blood pact? No place comes to mind.

Buy: Pick up Sonic Temple Tickets here.

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Boston Calling

Boston Calling 2019

Dates: May 24-26

Location: Allston, MA

Nearest Airport: Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)

Why We’re Excited: If your Memorial Day weekend isn’t already spoken for, we’d recommend fortifying yourself with a few lobster rolls and heading to the Harvard Athletic Complex for another innovative edition of Boston Calling. What makes the festival different, you ask? This year, it’s the arena component; when you’re not scoping out sets from Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, and Travis Scott outside, you can head in for comedy from Michael Che, Jenny Slate, and Melissa Villaseñor, lectures from Imogen Heap, and even performances from the Boston Ballet. Let’s see Coachella top that.

Buy: Pick up Boston Calling tickets here.

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Governors Ball

governors ball 2019 lineup

Dates: May 31-June 2

Location: New York, NY

Nearest Airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Newark International Airport (EWR)

Why We’re Excited: To quote Hamilton Bohannon: New York is red hot. Unlike Indio or Manchester, there’s more than enough reason to visit NYC with or without a music festival in play. Fortunately, Governors Ball isn’t your average festival; it’s a destination within a destination. Set against the idyllic backdrop of Randall’s Island, the festival that helped put the northeast back on the festival map returns stronger than ever in 2019, helped along by can’t-miss acts including Tyler, the Creator, Florence + the Machine, SZA, and The 1975.

Buy: Pick up Governors Ball tickets here.

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Bonnaroo

bonnaroo 2019 lineup

Date: June 13-16

Location: Manchester, TN

Nearest Airport: Nashville International Airport (BNA)

Why We’re Excited: When we decided not to attend Bonnaroo in 2018, we thought our sabbatical might last a few years. In 2019, we’re already prepared to declare it over. This year’s Bonnaroo lineup strikes an excellent balance between the festival’s jammy roots and its more eclectic future, reflected in the headliners by Phish and the Grand Ole Opry sharing top-line space with Childish Gambino, Post Malone, and Odesza. Welcome back, Bonnaroo. Let’s never spend another summer apart again.

Buy: Pick up Bonnaroo tickets here.

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Essence Festival

essence2019 20 Music Festivals You Dont Want to Miss in 2019

Dates: July 5-7

Location: New Orleans, LA

Nearest Airport: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

Why We’re Excited: There are anniversaries aplenty at this year’s Essence Festival; created to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the legendary magazine Essence, the fest now celebrates its own 25th birthday in 2019. In addition to conferences and exhibitions highlighting achievements in black fashion, beauty, and business, the fest also features some serious musical heavy hitters; led by Mary J. Blige, the lineup includes mainstage legends from Pharrell and Brandy to Missy Elliott and Morris Day, as well as “superlounges” dedicated to classic R&B and hip-hop, Afrobeat, and more.

Buy: Pick up Essence Festival tickets here.

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Forecastle

Forecastle 2019

Dates: July 12-14

Location: Louisville, KY

Nearest Airport: Louisville International Airport (SDF)

Why We’re Excited: Even though it’s preparing for its 17th edition in 2019, Forecastle somehow remains one of the most overlooked American music festivals out there. That’s just fine with long-time attendees, who’ve gotten to enjoy Coachella-quality headliners (this year’s include The Killers, The Avett Brothers, and Anderson .Paak) alongside the manageable crowds and knee-buckling bourbon that comes with Forecastle’s Louisville home. Now that the secret’s out, why not join them this year?

Buy: Pick up Forecastle tickets here.

Click ahead for more of our most anticipated festivals of the season.
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ComplexCon

ComplexCon

Dates: July 20-21

Location: Chicago, IL

Nearest Airports: Midway International Airport (MDW); O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Why We’re Excited: There’s only one magazine-curated Chicago festival that we’re excited about this summer, and it’s not the one that rhymes with “ditch cork.” No, we’re gearing up for ComplexCon, the pop futurism festival by the folks at Complex that continues the momentum of 2016’s inaugural edition with its Midwestern debut this July. The lineup isn’t out yet, but the last one featured curation by Takashi Murakami and Pharrell and performances by Snoop Dogg, Kid Cudi, and Travis Scott, so we’re not-so-cautiously optimistic.

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Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza 2019 Lineup

Dates: August 1-4

Location: Chicago, IL

Nearest Airports: Midway International Airport (MDW); O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Why We’re Excited: Bounded by Lake Michigan to the east and the Chicago skyline to the west, Lollapalooza combines architectural and natural wonders into an ideal festival backdrop. (We may be biased; after all, it’s our hometown fest!) When you’re not busy craving a restorative dip in Buckingham Fountain, shake off your dog-days blues with sets from pop supernova Ariana Grande, hip-hop tricker Childish Gambino, indie-rock lifers The Strokes, and dozens more buzzworthy bands.

Buy: Pick up Lollapalooza tickets here.

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Outside Lands

Outside Lands 2019 lineup fixed

Dates: August 9-11

Location: San Francisco

Nearest Airports: San Francisco International Airport (SFO), Oakland International Airport (OAK), San Jose International Airport (SJC)

Why We’re Excited: In 2018, we described Outside Lands as “the platonic ideal of a major American music festival,” and nothing’s changed in the last 365 days to make us rescind that title. If anything, Outside Lands may have even gotten better; in addition to untouchable culinary amenities like the Napa-approved Wine Lands, they’ve even lured Paul Simon out of his brief retirement for his only headlining appearance of 2019. Paul Simon, in Golden Gate Park, with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon in hand? Brother, that’s livin’.

Buy: Pick up Outside Lands tickets here.

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Afropunk

Afropunk 2019 lineup

Dates: August 24-25

Location: Brooklyn, NY

Nearest Airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), LaGuardia Airport (LGA), Newark International Airport (EWR)

Why We’re Excited: Since debuting in 2005 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Afropunk has arguably become America’s most exciting showcase of music, arts, and culture made by black artists and creatives. One look at the festival’s lineup reveals that nothing about that changes this year; festgoers at Brooklyn’s Commodore Perry Park can expect thrilling sets from artists ranging from Jill Scott and FKA Twigs to Kamasi Washington, Leon Bridges, and Gary Clark Jr.

Buy: Pick up Afropunk tickets here.

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Riot Fest

Riot Fest 2018, photo by Heather Kaplan

Riot Fest 2018, photo by Heather Kaplan

Dates: September 13-15

Location: Chicago, IL

Nearest Airports: Midway International Airport (MDW); O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

Why We’re Excited: From the Dead Kennedys in 2005 to The Replacements in 2013 to the Misfits in 2016, Riot Fest has the uncanny ability to book bands that turn even the most cynical old punks into an excitable whirlwind of safety pins and back patches. The fact that it does so in one of Chicago’s cozy neighborhood parks, on a weekend that usually sees the first invigorating fall chills start to blow in off the lake, takes attendance from optional to mandatory.

Buy: Pick up Riot Fest Chicago tickets here.

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Life Is Beautiful

life is beautiful 2019 lineup poster

Dates: September 20-23

Location: Las Vegas, NV

Nearest Airport: McCarran International Airport (LAS)

Why We’re Excited: If it’s difficult for music festivals to really stand out these days, it’s doubly difficult in Las Vegas, America’s capital of spectacle where there’s neon-dazzled competition around every corner. Somehow, this year’s Life Is Beautiful lineup managed to pull it off. Attendees at this year’s fest will get the chance to catch victory laps by triumphing artists like Childish Gambino, Post Malone, Vampire Weekend, and Billie Eilish, as well as the Black Keys’ only festival date of 2019. Viva La Vegas, indeed.

Buy: Pick up Life Is Beautiful here.

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Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits 2018, photo by Amy Price

Austin City Limits 2018, photo by Amy Price

Date: October 4-6 and 11-13

Location: Austin, TX

Nearest Airport: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)

Why We’re Excited: Just as Coachella used to mark the unofficial beginning of festival season, Austin City Limits once signaled its unofficial end. Though that particular honor has fallen in the face of year-round festival creep, ACL remains our fall favorite; just last year, we named it our Festival of the Year because it “reclaimed high-ranking relevancy on the international stage with the feel of an invested music community reserved for good people sharing wholesome humanity through the collective experience of great live music.” Doesn’t that sound like something you’d like to see for yourself?

Buy: Pick up ACL Fest tickets here.

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Desert Daze

Desert Daze 2019

Dates: October 10-13

Location: Lake Perris, CA

Nearest Airports: Ontario International Airport (ONT), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)

Why We’re Excited: As Coachella continues its inexorable evolution into a commercial pop behemoth, another Southern California festival is ready to fill the indie-rock void left by that transformation. Though it technically left the desert after last year’s move from Joshua Tree to Lake Perris, Desert Daze continues to put its own peyote-laced spin on the critical cred of early Coachella. The full lineup for 2019 hasn’t emerged from the wilderness just yet, but with confirmed sets by Animal Collective and a recently reunited Stereolab, we’re pretty sure it’s going to rule.

Buy: Pick up Desert Daze tickets here.

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Voodoo Experience

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2017, photo by David Brendan Hall

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience 2017, photo by David Brendan Hall

Dates: October 25-27

Location: New Orleans, LA

Nearest Airport: Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)

Why We’re Excited: If America had an official Halloween city, New Orleans would be in the running alongside the Salems and Amityvilles of the world. Into the city’s swirl of ghosts, goblins, and genteel vampires steps Voodoo Experience, the music festival that adds its own touches of mischief to Halloween in the Big Easy. Amid the colorful costumes and haunted pop-up cemeteries, you’ll also stumble upon big-name performers; 2018’s headliners included Childish Gambino, Arctic Monkeys, and Mumford & Sons.

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Astroworld

Travis Scott, Austin City Limits 2018, photo by Amy Price

Travis Scott, photo by Amy Price

Dates: TBA November

Location: Houston, TX

Nearest Airports: George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), William P. Hobby Airport (HOU)

Why We’re Excited: By the middle of November, cities from Denver to Minneapolis to Cleveland will have, on average, already experienced their first measurable snowfall of the season. Instead of contemplating the solitude of the fast-approaching winter, why not head to sunny Houston for Astroworld? The festival is the brainchild of rapper Travis Scott, who named it (along with his third studio album) after the former amusement park that once stood across the street from the festival’s home at NRG Park. Last year’s inaugural edition featured a headlining performance by Scott himself, as well as sets from Post Malone, Young Thug, and Rae Sremmurd; we can only assume 2019’s lineup will meet or exceed those lofty bookings.

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