As a battle-hardened music-festival fan, you know each new year brings hundreds of choices, from January (like Miami’s Jam Cruise) to December (like the Snowglobe Music Festival in South Lake Tahoe), from Austria’s Snowbombing to China’s Clockenflap to Canada’s North by Northeast, and everywhere in between. (A great resource: Music Festival Junkies have helpfully gathered as many festivals as they could find into one mega-calendar.) Here are a few of the many choices we thought were particularly inspirational to lock into your 2016 calendar now.
The Great Escape (Brighton, U.K.)
Like the glorious, gargantuan mess that is Austin’s annual spring SXSW mega-gathering? Then try The Great Escape, which bills itself as “Europe’s leading festival for new music” and is reportedly England’s biggest music industry event, with 450 bands at 35 venues. Discover emerging artists from all over the world, and mix with industry folk at hundreds of gigs over this three-day festival and convention.
2016 Dates: May 19-21
Cost: Early bird passes are $84. Early bird delegate passes are $231.
Sasquatch! Music Festival (George, Washington)
The music festival named after the hirsute mythological man-beast invites festgoers to camp out over Memorial Day weekend. (Think food trucks, “comfort stations,” security patrols, and a six-raver maximum per vehicle) to catch big-name indie rock, singer-songwriter and alternative bands and artists. In 2015, the fest featured Kendrick Lamar, Robert Plant, Modest Mouse, Sleater-Kinney, Lana Del Ray, Ryan Adams, Of Monsters and Men, The Decemberists and St. Vincent—a lineup well worth missing your town’s Memorial Day parade for.
2016 Dates: May 27-30
Cost: Regular admission is tiered at $350 for a 4-day pass, $950 for a “Superticket” that includes access to exclusive viewing platforms and two special VIP hospitality areas, and a $5,000 Superticket package of two Superticket passes and a furnished glamping (“glamorous camping”) tent with electricity, morning coffee and pastries, hot showers, and private shuttles.
Firefly Music Festival (Dover, Delaware)
Another camping experience on the other side of the States, Firefly 2015 featured the likes of Paul McCartney, The Killers, Kings of Leon, Morrissey, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People, Modest Mouse, Bastille, and Hozier. The experience includes locally spaced bars, group yoga in the mornings, a Farmer’s Market and general store for supplies, a “Beercade” with classic arcade favorites, and a Silent Disco keeping the action going long after the bands have collapsed.
2016 Dates: June 16-19
Cost: 4-day passes start at $250, VIP tickets are $700, and the “Super VIP” pass is $2,000. Camping charges start at $150 plus fees. There is also a glamping (“glam camping”) option.
Into the Valley (Rättvik, Sweden)
GQ Magazine calls it “The Wildest EDM Party In Europe,” this two-day electronic music festival that takes place in an abandoned quarry called Dalhalla, where a waterfall splashes down into a blue pool filling its base. Throw in forest camping, the world’s most excellent DJs, and a very enthusiastic global crowd, and you’ve got yourself a two-day party. 2016 line-up includes Dixon, Ellen Allien, Fred P, Gidge, Levon Vincent, Marcel Dettmann, Nastia and Tini.
2016 Dates: July 29-30
Cost: 2016 prices include $116 early bird tickets (sold out), $150 first release tickets, and $186 second release tickets.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (New Orleans)
Reflecting the Big Easy’s historically gothic vibe, this three-day Voodoo festival takes place during Halloween. So get your vampire on: The 2015 lineup included Ozzy Osbourne, Florence + The Machine, Zac Brown Band, Skrillex + Diplo as Jack Ü, Deadmau5, Steve Angello, Alesso, Jane’s Addiction, and Modest Mouse. The fest had to cancel the last day in 2015 due to inclement weather, but offered refunds—despite a rain or shine no-refunds policy—because New Orleans folks are cool like that.
2016 Dates: Not yet announced
Cost: Single-day tickets $99; 3-day tickets $235; Loa “The Ultimate Festival Experience” (express lanes, premium seating, a concierge and more) $350-$650, depending on how far in advance tickets are purchased.