While Coachella is often the place to see and be seen in the music festival world, there’s no need to fret if tickets eluded your grasp this year. North America is home to a cornucopia of festivals catering to all sorts of music tastes.

Here are our favorite events sure to keep you dancing throughout the summer.

Women stand near VIP area backstage
The North American festival circuit has plenty of Coachella alternatives © Harry N Acosta / Shutterstock

Forecastle, Louisville, KY

This homegrown festival started as a small community event in 2002 and has evolved to be a mainstay event on the festival circuit. Held in Louisville’s Waterfront Park, this festival stays true to its roots by featuring lots of local talent alongside internationally acclaimed acts, and food and drink options also showcase the best the city has to offer. If you’re looking for a laid-back festival with lots of personality, Forecastle is a good bet.

A man wearing a feathered head dress walks down a street carrying a tambourine
See the wild displays of feathered headdresses at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival © Elliott Cowand Jr / Shutterstock

Jazz & Heritage Festival, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans is the beating heart of the musical South, and the 50-year-old Jazz Fest is central to its musical legacy; the city’s second-biggest event (only after Mardi Gras), Jazz Fest melds local and mainstream artists into one event full of Louisiana soul. The festival has a particular interest in showcasing the region’s heritage, converting their Grandstand into a museum and hosting exhibitions about the state’s Native American, Cajun and African American cultures. Jazz Fest also hosts a crafts fair and a cultural exchange pavilion (dedicated to Puerto Rico in 2020). 

Riot Fest, Chicago, IL

Feel the need to mosh, jump and otherwise rock out? Chicago’s Riot Fest is the place to be. An answer to the numerous festival rosters of pop and mainstream alt-rock artists, this festival keeps the focus on tunes that are heavy on the bass and have plenty of swagger. With artists including the legendary Patti Smith, Nine Inch Nails, Rancid, Blink 182 and Wu-Tang Clan gracing recent line-ups, Riot Fest scratches the itch for pure, unadulterated headbanging.

A DJ puts his hands in the air in front of a colorful light display
The Squamish Constellation Festival is dedicated to sustainable practices © Andrew Chin / Getty Images

Squamish Constellation Festival, Squamish, BC

The relative newcomer to the Canadian music festival schedule, the Constellation Festival takes the place of the much bigger Squamish Valley Music Festival (whose last year was 2018), aiming to create a more intimate, sustainable festival experience. British Columbia’s first zero-waste festival, the event focuses on a curated Canadian-focused line-up all set against the striking mountain backdrop the Squamish Valley is known for. 

Bottle Rock, Napa Valley, California

Coachella isn’t California’s only big name music fest – BottleRock in Napa Valley has become another favorite since its 2013 debut, combining music, wine and good food to create an excellent festival experience. Dubbed by Bruno Mars as the “Fancy Coachella,” BottleRock is respected for its excellent organization and crowd management, and acts range from well known pop and alt-rock bands to classic favorites, all with a West Coast flair.

Festival goers cool off in a water fountain at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
Scheduled during the sweltering Tennessee summer, Bonnaroo has a few places to cool off © Josh Brasted / WireImage / Getty

Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN

Held in an expansive field about an hour south of Nashville, Tennessee, Bonnaroo is a cherished mainstay in the festival scene. The music roster has evolved over the years, and today it features some of the best talent in pop, hip-hop, rap, rock and more. Despite its fame, Bonnaroo has maintained its amiable personality and stays true to its mission of “radiating positivity,” incorporating eclectic art installations, sustainability workshops and wellness activities.

Vive Latino, Mexico City, MX

Head to ever-beguiling Mexico City for Vive Latino, one of the biggest music festivals in Latin America. This event hosts a rock-focused contingent of (largely Spanish-language) talent ranging from local punk rock bands to electronic and house stars to big names like Guns and Roses. A welcome moment of relief for those who need a break from reggaetón’s ubiquitous presence.

music stage at night editorial only_0.jpg
The Hangout Festival fuses a beach vacation with live music © Erika Goldring / Getty Images

Hangout Festival, Gulf Shores, FL

If you’re trying to decide whether to use your vacation days on a music festival or a beach vacation, deliberate no more – Hangout Festival is the answer. This event is set right on the beach along the clear gulf waters of Gulf Shores, and revelers can enjoy a day of sun, surf and sand while listening to their favorite pop and rock bands hit the stage. Additional activities include skating at the festival’s roller disco, lounging on Hammock Beach, or getting hitched at the Hangout Wedding Chapel.

Dirtybird Campout, Modesto, CA

What do you get when you cross an EDM music festival with summer camp? Dirtybird Campout! In what seems like an acid trip tinged by a hardcore dose of childhood nostalgia, this festival puts a twist on the traditional electronic music festival by incorporating summer camp aesthetics (rave at the Bass Lodge, anyone?) and plenty of games to keep you preoccupied – try your hand at tug of war, dodgeball, kayaking, archery and more. 

Other Coachella alternatives:

Afropunk, Brooklyn, NY – A cultural and performing arts festival featuring music, visual art and fashion by black artists.
Summerfest, Milwaukee, WI – One of the biggest and longest-running music festivals in the USA.
The Ride Festival, Telluride, CO – For folk rock excellence, head to Telluride for this festival amid the mountains. 

You might also like:

Quirky art and cultural festivals in the USA
How to pack for any festival
Festivals that will blow your mind

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