Party In The USA: The best US festivals in 2019

America being so bloody massive is a boon when it comes to festivals – with so many different climates in one country, you can get to at least one a month without having to travel abroad. It also means there’s enough room for a wide range of events catering to everyone from the pop lovers, indie kids, hip-hop heads, psych fans, and more. You’ll find some inspiration for your summer (or spring, or autumn, or winter) below with our pick of the best US festivals not to miss.

1
Shaky Knees

Shaky Knees

When: May 3-5.
Where: Atlanta, GA.
Why: Can’t afford to go to Coachella but still wanna get some of Kevin Parker’s gang this summer? Head to Shaky Knees instead, which will be just as fun (and probably easier to deal with in the temperature stakes). Tame will top the bill with Beck, Cage The Elephant, and Incubus, while Interpol, Foals, Father John Misty, Black Lips, Sharon Van Etten are also booked in. Plus, Shaky Knees run great after shows offsite so you might not have to deal with too many anxiety-inducing clashes and can make the most of real bathrooms while continuing the fun.

2
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience

Voodoo

When: October 25-27.
Where: New Orleans, LA.
Why: For starters, it’s in New Orleans, one of the most up-for-a-party cities in the world. Secondly, it’s just before Halloween, the second biggest party time in the area after Mardi Gras. Thirdly, the line-up is a diverse treat – 2018 saw Mumford & Sons, Travis Scott and Arctic Monkeys leading the likes of Marilyn Manson, 21 Savage, Martin Garrix, and more.

3
Desert Daze

Desert Daze

When: October 10-13.
Where: Lake Perris, CA.
Why: Embrace your inner bohemian spirit and head out to the Joshua Tree desert where you’ll find all kinds of indie and psych acts ready to soothe your soul and bend your mind. Last year saw the likes of Tame Impala, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, My Bloody Valentine, Hinds, Warpaint, and Idles all get in the zone so you’ll want to keep an eye out for this year’s bill.

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4
Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits

When: October 4-6 and October 12-14.
Where: Austin, TX.
Why: ACL is the most mainstream-friendly of all of Austin’s festivals, but that’s not a bad thing. Last year, it meant they pulled in Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Metallica, Travis Scott, Odesza, Justice, and The National to headline. Despite being in October, there’s still a chance you’ll leave with a tan too, with the Texan sun still beating strong.

5
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza

When: August 1-5.
Where: Chicago, IL.
Why: It’s right in the heart of Chicago, has legendary after shows featuring big bands in venues they’re far too big to play, and is the OG of all the Lollas now spread across the world. Vampire Weekend (pictured), Arctic Monkeys, and Jack White were among the acts that played last year – Ariana Grande is rumoured to be topping the bill in 2019.

6
Camp Flog Gnaw

Camp Flog Gnaw

When: February 15-17.
Where: Miami, FL.
Why: You can get festival season started extra early without having to brave the cold. Plus, the line-up is stacked – Tyler, The Creator, Beach House, James Blake, SZA, A$AP Rocky, Erykah Badu, and more will be there to really get 2019 going.

7
Levitation

Levitation

When: November 7-10.
Where: Austin, TX.
Why: Psych lovers, step this way. Formerly known as Austin Psych Festival, Levitation brings together the best bands under the loose umbrella of psychedelia. Expect legends of the scene, like past performers The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The 13th Floor Elevators, and Thee Oh Sees, as well as newer stars.

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8
Life Is Beautiful

Life Is Beautiful

When: September 20-23.
Where: Las Vegas, NV.
Why: Leave the tacky glitz of the strip behind and get yourself to downtown Vegas this September. It’s where Life Is Beautiful calls home, bringing to it a usually eclectic line-up, art installations, comedy, and more. The line-up for 2019 is still TBA but last year saw Arcade Fire, Bastille, The Weeknd, Florence + The Machine, Travis Scott, and more wow the crowds.

9
Camp Flog Gnaw

Camp Flog Gnaw

When: TBA.
Where: Los Angeles, CA.
Why: It’s the festival run by Tyler, The Creator and he usually manages to pull in some pretty big names. Last year saw Kanye and Kid Cudi do their first performance as Kids See Ghosts while Pusha T, Billie Eilish, Brockhampton, Lauryn Hill, Anderson.Paak (pictured), and more also turned up.

10
Governors Ball

Governors Ball

When: May 31-June 1.
Where: New York, NY.
Why: Aside from the fact the organisers are giving us a double dose of the big JC (that’s Julian Casablancas, not the beardy guy in a robe) with a Strokes headline set and an appearance from The Voidz, the line-up is full-on gold. Tyler, The Creator and Florence + The Machine will also headline, plus all of these fun friends: Lil Wayne, Brockhampton, Mitski, MØ, The 1975, Vince Staples, King Princess, Sunflower Bean, Calpurnia, Nas, SZA, Kaytranada, Charli XCX, Noname, and MORE.

11
SXSW

SXSW

When: March 11-17.
Where: Austin, TX.
Why: It’s the mecca for finding the next big things. If you’ve got even the slightest interest in new music, you need to get to SXSW at least once in your life. For a while, it became the place for big acts to drop by unannounced and cause media frenzies but now the focus seems to be back on the up-and-comers.

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12
Riot Fest

Riot Fest

When: September 13-16.
Where: Chicago, IL.
Why: Although primarily a punk festival, Riot Fest does mix things up from time to time, meaning you can skip from watching Pussy Riot to Blondie to Run The Jewels (pictured) and more. The line-up for 2019 is still to be revealed but expect it to have a heavy dose of the heavy stuff with a few surprises.

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