When it comes to festivals, there are a lot of different options out there. From music to food and beyond, these gatherings can celebrate nearly any interest under the sun. Whether you’re looking for a festival to check off your bucket list or just looking for something to do this weekend, there’s sure to be one near you.
If you’re in the mood for electronic dance music, head to Baltimore’s Moonrise Festival for a massive party that takes over a 150-year-old horse racing track. Founded by Glow CEO Pete Kalamoutsos, the summer event is considered one of the region’s most consequential dance festivals and has recently expanded to Washington, D.C. This year, the festival will feature a mix of local and international DJs as well as an array of performance art.
For a less raucous but no less impactful festival, check out the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago. Like its namesake media company, the independent fest books beyond the mainstream and has become a touchstone for younger generations of music fans. The July event is known for its stunning cityscape backdrops and a laid-back vibe that feels more like a family vacation than a crowded concert.
Another popular option for electronic dance music fans is the Electric Zoo Festival in New York. Launched during the EDM boom in the early 2000s by Made Events, the annual event has evolved into a national powerhouse and was recently bought by New York’s Avant Gardner. Despite an uptick in drug overdose deaths and safety concerns, many longtime fans say the herculean event’s intimate feel and swanky location on Randall’s Island makes it one of the best large-scale music experiences around.
In a city that loves to celebrate itself, there’s no shortage of unique festival offerings in Milwaukee. In 2022, the annual Shrekfest will turn downtown’s Humboldt Park into a fractured fairy tale paradise for a day of live music, fan art and kooky competitions. The free, all-ages festival also features food and beverages from local businesses.
Located about three hours apart in England, the Reading and Leeds festivals are linked by their shared lineups and rock-centric focus. Managed by Festival Republic, the two events are renowned for their heavy-hitting lineups and rowdy crowds that make the most of England’s rolling green hills. For those that still want to see their rock’n’roll dangerously, the festivals are known for heaps of mud, mosh pits and rowdy sets from legendary performers.
For those that prefer a more low-key festival experience, Louisville’s Bourbon and Beyond has quickly become known for its bourbon-inspired lineup of country and Americana acts. The festival, which is produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, has a cult following among agents, promoters and managers in the live music business who praise its mix of impressive headliners and rising talent. Its cozy setting, world-class restaurants and bourbon-centric bar program are also big draws. Unlike other music and food festivals, the festival is family-friendly and has a zero tolerance policy for drugs and weapons.