When you think of North American music festivals, there are a few that probably come to mind, and do so for good reason…
Last year, over two weekends, the Coachella Valley Arts and Music festival, rounded up around 579,000 people and grossed a whopping $78,332,000. With a line-up and specific stages pertaining to all flavours of genres, it’s no surprise that this magnitude of festival sells out in less than an hour every year.
Another massive event that may ring a bell is Las Vegas’s Electric Daisy Carnival. This 180-acre playground was home to almost 400,000 attendees for three nights pulling in over $3,000,000 in economic profits for the city of Las Vegas.
There are several other major festivals on everyone’s radar such as Burning Man, Ultra Music Festival Miami, Lollapalooza and Tomorrowworld. But I’d like to bring your attention to some of the smaller(ish) festivals that don’t seem to get the kind of world recognition that they deserve.
If you’re looking for something a little different this summer, or if you don’t feel like paying the $450 bill to attend Ultra Miami, take a look at what else there is around the US and Canada this summer. There are tons of festivals with so much to offer and line-ups that either match or exceed expectations. Some of these even include experiences that some of the larger brand festivals don’t.
February might seem a little early to plan your summer of fun. But trust me, it will be here before you know. Let me help you make sure it’s the best summer yet….
(Images sourced directly from event websites – click on the festival name to be taken directly to the information)
Where: Pemberton BC, Canada
When: July 16-19
How much: Starting at $279
Nestled in the small city of Pemberton British Columbia just two hours from Vancouver, lays this festival that caters to all walks of musical life. Not only is it out in the mountains surrounded by nature, but there’s really only one road in and one road out. It’s like leaving the hustle and bustle of everyday life and sneaking away into the woods to celebrate music for a weekend filled with camping, dancing and memories. The line up for 2014 included: Outkast, Deadmau5, Justice, Above & Beyond and Kendrick Lamar. Suddenly feel like taking a break from music? There’s a comedy stage including talent from The Trailer Park Boys, Bob Saget and Tom Green just to name a few.
Where: Toronto Ontario, Canada
When: August 1-2
How Much: Around $200
Toronto may be known for being the business hub of Canada but that doesn’t mean this city doesn’t know how to have fun. Although there’s no camping for this one, a $200 price tag for a two-day festival with some of the biggest names in dance music seems pretty fair. 2014 included: Armin Van Buuren, Calvin Harris, Knife Party, Nero, Martin Garrix, Adventure Club and Iggy Azalea. Veld finds home in the beautiful Downsview Park about 30 minutes north of downtown Toronto.
Where: Salmo River Ranch BC, Canada
When: August 7-10
How much: $365
The price tag may look a bit heftier on this one, but that’s because this festival is completely family-run, and 100% attendee-sponsored. This price also includes camping and although the festival runs four days, the experience of Shambhala for most lasts about a week up in Salmo, BC. With six uniquely themed stages this festival includes a lot of bass. Last year’s line up included: Skream, Ookay, Bassnectar, Mt Eden, Hannah Wants and Andy C just to name a few. This festival is known for it’s no alcohol policy and has an abundance of drug testing facilities that include whiteboards that bear descriptions of bad drugs circulating at the event. The festival also focuses on creating stimulating spaces throughout the grounds that focus on introspection and meditation.
Where: Montreal Quebec, Canada
When: July 31 – August 2
How Much: Around $250
Osheaga finds a mission in discovering emerging talent and giving them the opportunity to play next to some of the largest names in the business. This festival incorporates a huge portion of visual art to celebrate the relationship of art and music. Last year’s line up included: Childish Gambino, Jack White, Chase & Status, Duke Dumont, Flume and Tchami. No camping here, but exploring the beautiful city of Montreal is what makes this festival so special to foreigners.
Where: Rothbury Michigan, USA
When: June 25 – 28
How Much: $279.50
A festival that takes place in an enchanted forest including art installations on every corner, performers transporting you into another world and a camping spot that makes you feel like you’ve woken up in Robin Hood’s home. This year’s line up includes: Kaskade, Flume, Haywyre, Flux Pavilion, and Bassnectar.
Where: San Bernardino, California
When: First weekend of September
How Much: $279.50
Marking its 20th anniversary this year comes Nocturnal Wonderland, another Insomniac creation. This adventure includes camping, four stages and a twisted Alice in Wonderland theme. Take a tumble down the rabbit hole and join the mystical creatures that await you on the other side. Insomniac is known for their commitment to detail including art, performers and tiny elements some people don’t even notice.
Where: Pomona, California
When: Halloween Weekend
How Much: Around $150
HARD is a national music festival, music cruise and concert brand, and this Halloween festival has got to be one of their best accomplishments. What better way to celebrate Halloween then at a festival that centralizes around Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead.) This two-day festival doesn’t include camping, but headliners last year included: Knife Party, Diplo, Deadmau5 B2B Eric Prydz and Bassnectar.
Where: Toronto Ontario, Canada
When: June 27 – 28
How Much: $129
Located on a tiny island-like venue in Toronto lies Digital Dreams festival. With the gorgeous Toronto skyline in the background this festival is definitely something to see for yourself. Two days of a stacked line up that has previously included: Tiesto, Justice, Deep Dish, Nicole Moudaber, Flux Pavilion and Guy Gerber.
Where: The Gorge Amphitheatre, Washington
When: June 26 – 27
How Much: Around $175
I’ve personally never seen a more breath-taking view as sitting at the top of the grassy hill over looking the main stage at the Gorge, with natural landscapes surrounding me including a river and mountains beside thousands of attendees all there in appreciation of what was in front of us. The camping at Paradiso is half the fun, and with three stages and tons of carnival attractions including a massive Ferris wheel, there’s always something to do. Last year’s headliners included: Bassnectar, Krewella, Zedd and Above and Beyond.
Where: Wolf Run Ranch, Oregon USA
When: June 19 – 22
How Much: Starting at $225
This festival has slid under the radar until now. It’s like a mini Burning Man. This festival has camping, huge art installations and a line up to die for. They also have a stage that’s IN a pool and an outdoor theatre that plays independent movies until dawn. There’s a hookah lounge and an “Oasis Spa.” There are Bob Marley yoga classes, panel discussions to stimulate your brain and meditation classes to sooth. Is there anything this festival doesn’t have?