Written by RJ Firchau
Every year, we find ourselves asking the same question: to spend or not to spend… on Coachella, that is. It seems like the pop cultural world is fascinated by Indio, California, and it shows—the festival raked in over $84M in ticket sales last year alone. Festivals like Coachella will run you an easy $1,000 (and that’s doing it budget-friendly), with factors like $375+ tickets, hotel accommodations, transportation, and food all coming into play. But, with killer lineups and all the extras like art installations and celebrity appearances, it’s hard not to want to get in on the action whenever festival season rolls around. There’s no doubting that Coachella is a legendary experience, but with all kinds of music festivals sprouting up all over the country (at a fraction of the price), you can still get your music fix and afford to pay your bills. Here are some upcoming 2016 music festivals with more affordable price tags that we’ve got our eye on.
1. Summerfest in Milwaukee, WI
June 29 – July 3; July 5 – 10
Ticket Cost: $20-$110 (one- to 11-day)
Summerfest claims to be “the World’s Largest Music Festival,” and with an 800-act lineup spread out across 11 days and 11 stages, you really can’t argue with that. This mega music festival boasts both emerging talent and pop stars from various genres, from Luke Bryan and Pitbull to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Matisyahu (and pretty much everything in between). Go for the $20 one-day pass or “splurge” on $110 for all 11 days.
2. The Ride Festival in Telluride, CO
July 9 – 10
Ticket Cost: $265 (two-day)
If not for the solid rock n’ roll lineup alone, you’ll want to attend this festival for the epic location, too. The Ride Festival is located in the historic city of Telluride, whose lush forest surroundings have been a National Historic Landmark for the last 50 years. Spend your downtime hiking and biking around the great outdoors, and head down to the venue to see bands like Pearl Jam, Cage the Elephant, and the Dirty Knobs do their thing.
3. Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, IL
July 15 – 17
Ticket Cost: $165 (three-day)
This festival prides itself on providing good alternative rock lineups and affordable ticket prices. Consider satisfying your need for music with sets from Beach House, FKA Twigs, Jeremih, Kamasi Washington, Twin Peaks, and more—all for under $200.
4. FYF Fest in Los Angeles, CA
August 27 – 28
Ticket Cost: $125 (one-day), $199 (two-day)
With headliners like Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, and Tame Impala set to make an appearance at FYF this year, it’s no wonder this “mini-Coachella” is expected to draw tens of thousands of festival-goers this August. Another bonus? FYF (“F*ck Yeah Fest”) is held in Los Angeles and can be reached by the metro, so attendees don’t have to make the trek to Indio and buy a shuttle pass to see the show.
5. Bumbershoot in Seattle, WA
September 2 – 4
Ticket Cost: $180-$225 (three-day)
Bumbershoot is more than just a music festival, it’s a cultural hub of music, comedy, theater, and film, and it’s been around for 46 years. Come for the sets by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Death Cab for Cutie, and Tame Impala, and stay for some Shakespeare, slam poetry, and good eats while you’re at it.
6. Loufest in St. Louis, MO
September 9 – 11
Ticket Cost: $75-$95 (two-day)
A smaller scale festival but one that doesn’t lack flavor, this Missouri event offers a funk/indie/alt country vibe right in the heart of St. Louis. Along with performances by LCD Soundsystem, Lauryn Hill, Band of Horses, Shakey Graves, Anderson, Paak & the Free Nationals, and St. Lucia, the fest also prides itself on showcasing all the fantastic and local food that St. Louis has to offer.
7. Riot Fest Chicago in Chicago, IL
September 16 – 18
Ticket Cost: $180 (three-day)
Specializing in punk, rock, alt, metal, and hip-hop sounds, Riot Fest is part music festival, part carnival. Now in its 12th year, this festival boasts a crazy lineup which includes a reunion of the OG Misfits, Morrissey, Social Distortion, NAS, Deftones, the Foo Fighters, and the Hold Steady, to name a few.
8. Austin City Limits in Austin, TX
September 30 – October 2; October 7 – 9
Ticket Cost: $100 (one-day), $255 (three-day)
Even without the ACL festival, Austin is the live music capital in the world, and for good reason. Outside the festival grounds, there’s a band performing everywhere you turn. Inside the festival grounds, there’s over 130 bands spread out across 8 stages and 3 days. Art markets, tons of food options, and an “Austin Kiddie Limits” area exclusively for young music fans make this festival accessible for everyone. Radiohead, Mumford & Sons, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Flume, Haim, Catfish and the Bottlemen, and more will be making an appearance here too, so it’s definitely a weekend not to miss.
9. Voodoo Fest in New Orleans, LA
October 28 – 30
Ticket Cost: $99 – $140 (three-day)
Over 65 bands on 4 different stages, coupled with interactive art installations and Louisiana specialty food offerings, make this festival a “gumbo” of music and cultural immersion. If that’s not enough, the aptly-named festival takes place on Halloween weekend. Come in your best Halloween costume, grab a shrimp poboy, and enjoy.
10. Snowglobe in South Lake Tahoe, CA
December 29 – January 1
Ticket Cost: $139 – $199 (three-day)
Quite literally the chillest music festival in the country, Snowglobe takes place outside in the middle of the winter, in a ski town, no less. Snowglobe is known for delivering top notch EDM to make your new year the best experience you’ve ever had. Loud music coupled with fireworks and a high chance of snowfall makes this event one for the books.
This is only a small chunk of the many festivals you can check out all over the country (and that’s not even counting the festivals that took place earlier this year. Bottlerock, Governors Ball, and New Orleans Jazz 2017, anyone?). None of these tickets will cost you more than $275, and when you consider how many artists you get to see in these music-filled weekends, it’s well worth the price of a small splurge.