5 outstanding festivals that aren’t Coachella — yet
- Last Updated: 11:36 PM, April 4, 2012
- Posted: 3:34 PM, April 2, 2012
Not making it to either Coachella weekend this year? Does the festival now feel too mainstream, too crowded or too pricey for you? We get it. And you have many other options.
Even though the music industry is flailing, there are still plenty of diverse festivals where taking one trip means that you can see the best of the house-music, hip-hop and alt-rock worlds. And for those who worry about things like this, there are still plenty of festivals that have an eclectic and organic feel, regardless of any corporate sponsorship involved.
So if you’re looking for fun, fantastic all-over-the-place lineups, here are five Coachella alternatives that stand out, all much more reasonably priced than Coachella’s $285-and-up per day plus camping charges:
Sweetgreen’s Sweetlife Food & Music Festival, April 28, Columbia, MD
Our top pick for the spring, this extravaganza at the fabled Merriweather Post Pavilion, between Washington, DC and Baltimore, understands perfectly how to put together a lineup that will attract all those cool kids that simultaneously like electronic dance music, rap and indie rock. Avicii (who will kick off his all-arena tour on May 17), Kid Cudi and the Shins are the biggest names on a bill that also includes Explosions in the Sky and Fitz and the Tantrums. And the food options are excellent as well: The festival is working with Serious Eats to bring in vendors like Jose Andres’ Pepe Truck, Toki Underground and New York’s Shake Shack, Roberta’s and Momofuku Milk Bar. $75 general admission, $125 VIP, sweetlifefestival.com
SunFest, May 2-6, West Palm Beach
Like old-school and new-school hip-hop? Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa perform on May 3. Prefer to dance to electropop? Passion Pit, about to release the follow-up to the sensational “Manners,” performs at this waterfront festival May 4. And ready for a night of spazzy mashups? Girl Talk’s here on May 5, part of one of the weirder festival-night lineups you might ever encounter. While Girl Talk is performing, both Third Eye Blind and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts are also playing at the same time on different stages. Adult one-day passes start at $30, reserved seating for sets starts at additional $8, sunfest.com
Bonnaroo, June 7-10, Manchester, Tenn.
Still largely and unfairly associated with lame jam bands, this festival on a 700-acre farm is actually one of the most sharply curated and stacked festivals of the year. Radiohead, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Phish are headlining, and there’s a Beach Boys reunion too, but there’s also plenty for people who don’t care about any of those bands: Bon Iver, Skrillex, Feist, the Roots, Ludacris, Tune-Yards, the Joy Formidable, Mogwai and Das Racist are just a handful of the more than 80 musical acts. Add in comedy from performers like Aziz Ansari and Marc Maron, and Bonnaroo really is a happy hipster fantasy come true. Four-day passes $259.50, VIP package for two $1,399.50, bonnaroo.com
Sonar, June 14-16, Barcelona
The solid DJ lineup includes dance-music pioneer Fatboy Slim, so of-the-moment Deadmau5 and acid-jazz savant Squarepusher, and there’s plenty of electronic-loving bands to groove to as well: New Order, Hot Chip, Friendly Fires and Mouse on Mars among them. And then there are the Roots, who do things their own way at their own beat with, you know, lots of instruments — but who are also so appropriate to this shake-the-night-away vibe. Three-day tickets 155 Euros, sonar.es
Barclaycard Wireless Festival, July 6-8, London
Drake, Nicki Minaj and Wiz Khalifa on July 7. Rihanna, Calvin Harris and Pitbull on July 8. Look, this might seem like a pretty mainstream party, but all these acts are good. Plus, the Weeknd and Childish Gambino should keep things amusingly weird. And throw in Deadmau5, Kaskade, Knife Party and Feed Me, and this also could be the fiercest kind of club-kid gathering. There’s going to be a lot of Instagram going on over here. One-day tickets start at 55.25 Euros, VIP access at 149 Euros, wirelessfestival.co.uk