Top 15 Festivals to Look Out for in 2015
While there are a million festivals you should check out in 2015, we’ve curated a list of the top 15 festivals that are a must see in 2015! (List is in no particular ranking order; lists US festivals and international festivals.) It was hard to choose just 15, so we know we’re missing a bunch of the best! Tweet us or hit us up on Facebook and let us know what YOU think should have made the top 15:
When: March 13 & 14, 2015
Where: New Orleans
2015 Lineup Highlights: Die Antwoord, STS9, Bassnectar, Empire of the Sun, Passion Pit, Borgore, Flosstradamus, TV on the Radio, and Zomboy
2014 Festival Review: A Vairety of Sonic Delights at Buku 2014
What makes Buku special is its New Orleans flair: the festival loves to be vibrant, fun, artsy, and different while bringing in some of the most amazing talent from across music and art genres. The emphasis on art, particularly interactive art, makes this a different experience than most city-based festivals. Buku is also set right on the Mississippi River, making for beautiful stage settings. It’s also one of the first festivals of festival season (thanks to its southern location) and is a perfect way to kick off an amazing 2015 festival season.
2. Electric Forest
When: June 25-28, 2015
Where: Rothebury, Michigan
2014 Lineup Highlights: String Cheese, Tycho, Umphrey’s McGee, Zoogma, STS9, Steve Angelo, Andy C, Nahko and Medicine for the People, Art Department, Moby, The Glitch Mob, and Classixx
2014 Festival Review: http://sensiblereason.com/mobile-hotline-electric-forest-withdrawals-1/
Electric Forest is generally held the last weekend of June in Rothbury Michigan. It is widely known as one of the greatest festivals to go to in the United States and arguably the world. It’s not only exciting to see the huge variety of music, including some mammoth Franken-jam hosted by the beloved String Cheese Incident, but there is enough entertainment other than music itself. Waterpark, workshops, the traditional yoga sessions, and interactive art displays are but a handful of the various ways to reinstate the idea of constructing an adult playground. It is a transformational festival in its’ own right, a piece of outdoor festival ground that is unparalleled, where love runs as deep as the as the roots of the forest. And all things considered, places that have psychedelic friendship bingo have to have promise for one blissful experience. (by Sean Hersch)
When: May 22-25, 2015
Where: Bethel Woods, NY
2014 Lineup Highlights: Booka Shade, Joris Voorn, Big Gigantic, Dillstradamus, Carl Craig, Josh Wink, Paper Diamond, Soul Clap, Blondish, and Scuba
2014 Festival Review: Top 10 Moments at the Inaugural Mysteryland USA
What makes Mysteryland special? 1. It is located on the site of the original Woodstock and is the first multiday camping festival to be held on the site since Woodstock. 2. The interactive art displays are incredibly beautiful, fun, and inspiring (just one example: thousands of festival-goers writing their wishes silvery leaves that dangle from a beautiful illuminated tree– talk about community-driven inspiration). 3. The curated stages: an all vinyl stage, house and techno stages, the wacky “Sin Salida” Day of the Dead-style stage where they dressed up dancers who poured tequila in your mouth, the bass-tastic Boat stage, and more! Better yet, this year they’re getting NYC dance music powerhouse clubs and show organizers like Verboten, Webster Hall, and BangOn! plus legends Adam Bayer and Jamie Jones to curate different stages. With its close proximity to NYC and its epic Holy Ground camping, and during Memorial Day Weekend, this is a legendary festival not to miss!
4. Lightning in a Bottle
When: May 21-25, 2015
Where: Bradley, CA
2014 Lineup Highlights: Chet Faker, The Polish Ambassador, Gramatik, Random Rab, Beats Antique, Baauer, Lucent Dossier Experience, Claude Vonstroke, Cashmere Cat, Tokimonsta, and Break Science
Lightning in a Bottle is a transformational festival, meaning that you will literally be elevated to another spiritual plane if you attend the fest. Besides the warm Cali location and the best-of-electronic-music lineup, the festival features transformational workshops that help you find the goddess or yogi within.
5. Summer Set
When: August 14-16, 2015
Where: Somerset, Wisconsin
2014 Lineup Highlights: The Disco Biscuits, Bassnectar, Big Gigantic, Chromeo, Flux Pavilion, Flying Lotus, Manic Focus, Moon Boots, Treasure Fingers, Twiddle, and Break Science.
2014 Review: Summer Set Music Festival 2014 Recap
What makes Summer Set awesome is that its a camping festival with amazing sound– not just because the artists are amazing, but literally the sound system is quite good. The vibes are some of the best in the country and its definitely one of the top festivals in the Midwest– and it continues to grow in popularity every year.
6. Northern Nights
When: July 17-19
Where: Humbolt, CA
2014 Artist Highlights: Beats Antique, Justin Martin, Zion I, Odesza, Viceroy, Giraffage, The Floozies, Two Fresh, Ana Sia, Lindsay Lowend, Pumpkin, and Kawehi
Nestled in the breathtakingly beautiful Red Woods of Northern California, Northern Nights Festival is a unique treat on the circuit. The festival offers more than just cutting edge electronic and west coast bass music; it also provides soothing yoga classes, burlesque shows and a river stage. The camping is also out of this world, as it takes place throughout the huge Red Wood tree forest on festival grounds. Given the gorgeous location, music lineup and variety of stimulating activities, it comes as no surprise that the festival sold out in it’s second year last year. (by Jacki Moon)
7. Big Ears
When: March 27-29, 2015
Where: Knoxville, TN
2015 Artist Highlights: Kronos Quartet, tUnE-yArDs, SQÜRL, Steve Gunn, Swans, Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, Rhiannon Giddens, Max Richter, Ben Frost, Tanya Tagaq
2015 Festival Preview: http://sensiblereason.com/big-ears-festival-2015-lineup-announced/
Recognized as one of the hottest music events in the country, Big Ears brings an eclectic melange of sounds to stages across downtown Knoxville this Spring. Musical styles range from Inuit throat-singing to jazz to avant-garde and everything in between. Artists-in-residence Kronos Quartet, Jim Jarmush’s band SQÜRL, and quirk-fest tUnE-yArDs are only some of the acts on the schedule. (by Ali McGhee)
When: New Years 2015
Where: Lake Tahoe, CA
2014 Lineup Highlights: Flume, Disclosure, Skrillex, Atmosphere, Zedd, Phantogram, Flux Pavilion, Bro Safari, Cherub, Branchez, Djemba Djemba, and Le Youth
2014 Preview: http://sensiblereason.com/snowglobe-music-festival-2014/
This is your epic winter festival that is what you NEED to be doing for NYE 2015. Set in beautiful Lake Tahoe, you can’t go wrong. The lineup is always the top NYE lineup in the nation. With the official after parties, you can literally rage all night long in casinos. And because of the chilled out temperatures, you never have to worry about over heating.
9. Catskill Chill
When: September 18-20, 2015
Where: Camp Minglewood (Hancock, NY)
2014 Lineup Highlights: Yonder Mountain String Band, Electron, Shpongle, Papadosio, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dopapod (x3)
2014 Festival Review: Catskill Chill 2014 Delivers On All Fronts
Catskill Chill in 2015 is not a festival to miss; taking place mid-September, Catskill Chill is the festival that many in the Northeast round out their festival seasons with. Situated in a sleep-away camp in the Catskill mountains, Catskill Chill is known for more then anything as cliche as it is its Chill vibe. With patrons camped both in an among the cabins, the draw of the festival is hanging out with five thousand of your closest friends as much as it is seeing the top tier acts that this small festival attracts. The setting of the chill is one of those factors that is hard to overstate. so this being the last year the chill will take place at Camp Minglewood, the setting the 5 previous festivals, makes this years chill a cant miss event. (by Greg Sarafan)
When: February 26-March 1, 2015
Where: Uvita, Costa Rica
2015 Lineup Highlights: Groundation, Polish Ambassador, OTT, Random Rab, Govinda, Emancipator, Ill-Esha, The Polish Ambassador, Bluetech, and Lafa Taylor
2015 Preview: http://sensiblereason.com/envision-an-exotic-type-of-festival/
Envision Festival is held on the beach, next to the rainforest, in beautiful Costa Rica. With the hottest music, most intricate artwork and yoga and eco workshops to boot, you can’t get a better experience from a destination fest. The festival features a Burning Man-esque vibe and crowd, with live performances as well as music, art, yoga and consciousness workshops. Festival-goers are able to set up housing or hotels close to the hotel through a travel agent provided by the management, or simply camp out in the jungle next to the festival. (If you camp out, keep in mind that you will really be roughing it, with minimal access to precious water sources and potentially subject to all of the elements of the outdoors such as rain and heat. Hammocks do come in handy for a nice rest if you are staying offsite.) There are beautiful places surrounding the festival grounds, and I would highly recommend taking at least a few extra days, if not weeks or months, to explore before or after the fest. Within the festival itself, make sure to plan in advance which workshops you wish to attend– and there are some truly wonderful workshops. Yoga, environmental awareness, massage, circular breathing and cultural awareness are just a few of the types of workshops I was lucky enough to catch. Give yourself plenty of time to learn and teach, experience the music and art, meet loving new friends, and simply to relax. Pura Vida. (by Nina Wanerman)
When: July 24-26, 2015
Where: Boom, Belgium
2014 Lineup Highlights: Honestly, it’s just such a long lineup you can’t even begin to pick a few highlights, but here are just a few of the hundreds of artists: Dirty South, Skrillex, Paul Oakenfold, Yellow Claw, 3LAU, Audien, DVBBS, Laidback Luke, Hardwell, Sick Individuals, Sub Focus, Rusko, Borgore, Carl Cox, Diplo, Dirtyphonics, Knife Party, Nervo…
2014 Review: My Top 5 Moments of Tomorrowland
Tomorrowland is currently the premier EDM camping festival in the world. It’s the festival that sells out completely in minutes. The lineup is so deep it is almost too stacked. This is also the festival that put into the limelight how important production value is for fans: festivals are no longer just about the music, but the experience and I really believe that Tomorrowland is the festival that brought this to the world’s attention.
When: September 10-13, 2015
Where: Isle of Wight, UK
2014 Lineup Highlights: Disclosure, Sam Smith, Bonobo, Caribou, SBTRKT, CHVRCHES, Outcast, Beck, London Grammar, Major Lazer, La Roux, Annie Mac, Boys Noize, Damian Lazarus, Diplo, Hot Since 82, and hundreds more.
Bestival is, well, the best festival and it’s a best kept secret (for Americans at least). This is a major UK festival that features hundreds of live bands and DJs from across the spectrum with curated stages for literally every style of music. The festival also seeks to inundate you in a new world, so amazing music stages is not the only feature of the festival; there are also rides, interactive stages with improv actors that you can imagine with, extreme sports set ups, art, traveling stages and more. The 2014 lineup boasted over 30 stages and venues. When I went in 2011, there was a small DJ booth inside a man-made tree that you go into and rage in, a blow up wedding church where you bring your friends and have a fake wedding, Tesla electricity shows where knights shoot electricity at each other while elevated in the air, and an ambient forest with beautiful lights and sounds. Plus, every year has a theme and on one day of the festival everyone– and we’re talking tens of thousands of people– dress up to the theme (plus, everyone dresses up in costumes EVERYDAY of the festival and it’s a riot). It definitely lives up to its name.
When: June 28-July 2, 2015
Where: Zrce Beach, Croatia
2015 Lineup Highlights: Duke Dumont, Eats Everything, Gorgon City, Jamie Jones, MK, Nina Kravitz, Cajmere, Green Velvet, Heidi, Scuba, Skream, Blonde, Doorly.
What is better than a festival with some of the world’s best DJs on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches? This festival is the dream fest and it is will worth the long flight. Hideout is exactly what you will do: hide away from your job and responsibilities while you soak up the most amazing sun and beauty and dance the night away. It’s all about location, location, location and this festival has that.
When: April 27-May 3, 2015
Where: Tankwa, South Africa
AfrikaBurn is a regional Burning Man hosted in South Africa and is basically as epic as its sounds. The festival is more of an arts festival than a music festival, so it never posts a music lineup. Rather, any kind of artist can come to the festival and coordinate with campsites and other artists or can bring their own equipment. South Africa has its own vibrant electronic music scene which is incredible and relatively untapped by the rest of the EDM world– a perfect opportunity to discover new sounds and culture in our global EDM community!
When: August 7-10, 2015
Where: Salmo River Ranch, BC, Canada
2014 Lineup Hightlights: Bassnectar, Kill Paris, Ookay, Gorgon City, Paper Diamond, Skream, Beardyman, Excision, Datsik, ill.Gates, Eoto, Griz, Beats Antique, and Thugli
2014 Festival Review: Top 10 Shambhalovin’ Moments and The Voyage to Shambhala: 7 Reasons to Cross the Canadian Border
What Shambhala has that many other festivals don’t: you are deep, deep in the beautiful woods of BC, Canada. With nothing but forest surrounding you for miles, you can’t help but lose yourself. There is even a river you can float in while listening to music at a nearby stage. Plus, their innovative harm reduction spaces and policies has other festivals that struggle with drug and sexual abuse look like noobs that need to get with the program (literally) (see our interview with the manager of harm reduction at the festival here!).