The Best Non-Coachella Music Festivals
Where: Las Vegas, NV
When: April 29-May 1
Who: Nicolas Jaar, Caribou, Four Tet
Price: GA tickets currently go for $350
As Burning Man goes more mainstream, it was only a matter of time before offshoots started branching out to do their own thing. The second annual Further Future is the brainchild of Burning Man’s storied Robot Heart camp, who hope to elevate Burner culture, while bringing it to the masses. Set just outside Sin City on the Moapa River Indian Reservation, the three-day “experience” is a social movement that inspires you move your body, while opening your mind (without drugs for once). The Mad Max post- apocalyptic setting is serene, hosting left field artists and musicians while also offering luxurious amenities that would make Coachella VIP holders blush (if their faces weren’t filled with Botox): pop-up dinners, sit-downs with tech entrepreneurs, a full spa, IV drips and helicopter rides in and out of the grounds.
When: May 19-22
Where: Durham, NC
Who: Explosions in the Sky, GZA, Miike Snow, Odesza, Daniel Lanois
Price: GA $250
Moog may sound like an alien from Star Wars, but Dr. Robert Moog, was the pioneer of the synthesizer. Started in 2004, the four-day festival celebrates the history and diversity of electronic music, not just the latest EDM acts, but old and new artists, from hip hop to rock), who embraced technology. Positioning itself as a gathering place for “futurist thinkers,” this years interactive art exhibitions include one from Wi-Fi Whisperer, who will gather festival-goers devices (delete those dick pics) and regurgitate them into ambient sounds and a visual display. This year ever-growing festival is moving from its usual home base in Asheville to a bigger and more comfortable setting in downtown Durham.
Lightning in a Bottle
When: May 25-May 30
Where: Bradley, CA
Who: Grimes, Jamie xx, Big Gigantic, Chet Faker
Price: GA tickets start at $270 4-day pass
If you’re sick of the corporate takeover of Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle is the Bernie Sanders of music festivals. Located on the Central California Coast at the San Antonio Recreation Area, this free-spirited, four-day camp out is like Burning Man-lite. Instead of the unforgiving desert you get a bucolic setting that has all the psychedelic circus-like atmosphere and partial nudity. Put on by the DoLab, who have built some of the most Instagrammable art installations at Coachella, the four-day dance party/yoga retreat promotes “sustainability, social cohesion, personal health and creative expression.” They give out filtered water for free and the event is mostly powered on biodiesel and solar power. Best yet, the on-site camping (hotels are far and few between) will separate the diehards from the blowhards.
Where: Napa Valley, CA
When: May 27-29
Who: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, The Lumineers, Death Cab for Cutie
Price: GA starts at $309 and there are VIP and suite packages
Like a fine wine, this Napa Valley music festival keeps getting better with age. After an auspicious start, a new production team took over, solving the line and logistical issues (#musicfestivalproblems). The last couple of editions have gotten bigger and better, while still focusing on offering three days of the diverse music, food and wine. Maybe it’s fancy but chowing on some on honey-glazed Roquefort with an ice-cold IPA in wine country is a lot more adult fun than scarfing down a slice of cardboard pizza with a warm Heineken under the Indio sun. The crowd is a mix of middle-aged and millennial with many forgoing the campgrounds to stay at or close to some of best vineyards in the country.
Where: George, WA
When: May 27-30
Who: The Cure, Major Lazer, ASAP Rocky, Disclosure, Alabama Shakes
Besides having a WAY better name than Coachella, this Memorial Day weekend blow out has (arguably) the best location with a main stage that’s literally on the edge of a giant cliff overlooking a majestic gorge. This is truly a North West experience, from late nights around a campfire to unpredictable weather to people dressed as stuffed animals doing bad (as in good) things. You will have to rough the elements, nothing Revenant-esque, just outdoor showers and sleeping bags, but that’s all part of the fun. Just watch out for the giant, monster… well at least the one who’s not in the Drake T-shirt.
When: June 9-12
Where: Manchester, TN
Who: LCD Soundsystem, Pearl Jam, Tame Impala, Leon Bridges, Sam Hunt
Price: GA tickets start at $350.
Bonnaroo is the cool uncle of music festivals. It’s got its own SnapChat account, can out drink you, attracts girls who were born in the 90s, but shows its age when Pearl Jam’s “Even Flow” comes on. Whereas Coachella has become a festival scene to be seen, Bonnaroo (Creole slang for “a really good time”) is all about unadulterated, (okay drunken) fun that includes late night drum sessions, a silent disco and a giant Slip N Slide. Then, there’s the diverse music lineup featuring everything in the iTunes catalog, making it truly a place for everyone. Be warned, you will see lots of body paint, endure countless bro hugs, and hear “happy Roo” every 50 feet, but it comes off as genuine southern charm.
Where: Zcre Beach, Croatia
When: June 26-30
Who: Jamie XX, Septa
If you’re gonna go, might as well go big, as in Croatia big. In addition to being incredibly beautiful, Croatia’s Adriatic Coast now rivals the legendary Ibiza in terms of European party destinations. Now in it’s 6th year, the Hideout Festival has tipped the EDM scales towards the seaside town of Zcre Beach by making the fist-pumpers an offer they can’t refuse. Beats, babes, beaches and boat parties sounds almost too good to be true, until you check out the thirsty YouTube videos of the past year’s events. The only thing more gorgeous than the beaches are the tanned and toned Euros jumping in the air in unison (if off beat). Just take a mental snapshot of THAT when you’re laying down the credit card for the travel and hotel packages, which will set you back a couple G’s. But hey, it’s not like everyone at the bar can say “Last week, at Hideout in Croatia…” when talking about their weekend.