As Spring season gets closer and closer, festival season is coming right along with it! And there are so many festivals this year, (as there are every year) and they have all come with really packed line-ups, and I’m just talking about the ones here in the southern region!
With all the choices, it can be hard to choose which festival is going to be the best and most worth the money; because as great as festivals are, lets face it, it’s expensive. (Not just to go to one, but to put one on. It’s expensive for all parties involved) So, in the below, I compiled a short list of some upcoming festivals and detailed out a few of the pros and cons.
MAR 13-17: Pot of Gold Festival – $49-$200
I don’t know a whole lot about the Arizona Pot of Gold festival other than the fact that they have a stellar line up and some pretty sweet vendors/sponsors. Fall Out Boy, Echosmith, Bastille, Awolnation, Chevelle and a ton of other big names just to start it off.
The only thing that I find slightly displeasing about this festival is how they’ve strategically spread out the more well-known bands across each day (which is a good thing to do) but they offer no benefits for going to multiple or all days of the festival. Given the line-up I know I would want to be at at least three of the four days, and each day is a $50 dollar ticket so it would cost me $150. This might not be so bad if there weren’t festivals like Warped Tour (or any of the below festivals for that matter) where I could see twice the amount of bands that I love (including some named on this festival) for less.
Nonetheless, I think the line up is amazing and if I had gotten there earlier for the “Early Bird Shamrock Steal” or “Lucky Deal” maybe I wouldn’t be feeling the sticker shock I’m facing now. (minimal as that sticker shock may be)
MAR 13-15: 35 Denton Festival – $25-$115
The annual 35 Denton festival strikes again with another 263~ bands including recently signed to Sire Records, Residual Kid and Dallas Observers‘ 2014 North Texas Artist to Watch, Kaela Sinclair. Given the line up, 35 Denton seems like much more a local/regional festival but it’s a far cry from being the lowliest. It features some incredibly talented artists and with the 3-day pass being a mere $65 it seems well worth it.
If you’re looking for the major/mainstream acts that you hear on the popular radio stations, you won’t find them at this festival. But from the looks of it, they put on a great show, and the bands they do have on the line up seem amazing. It’s incredibly affordable; only $25-$35 to go for just one day. It’s definitely worth checking out!
MAR 17-22: SXSW – $895
Believe it or not this is only the SECOND most expensive festival on this list.
The amount of bands that play at SXSW is truly overwhelming. Scrolling through their lists on the website will only give you a headache but to give you an idea, “Portugal, The Man”, SPEAK, Spoon, Riverboat Gamblers, Milky Chance, AWOLNATION, Riff Raff, Plain White T’s, Residual Kid, The Ting Tings, and Transit are all on the line up along with about a million other bands.
If this wasn’t enough, SXSW has such a huge name that other festivals came into Austin to play on the same week in the same areas to capitalize. What’s great about most of these “non-SXSW” festivals is that they’re almost always free such as the Red Gorilla Music Festival (at the Thirsty Nickle) and Heart of Texas Rockfest. (on 7th & Neches)
It is virtually impossible to see everyone during this festival so we suggest making a plan, we wrote a SXSW guide just for you.
MAR 20-22: South by So What?! – $50-$300
Third String Festivals 8th annual South by So What?! is officially 10 days away and the line up is better than it has ever been! Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Hawthorne Heights, Circa Survive, Mayday Parade, Radio City, Driver Friendly, Dear You, Courage My Love The Maine, Shadow of Whales, Frank Iero and Cartel (PERFORMING CHROMA!!!) are on this list and that’s only a few of the bands on just the first day of the festival! Saturday will see Motionless in White, Memphis May Fire, For Today, Chiodos, Minds & Machines, Fire From the Gods,Wolves at the Gate and a gajillion more. The line up on Sunday features Suicide Silence, Chelsea Grin, Code Orange, Atreyu, Fit for a King, Norma Jean, Mouth of the South and so much more. This is just a synopsis of whats on the front page of South By So What’s website. Tickets for this amazing line up seem well worth a $50 purchase for just a one day pass or $139 for a general admission 3 day pass.
Perhaps one of the coolest things about the South By So What?! festival (aside from that fantastic line up) is that you can make your own custom schedule on the schedule page of their website. You can even link it to your Facebook so that all your friends can see which bands are on your schedule.
Fun fact from one who is on Twitter often: a lot of fans seem to be comparing this years South by So What festival to the 2015 Warped Tour stating that South By So What has become Warped and Warped has become South By So What. I would disagree, especially given the fact that Warped hasn’t finished announcing their line up yet, but also because the current Warped line up is nothing to snuff at and the subsequent South By So What festivals aren’t either. I’m going to both festivals this year because they are both going to be amazing, that’s just me though.
MAR 20-21: Never Say Never Fest – $50-$160
On the other side of Texas, the Never Say Never fest (est. 2009) returns with some pretty stellar bands. Coincidentally, a lot of those bands happen to be playing at the South by So What Festival so for some it might be a matter of just which festival you live closest to. This festival is two days of straight awesome and has some pretty fantastic VIP ticket options. If you live down in Mission, TX, I’m jealous of you.
JUN 11-14: Bonnaroo – $325-$1,525
Bonnaroo at face value seems insanely expensive, however, the line up is stacked with a crazy amount of awesome bands and its more than just a music festival. Headliners include Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, Florence & the Machine, Bassnectar, Hozier, Tears for Fears, Twenty One Pilots, AWOLNATION, Royal Blood and more. Aside from music, at the Bonnaroo festival you’ll get to experience 25+ craft breweries, outrageous nightly parades, a 5k run, yoga, a Ferris wheel and a lot more.
Perhaps the coolest thing about this festival is it’s “Bonnaroovian code.” Bonnaroo promotes its festival as a community where people come, leave their worries at home and have an amazing weekend. Being a part of that community requires that you follow a couple of code rules, and of the most important of those rules is to Radiate Positivity. “The Farm” as they call it “is an aggro-free zone… Smiles, high fives, and random acts of kindness… Happiness is the goal” They ask that you prepare accordingly, don’t be that guy/gal, respect the farm, and then take that positive attitude and bring it with you when the festival is over.
If the line up and activities weren’t enough, hopefully the message they promote helps you appreciate the festival more.
JUN-AUG: Vans Warped Tour – $60-$100
If you’ve been reading our Warped Tour Essentials series, you’ll know that this year’s Warped Tour festival is probably going to be the best one yet!
For the past few months, they’ve been having Bryan Stars announce five bands each week and with every announcement the anticipation and excitement continues to grow! They’ve already announced SO MANY AMAZING acts like The Wonder Years, Neck Deep, Our Last Night, Motion City Soundtrack, Candy Hearts, Icon for Hire, Fit for a King, Family Force 5, blessthefall, Black Veil Brides, Being as an Ocean, As It Is, just to name a small few! They’ve introduced quite a few eclectic bands out of their norm as well with announcements for Bebe Rexha, Koo Koo Kanga Roo and Riff Raff, and though I’m not sure what to think of it, I’m still excited to see what comes of it. The greatest part of this festival is that the sky is still the limit because THEY ARE STILL ANNOUNCING BANDS! They aren’t even close to being done yet!
Just one more thing about Warped Tour before I move on. This festival always brings on some fantastic people with it such as To Write Love on Her Arms and HeartSupport. It’s clear that Warped cares for more than just throwing a fantastic festival but also encouraging and inspiring the festivals attendee’s by providing a fantastic community to be around and be involved with. This is going to be a banger year and one that will be hard to miss.
Get tickets to Vans Warped Tour
These are just a few of the amazing festivals happening this year but honorable mentions go to River City Rockfest in San Antonio and Coachella. (which is already sold out) Which festivals have I missed that you are going to this year? Let me know in the comments below.