Music is the soul of communities and gives a taste of regional culture. Celebrating the art, culture and music of cities around the country brings people together. Here, we’ll tell you where to find the best music festivals in 2018. So sit back, turn up the tunes and plan your next adventure.
Known as the “Big Easy,” New Orleans is the city that time forgot. A stroll through antebellum mansions of the Garden District or through the quieter parts of the French Quarter and you may soon forget what year it is. When it’s time to turn up the heat, catch some live jazz at a Bourbon Street club or dance with Lady Luck at the downtown casino.
Celebrate the birthplace of jazz at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in late April (April 27 – May 6, 2018). Duke Ellington, Fats Domino and other jazz luminaries have all performed at this festival, which also features crafts, cultural exhibits and Cajun food. Today the festival still showcases plenty of jazz talent, alongside pop, rap and rock acts like Stevie Wonder, Pearl Jam and Snoop Dogg.
The award-winning French Quarter Festival,the largest free music event in the U.S., is a four-day (April 12-15, 2018) local music showcase scattered throughout the French Quarter in New Orleans. Omni Royal Orleans, the official host hotel of French Quarter Fest, will have a food booth along the river all during the Festival featuring the Rib Room selling the famous Prime Rib Debris PoBoy and chicken & sausage gumbo. The Festival features 1,700 musicians playing 400 hours of free, local music from a variety of musical genres on 23 stages throughout the French Quarter. The festival also features local cuisine, including “World’s Largest Jazz Brunch” and booths from local restaurants to celebrate the French Quarter.
Just east of gorgeous desert paradise Palm Springs, Indio is home to one of the top music festivals in the world. Indio and the surrounding area have much more to offer than just a host city to music, including top restaurants, incredible sunsets and rich history.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an annual festival (April 13-15 and April 20-22, 2018) hosted by the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. With headliners such as Beyoncé, Drake, Lady Gaga and Kanye West, Coachella always draws huge crowds together for two weekends of music, art and fun. Coachella goers have the option of onsite camping, so they can live and breathe the festival nonstop. Desert sunsets, festival street style and incredible music make Coachella a top music festival.
The Stagecoach Festvial (April 27-29, 2018), dubbed “California’s Country Music Festival,” is also hosted by Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA. While Coachella and Stagecoach are held at the same venue, expect different experiences. Stagecoach brings in performers like Garth Brooks, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw. Drawing in country music fans from all over the country, Stagecoach is one of the best annual country music experiences. Don’t miss out on this event if country music is your genre of choice.
Where to Stay: Omni Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
A perfect blend of cosmopolitan sophistication and southern hospitality, Atlanta knows how to host any visitor. Peach City is full of entertainment including the Georgia Dome, the Georgia World Congress Center, Philips Arena, the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park, the new World of Coca-Cola Museum and more, all located in the Centennial Park District.
Atlanta’s SweetWater 420 Festival is held the weekend closest to Earth Day (April 20-22, 2018) to celebrate Mother Earth. This three-day festival is hosted by SweetWater, an Atlanta Brewery, and hosts acts like The String Cheese Incident, Tedeschi Trucks Band and Umphrey’s McGee. Kick off the weekend with the 420 Fest 5K and taste the brewery’s 25 beers in the SweetWater Experience. For the nature lover and brewery fanatic, SweetWater 420 Festival is for you.
Shaky Knees, held in early May (May 4-6, 2018) in Central Park, is a rock-lover’s dream. The diverse lineup includes performers such as Jack White, Queens of the Stone Age and The National. With over 60 bands, local Atlanta eats and photo booths, there’s a little something for everyone.
With an endless amount of activities, Chicago is the perfect destination for every occasion. From sports games to summer music festivals and top-notch shopping, Chicago has a little bit of everything to please everyone.
Lollapalooza, held at historic Grant Park in Chicago, is a four-day (August 2-5, 2018) music festival featuring musical acts from varying genres of music. With past headliners such as Arcade Fire, Lorde and The Killers, Lollapalooza has a little something for everyone. Chow Town, the festival’s food park, offers festival food, drinks and sweets from the Windy City’s favorite restaurants. Grub on Chicago’s best, nod along to top bands and stay awhile to experience the best of Lollapalooza.
Where to Stay: Omni Chicago Hotel
From the beach to the river walk, Northeast Florida offers an array of activities. Visitors will enjoy everything from natural beaches and golf courses on the coast to the energy of a thriving art scene in downtown Jacksonville.
Celebrate big names, bigger sounds and of jazz at Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Held every Memorial Day weekend (May 24-27, 2018), Jacksonville Jazz Festival brings together the biggest names in Jazz to celebrate the genre’s music, art and culture. The festival is one of the largest free music festivals in the country, ensuring all jazz aficionados can experience the weekend. 2018’s lineup will include Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Sheila E and Lohai, among many other talented jazz musicians. Take it easy and celebrate America’s music at Jacksonville Jazz Festival.
The City by the Bay epitomizes northern California with its eclectic style and subtle sophistication. Any San Francisco experience won’t be complete without taking in views of the fog-shrouded Golden Gate Bridge, riding a classic cable car or seeing Fisherman’s Wharf, Chinatown or the newly renovated Ferry Building. A vibrant city known for wonderful diversity, San Francisco is a rare and colorful destination.
Outside Lands is an annual musical festival held in Golden Gate Park every August (August 10-12, 2018). It frequently attracts acts as varied as Radiohead, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie and Miguel, as well as comedy acts like Fred Armisen and Charlyne Yi. Along with laughs and tunes, you can also feast at some of the best food trucks the city has to offer or even sit down for a special four-course meal courtesy of the restaurant Trestle.
Where to Stay: Omni San Francisco Hotel
Not only is Austin home to the Texas State Capitol, it’s also the epicenter of the state’s music, art, and cultural scenes. With multiple music venues that offer everything from country to bluegrass to rock and roll, the 6th Street Entertainment District can’t be missed.
Every year Austin is swarmed with people attending SXSW, which not only plays host to several great music acts at the annual music festival in March (March 9-18, 2018), but also hosts film premieres, comedians and conferences in fields like marketing, journalism, food and virtual reality. SXSW always showcases a wealth of musicians, both established and unknown, making for a memorable festival experience.
Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival is an annual music festival (October 5-7 and 12-14, 2018) held in Zilker Park that brings Austin locals and music lovers from across the globe together. ACL Festival hosts top performers every year, with past headliners such as Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chance the Rapper and Vance Joy. ACL Festival always features a diverse lineup, with eight stages, over 140 acts and two weekends full of music, food and fun. The ACL Eats Food Court shows off Austin’s foodie paradise by offering delicious bites from Austin favorites.
A trip to Music City is sure to be filled with all of the things Nashville is known for—a rich musical history, live performances, iconic venues and plenty of country music. Nashville is filled with progressive restaurants, trendy neighborhoods, indie businesses and beautiful scenery.
At CMA Fest, held every June (June 7-10, 2018), country music’s biggest stars come together for a night of unforgettable performances. Musicians such as Miranda Lambert, Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton have all graced the stage at Nissan Stadium and Music City Center. For country music fans, this festival is an absolute must see in the Music City.
Where to Stay: Omni Nashville Hotel