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7 Music Festivals That Should Be on Your Summer Bucket List

Summer music festivals can be found all over the U.S. — don't miss these big shows in smaller cities.

By Cara Sanders on April 21, 2023

Visitors listen to music at Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm in Franklin, Tennessee.
Franklin / Jeff Adkins

Ahhh, summer.

The days are longer, the air is hotter, and the music is louder.

For decades music festivals across the country have delighted and entertained. Sure, you’ve got your massive festivals like Lollapalooza, Coachella and Bumbershoot, but there are dozens of other summer festivals worth checking out – and chances are there’s one in your neck of the woods. You won’t want to miss out on these fun festivals this summer.

Boston Calling

Where: Boston, MA
When: May 26-28, 2023
Who:  The Lumineers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Paramore

Boston Calling Music Festival is a music festival co-curated by Aaron Dessner from The National (and fan-favorite collaborator of Taylor Swift). The festival is held over Memorial Day Weekend at the Harvard Athletic Complex and is Boston’s signature music festival, combining indie, rock and hip-hop artists, creating an unforgettable experience. 

Tennessee / Photo by Andrew Jorgensen/Bonnaroo


Where: Manchester, TN
When: June 14-18, 2023
Who: Kendrick Lamar, Odesza and Foo Fighters

With 10 stages, 150 performances and more than 80,000 people spread out on 700 acres for music, fun and culture; there is literally something for everyone at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival held in Manchester, TN. The festival offers a variety of different experiences and popups to explore. Be sure to check out group yoga sessions, delicious vendors and Kidsville, a designated area for children geared toward education and sustainability. 

Telluride Bluegrass Festival 

Where: Telluride, CO
When: June 15-18, 2023
Who: The String Cheese Incident, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Robert Plant & Allison Krauss

2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, which has taken place during the Summer Solstice in picturesque Telluride, CO. Take the gondola and enjoy views of the San Juan Mountains, participate in countless workshops or listen to acts participating in the festival’s signature band contest. 

Electric Forest 

Where: Rothbury, MI
When: June 22-25, 2023
Who: Odesza, Zeds Dead and Above & Beyond

More than 100 musical acts come together in Rothbury, MI, for the annual Electric Forest music festival, which celebrates electronic and jam band genres. Guests can listen to their favorite artists, camp onsite and even get married! In addition to the headlining artists, attendees can enjoy The String Cheese Incident, who have played the festival every year since its inception in 2008. 

Newport Folk Festival

Where: Newport, RI
When: July 28-30, 2023
Who: CAAMP, Billy Strings, Maggie Rogers

Bob Dylan made the Newport Folk Festival famous in the ’60s when he showed up with an electric guitar rather than his usual acoustic. These days, the Newport, RI festival is still bringing in some big acts and is one of the most picturesque festivals in the country, taking place on Narragansett Bay at the historic Fort Adams State Park. When festival-goers aren’t listening to their favorite artists, there is still plenty to do, like taking a water taxi to the festival area, a family-friendly atmosphere and plenty of libations. 

Beach Road Weekend

Where: Martha’s Vineyard, MA
When: August 25-27, 2023
Who: Bon Iver, Leon Bridges and Mumford & Sons

Beach Road Festival is a three-day festival of pop, rock, and fun in Martha’s Vineyard, a picturesque island off the coast of Massachusetts. The fun in the sun and music never stop at this local favorite, and two side-by-side stages ensure the jams won’t stop. This year, the festival has been reimagined to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the founding of the Town of Tisbury. Pro Tip: Try to stay on the island if possible so you don’t have to worry about getting back and forth via ferry. 

Visitors enjoy the music of the Marcus King Band during Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival at The Park at Harlinsdale in Franklin, Tennessee. Franklin is part of the Williamson County area.
Jeff Adkins

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival

Where: Franklin, TN
When: September 23-24, 2023
Who: The Lumineers, The Black Crowes and Zach Bryan

Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival is an annual arts festival in Franklin, TN. The two-day festival began in September 2015, and the goal was to highlight the diversity and community spirit of the New Orleans Jazz Fest, tailoring the best elements to Franklin. Today, the family-friendly festival boasts six stages and highlights hundreds of local artisans, restaurants, food trucks and makers that give context and authenticity to the Pilgrimage experience.

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