It’s the epic drop you’ve been waiting for: music festival season is here. Dance music festivals continue to blow up in popularity (previously, we reviewed these 15 dance fests), and this year there are more events than ever for fans to get their fix with incredible dance music lineups going off throughout the year all across North America. From festivals aboard tropical cruises (Holy Ship) to snow-covered winter extravaganzas (SnowGlobe), the amazing array of fests with killer dance acts has us feeling like a bunch of kids in a candy store. To help you find your fun, here are our top picks for the best dance music festivals out there in 2017 and 2018.
Electric Forest — Weekend 2: June 29-July 2, Rothbury, Michigan
With its lush green setting tucked away in the Michigan wilderness and its unique mix of dance acts and jam bands, Electric Forest Festival is truly one of a kind. With slightly different lineups each weekend, you can curate your sound at Electric Forest. This year, Weekend 1 brings fans Odesza, Above & Beyond, Big Gigantic, and Oliver Heldens, while Weekend 2 has a bit more bass with RL Grime, DJ Snake, and Flume amongst many more. On top of all of these amazing headliners, Dillon Francis, Bassnectar, A-Trak, and countless others will play the forest both weekends! With camping, carnival rides, a waterpark, and multiple stages spread out over the course of four days, Electric Forest has everything you need to have the time of your life.
Mad Decent Block Party — July 7, Philadelphia, PA
Superstar DJ, producer, and songwriter Diplo is a man of many talents. In addition to producing hits for some of music’s biggest stars (Britney Spears, Madonna, Beyoncé) and blowing up the charts with his own projects (Major Lazer and Jack Ü), his label Mad Decent throws the annual multi-city Mad Decent Block Party to showcase its artists’ talents. This year, the Block Party will hit only two lucky cities—Philadelphia and Denver. In Philly, you can catch 4B, Diplo, and Flosstradamus, while in Denver, Alison Wonderland, Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer, and Slumberjack will be killing it at the legendary Red Rocks venue.
FVDED in the Park — July 7-8, Surrey BC
One of Canada’s most loved music festivals, FVDED in the Park offers a perfect mixture of electronic and hip-hop for those who may fall in the middle of the music spectrum. The Chainsmokers, Wiz Khalifa, Dillon Francis, and Ty Dolla Sign are just a few of the exciting artists to glorify the stage this year. The good vibes will be flowing once again this July, so don’t miss out!
Bud Light Dreams — July 7-8, Toronto
This dreamlike festival looks perfectly magical, set in the beautiful RBC Echo Beach in Toronto. Above & Beyond, Steve Angelo, What So Not, Thomas Jack, and Shiba San have all signed on for the holiday weekend! Also headlining is the beloved collaboration between Dillon Francis and Flosstradamus—Dillstradamus. This will be one of the first festival appearances by the joint musical project… definitely a set to look out for. On top of the music, Toronto is gorgeous in July. Don’t miss the views from the CN Tower, the impeccable collection at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and all the action at the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Camp Bisco — July 13-15, Scranton, PA
There’s a lot to love about Camp Bisco. Alongside three days of killer music on three impressive stages, you can also expect to enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful venue. Camp Bisco takes place in the pristine wilderness of Montage Mountain, a gorgeous outdoor venue in the hills above Scranton. Camping, lush forests, a waterpark with numerous slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river—Bisco has it all. Not to mention a stellar lineup featuring GRiZ, Gramatik, Bassnectar, The Disco Biscuits, Pretty Lights (Live), and many more.
Center of Gravity — July 28-30, Kelowna
This epic Canadian beach festival is complete with paddle boarding, volleyball, and of course, the hottest dance music acts of the times. While delighting in your favorite beach and water activities, you can catch artists like Marshmello, Mija, Dr. Fresch, and Borgore slaying the waterfront stages. Kelowna is an absolutely beautiful part of Canada, filled with wineries, orchards, green rolling hills, and Lake Okanagan. Definitely spend some time enjoying the remarkable sights of nature, and maybe go on a wine tasting pre or post festival!
Lollapalooza — August 3-6, Chicago, IL
The Midwest’s favorite festival is coming up! The beloved festival takes place in the iconic Grant Park right in Downtown Chicago. Now increased from three days to four, attendees have ample time to enjoy the venue, music, and art present at Lolla. This year, you can catch Chance the Rapper, Porter Robinson, The Killers, Kaskade, Blink-182, Migos, The XX, and so many more. There are also a ton of fun after parties in the city to check out—you have a myriad of options if you want to keep the night going!
HARD Summer — August 5-6, San Bernardino, Southern California
Celebrating its tenth anniversary, HARD Summer will be returning to its new, larger venue at the Fontana Speedway for another two banging days of dance music and hip hop. Since its beginnings, founder Gary Richards has been committed to elevating and expanding the electronic music space. His diverse taste and knowledge in music manifests itself in the festival’s line-ups that consist of performances by both emerging and world-renowned performers in the electronic, hip-hop and alternative music genres. Thanks to Gary’s dedication, HARD Summer has grown into a future music festival driving the taste of youth culture around the globe. HARD Summer 2017 will take place early August, and has recently added optional festival camping, making the event into a full on experience! This year catch the likes of Justice, Dogblood, DJ Snake, and Bassnectar headlining amongst some other incredible talent.
Chasing Summer — August 5-6, Calgary
Taking place over Heritage Day, Chasing Summer is the perfect place to celebrate the long weekend alongside some of your favorite DJ’s like Jauz, Tiesto, NGHTMRE, and W&W. The Max Bell Centre Festival Grounds provide a grassy oasis for you to enjoy some amazing music, drinks, and food. As Western Canada’s largest dance music festival, you definitely have to check this one out if you’re in the area!
VELD — August 5-6, Toronto
Another high energy electronic festival in Toronto, VELD heats up at the end of August on the expansive greens of Downview Park. This year’s headliners include Tchami, Slander, Zedd, Madeon, Major Lazer, and Getter. With epic stage production along with fun activities like waterslides and bead making, Veld’s got you covered for both carefree times in the sun and raging performances at night.
Summer Set — August 11-13, Somerset, WI
Close out your summer with Summer Set, a music and camping festival in Wisconsin complete with great vibes and even better dance music. Artists like Zeds Dead, GRiZ, Datsik, MALAA, and Slushii will bring the bass for this unforgettable weekend in the sun. On top of this already estimable lineup, you can also look forward to Summer Set after parties hosted by Louis the Child and Illenium. This is definitely a festival you have to hit if you’re anywhere in the Midwest.
Shambhala — August 11-14, British Colombia
This grassroots music festival really is something special, bringing attendees the electronic music that they desire without any business or production motives getting in the way. Shambhala prides itself on keeping the dance music scene true to its roots, as well as bringing people together to experience this music in a beautiful outdoor setting. The festival is set on the Salmo River Ranch, a breathtaking venue that doubles as a farm with the Salmo River running through. In addition to the magical atmosphere at Shambhala, the festival also boasts a stunning lineup that includes Chris Lake, Adventure Club, Herobust, REZZ, Jai Wolf, Justin Martin, and Kill the Noise.
Electric Zoo — September 1-3, Randall’s Island, NYC
Every Labor Day, EDM lovers looking for a wild time flock to Electric Zoo to dance the long weekend away. The festival is situated on Randall’s Island, a lush river park featuring nine miles of waterfront pathways and unparalleled views of the Manhattan skyline. This year’s epic bill features dance masters like the Armin Van Buuren, deadmau5 & Eric Prydz, Galantis, and Oliver Heldens. The International Dance Music Awards nominated Electric Zoo for Best Music Event four years in a row—come see what all the buzz is about.
Mad Decent Block Party — September 3, Denver, CO
Superstar DJ, producer, and songwriter Diplo is a man of many talents. In addition to producing hits for some of music’s biggest stars (Britney Spears, Madonna, Beyoncé) and blowing up the charts with his own projects (Major Lazer and Jack Ü), his label Mad Decent throws the annual multi-city Mad Decent Block Party to showcase its artists’ talents. This year, the Block Party will hit only two lucky cities—Philadelphia and Denver. In Philly, you can catch 4B, Diplo, and Flosstradamus amongst other artists, while in Denver, Alison Wonderland, Cashmere Cat, Major Lazer, and Slumberjack will be killing it at the legendary Red Rocks venue.
Day N Night Fest— September 8-10, Anaheim, CA
Now in its second year, Day N Night Fest goes down September 8th-10th at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California. Headliners include Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott and Chance The Rapper. Also performing are 21 Savage, Lil Uzi Vert, Russ, Playboi Carti, Famous Dex, Kodak Black, PnB Rock, $UICIDEBOY$, Taylor Bennett, Jay IDK, Pouya, Metro Boomin, SZA, Saba, Rich Chigga, Earl Sweatshirt and more. This is going to be a star-studded weekend! Tickets are on sale now with payment plans available.
Nocturnal Wonderland — September 15-16, San Bernardino, CA
This legendary SoCal festival will brighten up your September with a massive lineup that consistently includes dance music heavy-hitters like Mat Zo, Gramatik, Hot Since 82, Above & Beyond, Showtek, and TJR. Production value is next-level at Nocturnal Wonderland, with five insanely decked-out stages featuring the best in deep house, electro, techno, trance, disco, dubstep, and much more. Come for the music, soak up the vibes, and leave with a whole new perspective on what a festival can be. Stay tuned for this year’s lineup announcement very soon!
Life is Beautiful — September 22-24, Las Vegas, NV
Insomniac shows a different side with their second Vegas festival of the year, Life Is Beautiful. Unlike the majority of Insomniac’s dance music-heavy lineups, Life Is Beautiful features a diverse mix of electronic, alternative, rap, and hip-hop. Exciting talent like Chance the Rapper, Gorillaz, Kaskade, ZHU, and Lorde will be playing the festival that spans over 18 blocks of Downtown Las Vegas. With a huge focus on art, speakers, and architecture, Life Is Beautiful creates an all-around experience! You can marvel at the Art Motel, or even take a listen into ideas featuring Bill Nye. Anything is possible at Life Is Beautiful, and the setting of Las Vegas opens up even more opportunities for fun and excitement outside of the festival.
Austin City Limits — October 6-8, October 13-15, Austin, TX
Now with two weekends of music and fun, ACL is an optimal pick for any festival lovers in the South. Held in Zinker Park with a stunning backdrop of Downtown Austin, the festival is set in a beautiful, spacious environment. There are an array of kid-friendly spaces within ACL, so bringing the whole family is easy and fun! When it comes to music, the eight stages will be filled with some of the biggest names in music today, like Jay-Z, Gorillaz, Tove Lo, Martin Garrix, Rufus Du Sol, Ice Cube, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. ACL is a perfect choice for friends with varying music preferences, since so many genres are well represented within the lineup.
Escape — October, San Bernardino, CA
This Insomniac-produced Halloween fest lives up to its name, treating costumed revelers to a weekend escape full of spooky delights at the NOS Events Center. The 2017 dates and lineup haven’t been announced yet, but you can expect plenty of top-notch dance acts in addition to multiple themed stages, haunted mazes, and ghoulish performers.
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Orlando — Nov 10-11, Orlando, FL
Although the lineup for this year’s EDC Orlando has yet to be announced, fans can count on another monumental experience in the Sunshine State this winter. Occurring in early November, EDC Orlando is proof that festival season doesn’t have to be over in the warm land of Florida. Although a bit smaller in size than EDC Las Vegas, there is no shortage of good vibes, top of the line dance music, or jaw-dropping stage production at EDC Orlando. Stay tuned, because the lineup should be EPIC!
SnowGlobe — Dec 29-31, South Lake Tahoe, CA
Keep warm this NYE at SnowGlobe Music Festival, the perfect way to ring in the New Year with all your closest friends and favorite superstar DJs. The 2016 lineup featured stone-cold artists like Rufus Du Sol, ODESZA, Flume, The Chainsmokers, and Lido. On top of these world-renowned artists, you can also groove to some of your favorite deep house and house artists in the indoor “Igloo” stage. Those funky vibes are a great touch to the overall incredible SnowGlobe experience! The Lake Tahoe area is also home to tons of awesome winter activities including skiing, snowboarding, and plenty of great sledding and tubing.
Countdown — December, San Bernadino, CA
For electronic music lovers, Countdown is the perfect way to properly ring in the New Year! Located at the NOS Events Center in San Bernadino, the festival is a close drive from Los Angeles, and is definitely worth the trip for those who live farther away. Consistently booking some of the best dance music acts in the game, Countdown promises a wild weekend celebrating the end of 2017. Last year, artists like Seven Lions, Lane 8, Zedd, NGHTMRE, Troyboi, RL Grime, and Steve Aoki graced the six stages, each themed by genre of dance music. The breathtaking stage production, special sense of community, and exciting artist lineup at Countdown make for an unforgettable New Year’s celebration.
Holy Ship! — Jan 6-10 & Jan 10-13, Miami, FL to The Bahamas
A world-class dance music festival on a Caribbean ocean cruise? Yes please. With two ships setting sail from Miami to The Bahamas, Holy Ship is a sure-fire way to cure your winter blues and ring in the New Year in style. The 2018 boat trip lineup has yet to be announced, but this past year’s attendees experienced sets from favorites like Claude Vonstroke, Destructo, Fatboy Slim, Justin Martin, Jauz, and more – all performing on a luxurious cruise liner. Bon voyage!
Ultra Music Festival — March 23-25, Miami, FL
While the rest of the country is still thawing, Miami keeps it red-hot every spring with Ultra, which brings one of the most impressive—and eclectic—lineups of the year to Bayfront Park in the city’s downtown area. This year’s waterfront lineup featured some of the biggest names in dance music (Martin Garrix, Hardwell, Zed, DJ Snake, Avicii, Carl Cox), as well as a smorgasbord of amazing artists from genres as diverse as pop, electro, and indie pop (Justice, The Prodigy). The festival coincides with Miami’s annual Winter Music Conference “WMC”, meaning attendees can also soak up all the seminars, panel discussions, and epic parties that WMC brings to the table.
Beyond Wonderland — March, San Bernardino, CA
Insomniac’s annual Beyond Wonderland Festival has become a favorite with fans thanks to its euphoric vibes, dreamlike atmosphere, and world-class lineup of dance music talent. With stages, art, and performers straight out of Alice in Wonderland, the festival feels as if you’ve just stepped into a fairytale (with a high BPM, that is). This year, the festival’s psychedelic stages at the NOS Events Center were graced by a bevy of dance music’s finest including Aly & Fila, Bro Safari, Ekali, MK, and Vini Vici.
Shaky Beats — May, Atlanta, GA
This newer festival at Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park features a blend of top electronic acts alongside indie and hip-hop artists. Taking place one week after its rock and pop-oriented sister festival Shaky Knees, Shaky Beats brought the bass at its second year with a seriously impressive lineup featuring GRiZ, Kaskade, Flosstradamus, The Chainsmokers, Claude Vonstroke, and Bonobo. In addition to the festival fun, fans can enjoy all the great food, music, and culture Atlanta has to offer. We can’t wait for Shaky Beats 2018!
Lightning in a Bottle — May, Bradley, CA
The aptly titled festival has been electrifying Central California with world-class electronic music for more than a decade, and they do it in the most eco-friendly way possible. Lightning in a Bottle has won the “Outstanding Award” from non-profit group, A Greener Festival, five years running. As if an environmentally conscious festival featuring incredible music wasn’t enough, the weekend also features guest speakers, art installations, group meditation sessions, yoga classes, and more good vibes than you can shake a stick at. This year’s star-studded lineup included Rufus Du Sol, Bassnectar, Big Wild, Kaytranada,Troyboi, and Sam Gellaitry, providing for an unbelievable musical experience. We can only imagine how awesome next year’s lineup is going to be!
Movement — May, Detroit, MI
What better place for an underground dance music festival than Detroit, the birthplace of techno? Movement caters to all lovers of dance music, but diehard fans attending this year’s festival can enjoy the added bonus tech area, featuring demos of cutting-edge hardware and software. The 2017 lineup included legends like Carl Cox, Testpilot (deadmau5), Jamie Jones, Adam Beyer, and Soul Clap, among dozens of other talented artists. True to its roots in the Detroit underground, Movement abounds with epic after parties—check out movementafterparties.com to stay up to date.
Firefly — June, Dover, DE
Four days of music and camping in the beautiful Woodlands of Dover? Sign me up. This beautiful festival takes place mid-June, and promises a once in a lifetime experience filled with great vibes, yummy food, and incredible music acts. Not only will you find your favorite dance music acts like Dillon Francis, Galantis, Flume, and Miike Snow at Firefly, but also world famous rap, hip-hop, rock and alternative artists like Chance the Rapper, The Weeknd, Bob Dylan, Weezer, and Muse. All of your varying music tastes will be satisfied with this diverse lineup!
Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas — June, Las Vegas, NV
Arguably the largest EDM festival in North America, EDC Las Vegas has become a favorite of fans looking to go BIG. Going from 7pm to 5:30am, get ready to dance all night under the electric sky. With eight enormous stages, each with its own feel, there is no shortage of booming beats from each and every dance music genre. As always, EDC has brought in some of the biggest names in dance music for this year’s lineup, including Armin Van Buuren, Paul Oakenfeld, Kygo, Diplo, Dillon Francis, Axwell V Ingrosso, Above & Beyond, and so many more. With a completely immersive experience filled with art installments, parades, interactive areas, and more, you’ll enter a whole new magical world. In addition to all the euphoric dance action inside the venue, fans can also hit the strip for all the fun Sin City has to offer.
Spring Awakening — June, Chicago, IL
When the winter chill is gone and the flowers are in bloom, it’s time to celebrate at Spring Awakening! The festival returned for its sixth year this past June at Chicago’s massive Soldier Field (home of the Bears). This year’s unreal lineup boasted an incredible array of artists, including Yellow Claw, Diplo, Jauz, Benny Benassi, Gorgon City, Snails, Duke Dumont, and Armin Van Buuren. If you’re looking for dance music heaven, you will find it at Spring Awakening. When you’re not dancing your booty off at the festival, don’t miss great Windy City attractions like Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, and 360 Chicago (formerly John Hancock Observatory). Spring Awakening 2018 can’t come soon enough!
Original posted date: 04.05.2016
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