Music festivals have been taking the world by storm for decades. The first major festival was The Monterey Pop Festival, a three-day major rock festival that took place in 1967 and served as a template for many festivals that came after it, including Woodstock. Now, music festivals around the world host millions of visitors each year, and people come from all over the world to see some of the biggest names in the music industry. There are hundreds of music festivals that host big name artists each year, but here are just a few of the best and the biggest music festivals in the world today on various continents.
Biggest and Best Music Festivals in the World
Where: Indio, California, U.S.A.
Coachella is one of the biggest and best music festivals in the United State and in the world. People gather deep in the Coachella Valley on the polo grounds in the desert and dress to impress with Coachella fashion, which includes the notable flower crowns. Coachella always sells out its 99,000 capacity per weekend,198,000 ticket total. In 2016, Coachella brought in hundreds of artists including Guns N’ Roses, LCD Soundsystem and Calvin Harris, who were the headliners, and also featured acts like Ice Cube, Zedd, A$AP Rocky, Sia, Major Lazer and more. Given its location in California, Coachella also has many celebrities like other musicians and famous actors who come to enjoy the festival. Learn more >
Where: Boom, Belgium
Tomorrowland is one of the biggest and most recognized music festivals in the world for electronic dance music, which has been sweeping the globe in the last decade getting bigger and bigger. Hundreds of electronic music DJ’s take the various artfully built stages at Tomorrowland. Tomorrowland brought in names like Alesso, David Guetta, Avicii, Steve Aoki, Martin Garrix, Dillon Francis, Tiesto and more before. Learn more >
Where: Novi Sad, Serbia
Exit is another world famous music festival and one of the most recognized. It has electronic, rock, metal, hip hop/rap, reggae and punk music. Exit has been organized every year since 2000 and takes place at the Petrovaradin Fortress. Exit has brought in big artists like Wiz Khalifa, Ellie Goulding, David Guetta, Bastille, Nicky Romero and many more. Learn more >
4. Splendour in the Grass
Where: Byron Bay, Australia
Splendour in the Grass is a world famous summer music festival that has been held annually in Australia since 2001. The festival showcases indie rock, hip hop, electronic and alternative genres. Artists like The Strokes, Flume, James Blake, Santigold, What So Not, The 1975, Leon Bridges and more have taken the stages. Learn more >
5. Fuji Rock
Where: Yuzawa, Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Fuji Rock is the biggest outdoor music event in Japan and one of the largest and most recognized music festivals in Asia and the world. It began in 1997 where it took place at the base of Mount Fuji, but has been held at the Naeba Ski Resort since 1999. Fuji Rock showcases rock and electronic music and have hosted artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Blake, Sigur Ros, Beck, Wilco, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals and more. Learn more >
6. Rock in Rio
Where: Alternates between Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Lisbon, Portugal; Madrid, Spain; Las Vegas, Nevada
The Rock in Rio music festival originated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1985 and has been held there in 1991, 2001, 2011, 2013 and 2015 as well. There have been six Rock in Rio Festivals in Lisbon, Portugal, three in Madrid, Spain and in Las Vegas in 2015 and 2017 called “Rock in Rio USA.” In 2015, Las Vegas’ Rock in Rio held Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, No Doubt, Metallica, Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, John Legend, Big Sean, Empire of the Sun and more. Learn more >
Where: Rabat, Morocco, Africa
Mawazine, also known as Rhythms of the World, is a world-renowned music festival and the largest that is held on the continent of Africa. Mawazine has hosted notable artists like Chris Brown, Iggy Azalea, Wyclef Jean, Pitbull, Christina Aguilera and many more from regions all over Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Learn more >
Fall and Winter Music Festivals
After soaking up those last bits of summer sun and as the temperature drops, there’s still a lot to look forward to. Winter music festivals! Music festivals are usually scheduled during the spring and summer, but there’s something oddly mystical about listening to your favorite artist in front of a backdrop of snow.
Where: Del Mar Race Track + Fairgrounds, CA
Situated at the Del Mar Racetrack + Fairgrounds, KAABOO bills itself as an escape from the traditional festival scene, prioritizing attendees’ comfort and “sound voyage” over the loud, crowded chaos that typically ensues at other events. With nice weather, ample seating, and a location on the beautiful California coast, this 3-day festival is a welcome reprieve for music lovers who don’t necessarily crave “the scene.” Learn more >
9. Life is Beautiful Festival
Where: Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada
The Life is Beautiful Festival combines music, art, and food for an immersive “multisensory experience” that tingles all the attendees’ senses. Not only are the headliners massive, but dozens of artists also transform Downtown Las Vegas into a visual wonderland with an outdoor gallery and massive murals. Life is Beautiful provides a dynamic way to experience this famous city that doesn’t involve slot machines or blackjack tables. Learn more >
10. Austin City Limits
Where: Zilker Park, Austin, TX
Located in Zilker Park, Austin City Limits provides plenty to do in between the sets of some of the biggest names in music. This famed festival also offers a silent disco, large-scale art installations, and an art market to boot. Plus, you know a music festival in Austin wouldn’t be complete without the ACL Eats Food Court offering a slew of delicious snack options to satiate your tummy in addition to your ears! Learn more >
11. Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
Where: City Park, New Orleans, LA
You may think all the best festivals go down during the spring and summer, but as we transition into fall, the live music isn't stopping. Voodoo Music + Art Experience takes over New Orleans — one of the coolest, spookiest cities in the U.S.. Featuring some of the biggest names in music, Voodoo is an excellent time to experience the creepy, voodoo vibes that New Orleans is famous for, without having to endure the tourist trap of Mardi Gras. Learn more >
12. Snowglobe, South Lake Tahoe, California
Where: South Lake Tahoe, CA
Winter technically starts on December 21, and Lake Tahoe's Snowglobe is the first music festival scheduled to kick off the season. This annual festival is where music meets the mountains. Just imagine the EDM festival of your dreams, set in this sleepy ski town, and get ready to dance, scream, and lose your mind. Learn more >
13. Sydney Festival, Sydney, Australia
Where: Sydney, Australia
Lake Tahoe might be cold, but you can also travel to the other side of the world because it's summer in Australia! Every January, the Sydney Festival transforms the city with diverse acts ranging from burlesque circus to traditional Indigenous arts, from opera and classical to new wave and jazz. Sydney Festival lasts almost the entire month of January with over 450 performances and 150 events performed by over 1,000 artists at more than 46 venues across theater, dance, music, circus, and art. Learn More >
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This article was written by Cameron Lafontaine.