We’re still trying to soak in those last bits of summer sun, but as the temperature drops, there’s still a lot to look forward to. Winter music festivals are coming up! 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. You’re going to need your passport for some of these, and what better way to enjoy a new, foreign place, than by living like a local in a cozy vacation rental. Start planning, because here are the 10 coolest winter musical festivals around the world!
1. Snowglobe, South Lake Tahoe, California
Winter technically starts on December 21, 2017, and Lake Tahoe’s Snowglobe is the first music festival scheduled to kick off the season. Taking place December 29-31, 2017, 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. Pre-sale tickets are already sold out, but additional tickets will be released in September.
2. Sydney Festival, 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.
3. Eurosonic Noordeslag, Groningen, the Netherlands
Groningen is one of Hollands hidden treasures. It’s a university town tucked up in the north of the flatlands with dreaming spires, brooding canals, intriguing galleries, and the hair-raising nightlife of Amsterdam. January 17-19, 2018, this tiny town will come to life with music during Eurosonic Noordeslag, the European music platform. This festival as a proven track record for helping new acts break into the international music scene, so if you like being the first one in the know, head to this festival.
4. The Rock Boat, New Orleans, Lousiana
This five day musical adventure from January 30 to February 4, doesn’t just take place in New Orleans. You’ll hop on board the Norwegian Pearl to Progreso and then Cozumel, Mexico! Some of the artists scheduled for 2018 are Sister Hazel, Barenaked Ladies, NEEDTOBREATHE, and Will Hoge. Unfortunately, the ship only sleeps 2,500 so Rock Boat 2018 is already sold out, but you can still join the wait list and start planning head for 2019.
5. Where’s the Music, Norrköping, Sweden
Not too far from Stockholm likes the sleepy east Swedist City of Norrköping which is making a name for itself in the international rock and roll scene. Dates haven’t been released for 2018 yet, but this year, this festival took place February 2-4, with around 100 artists at 10 different venues. One of the cool things about Where’s the Music is that it’s not just a music festival. It’s also a conference where you can attend lectures and seminars about both the Swedish and international music industry.
6. Noise Pop, San Francisco, California
Noise Pop is an indie music, arts, and film festival in San Francisco. Their goal is to pay homage to the greats while also focusing on the best up-and-coming artists in the Bay Area. This festival spans 11 days, features more than 160 bands and 85 events at over 25 venues. They’ve come a long way from the first Noise Pop Festival in 1993 which was only one night with five bands! Get ready for non-stop music from electronic to jazz to good ol’ rock n’ roll, plus art shows, film scores, talks, happy hours, after hours and more.
7. Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival
This festival burst onto the Florida scene in 2016, and even though it’s technically still a toddler, Okeechobee has immediately become a fan favorite. Taking place March 1-4, this is the first major music festival of the United States festival season and gives you a glimpse of summertime fun to come. The festival takes place at the grassy fields, sandy beach, and majestic grove of Sunshine Grove which does allow camping, but you’ll probably have just as much if not more fun, piling all of your friends into one vacation rental.
8. By:Larm, Oslo, Norway
By:Larm is a music festival and a conference, but most importantly, it’s a celebration of Nordic music talent. Our favorite part of this festival? Fascinating Oslo, the capital of Norway, and venues including city bars, converted former factories, and even the tops of skyscrapers. The 2018 By:Larm festival takes place March 1-3 and will introduce you to European artists on the verge of success.
9. McDowell Mountain Music Festival, Phoenix, Arizona
We love the McDowell Mountain Festival because it’s 100% non-profit and has been so since its inception in 2004. This festival is a celebration of not only music, but community, culture, and charity and was designed to promote community involvement, corporate participation, and charity. The festival attracts thousands of visitors each year, and all proceeds benefit local charities.
10. South by Southwest, Austin, Texas
Rounding out our winter festivals is the iconic SXSW, taking place March 9-18, just before winter ends on the 20th. For nine days, downtown Austin is taken over by music, art, interactive panels, comedy, and movies. There’s no specific genre or regional focus except the best of the best. This year, there were over 2,000 official performers from 63 countries. South by Southwest is now known as the premier destination for discovery of emerging talent.
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