By: Camren Skelton
With spring and summer rapidly approaching, so is every music-lover’s favorite time of year. Festival season—and the crazy shenanigans that come with it—is upon us. If you’ve never had the opportunity of seeing your favorite artists live, surrounded by thousands of fans just as dedicated as you, then the feeling can only be described in one way--euphoric. Whether you spend a day, weekend or entire week winding your way around the grounds to find your favorite acts, the experience is one that cannot be replicated anywhere else. And the best part? Many of the best festivals are right at your doorstep.
Music Midtown — The Athens crowd is no stranger to this Atlanta-based festival. Held every year in September, Music Midtown falls at the perfect time to take that much-needed break from classes. In the past, Coldplay, Third Eye Blind, Lana del Rey and Young the Giant have headlined, and the2016 lineup is sure to be just as impressive. “I got the opportunity to work at Music Midtown last year because of my music business class,” says Tina Banjo, a junior finance major from Atlanta. “I’ve been in the past, but this time I actually got to go backstage and get autographs from some of the artists, so that was a really cool experience.” While not everyone will get to experience the festival that up close and personal, Music Midtown is definitely a must to check off your bucket list.
TomorrowWorld -- If Electronic Dance Music is what calls your name, then TomorrowWorld is the festival for you. Hailing from Belgium, TomorrowWorld is an extension of one of the biggest electronic festivals in the world—Tomorrowland. But you don’t need a passport to discover the magic this festival brings. Deep within the forest of Chattahoochee Hills, in a land hidden from civilization, it will be hard to remember you’re still in Georgia. However, as with any outdoor event, Mother Nature might not always be on your side. “I was at the festival for four days,” says Haley Leonard, a senior fashion merchandising major from Warner Robbins. “I was camping, and the rain was unreal making the entire place a muddy mess. But we embraced it and still had a great time.” Rain or shine, TomorrowWorld is sure to be a festival you won’t forget.
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival — For those music connoisseurs, Bonnaroo is sure to be at the top of any bucket list. With a diverse array of musical styles ranging from indie rock, classic rock, folk, Americana and hip-hop, there is a stage at this festival that is sure to satisfy any taste. Notable acts in the past have included Arctic Monkeys, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Kings of Leon and Kanye West, and 2016 will bring even more. Bonnaroo stems from a Creole slang word meaning “a really good time” and that is just what you’ll have when you step foot on the grounds in Manchester, Tennessee.
The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience -- Also known as Voodoo fest. If New Orleans isn’t enough to spark your interest, then the impressive past lineups will be sure to leave you begging to go. Foo Fighters, R.E.M., Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem, Modest Mouse... and the list goes on and on. Held every year on Halloween weekend, you might feel chills from more than just the music pouring from the stage.
Hangout Music Festival -- Held every year on the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, Hangout is unique amongst its festival counterparts. “Hangout stands out as one of the most fun festivals I’ve gone to,” says Leah Honkanen, a health promotions major from Huntsville, Alabama. “It combines everything I love from a beach trip with everything I love from a festival. I got to swim in the ocean, eat great food and get a good tan all while listening to amazing music.” And amazing is right. Past lineups have included Zac Brown Band, Dave Matthews Band, Imagine Dragons and The Killers. The 2016 lineup is no different—if you’re dying to see Cage The Elephant, Alabama Shakes, The Weeknd and even Athens’ favorite, Moon Taxi, all in one place, then Hangout is one festival you will not want to miss.
Music has a way of bringing together diverse groups of people, and festivals are the perfect opportunity to see this at work. While it may seem impossible to pick just one, rest assured that no matter where you go, great talent, great music, great atmosphere and—in the words of Bonnaroo—“a really good time,” await you.