USA Festivals Worth Splashing the Cash on in 2013

Music Festival in Chicago

– Written by Victoria Philpott

Music festivals, film festivals, geek festivals and art festivals: they’re everywhere these days! As a festival lover myself it’s tough to choose between them all. The only way to settle on one is with an educated decision, so here goes, the top 10 festivals in the USA with my hot picks spotlighted…

JANUARY: Sundance Film Festival | 17-27 Jan | Utah

MARCH: SXSW | 8-17 March | Texas

APRIL: Coachella | 12-14 April and 19-21 April | California

MAY: Sasquatch | 25-28 May | Seattle

JUNE: Bonnaroo | 9-12 June | Tennessee and Governor’s Ball | 23-24 June | NYC

JULY: Pitchfork Festival | 13-15 July | Chicago

AUGUST: Lollapalooza | 3-5 Aug | Chicago and Outside Lands | 10-12 Aug | San Francisco and Burning Man | 27 Aug-3 Sept

SEPTEMBER: Bumbershoot | 1-3 Sept | Seattle

Sundance Film Festival

17-27 Jan | Utah

Festivals in the USA

Sleepy little Utah gets crazy, hectic every January when the Sundance Film Festival comes to town. Cool arthouse-like films are given the limelight and prove themselves to be worthy of the big screen. A great crowd and world premieres will ensure a brilliant festival experience at Sundance.

2012 highlights: The premiere of Beasts of the Southern Wild, Queen of Versailles and Compliance.

Ticket info: It’s complicated to get tickets; I’m not going to lie. Prices range from $15 to $3,000 depending on whether you want/can afford individual ones or a festival pass and you need to register first.

Location: Park City, UT, USA

Nearest hostel: The AAE Chateau Lodge is 0.6 miles away. Shared and private dorms from €30.54pppn. 

South by South West (SXSW)

8-17 March 2013  | Texas

Festivals in the USA

This is the big one. Over 9 days SXSW showcases more than 2,000 music acts, films and interactive events. 2013 will mark the 27th year and it’s bigger than ever. It’s one of the most innovative and interesting gatherings of fantastic minds in the world. I want to go!

2012 highlights: Instagram on Android, Google+, Angry Birds Space, Alabama Shakes and Jack White.

Ticket info: SXSW tickets get more expensive the closer to the event you book them. Prices also change depending on whether you want to see music, film or the interactive parts of the exhibition. The cheapest ticket to see them all – which is what I’d do – is the Platinum at $1150 (€914) (£724).

Location: The Austin Convention Center, 500 East Cesar Chavez Street, Austin, TX

Nearest hostel: Firehouse Hostel and Lounge is ½ mile away (currently no availability). HI Austin is 2 miles away and €17.02pppn for a dorm room.

Coachella Music Festival

12-14 April and 19-21 April 2013 | California

Best music festivals in the USA
The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Annual Festival is two weekends with an identical line up. Rock, indie, hip hop and electronic music come together with sculptural art and a desert setting. The celebs love it, and so would I, if I ever went.

2012 highlights: Tupac hologram, Eminem, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Azealia Banks singin Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” then “212,” then Prodigy’s “Firestarter.”

Ticket info: Ticket prices depend on cars, camping, VIP and tents, but the basic ticket giving access to the festival is $349.

Location: 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 90036, United States

Nearest hostel: You can camp on site with a specific ticket, unfortunately our nearest hostel is in Palm Springs 25 miles away.

Pitchfork Music Festival

12 July 2013 | Chicago

Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago

Organised by Pitchfork Media this is one of the coolest music festivals around. Expect to see acts you’ve never heard of before, crazy performances and some even crazier kids in the crowd.

2012 highlights: Willis Earl Beal, Feist, Atlas Moth, Grimes, Flying Lotus and Oneohtrix Point Never.

Ticket info: Individual day tickets $45, 3-day passes $110

Location: Union Park, Chicago

Nearest hostel: Chicago Parthenon Hostel is a 1.5 miles away. Shared dorms start from €20.80pppn, or there are plenty more Chicago hostels in walking distance of Union Park.

Thanks to rasdourian,  nan palmero and for the images from Flickr. Please note, all images were used under the Creative Commons License at the time of posting. 

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