The Best Fall Music Festivals
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You just know that music festivals, as we’ve come to know them in the United States, were created by Yankees. No Southerner with any sense of self-preservation would craft a schedule around the deepest days of summer. Legacy fests like Lollapalooza like to pretend that it’s not too hot to party, but August is August even in Chicago. But the glut of festival options mean plenty of organizers have realized the joy of the fall fest. As the blistering heat of the summer dies down, plenty of the America’s best festivals are just getting started.
From Riot Fest in Chicago on down to Florida fests like Hulaween, there’s an autumn gathering for fans of just about any genre in every part of the the country. We’ve compiled a few that show the end of summer doesn’t need to be the end of the music fest fun.
When: September 13-15
Where: Chicago, IL
Where some fall punk blowouts like Gainesville’s Fest focus on the boozy basement bounce of folk and pop-punk, this Chicago bash made its name over the last 15 years by pulling in massive headliners. This year features shows by Jawbreaker, Bikini Kill, Descendents and Slayer, alongside deeper cuts like Cock Sparrer, The Ergs and Less Than Jake. Nostalgia is the name of the game in Douglas Park, with Against Me!, Taking Back Sunday, Bloc Party, The Flaming Lips and Blink-182 all performing classic albums at the fest. Shop Riot Fest tickets here.
When: September 27-29
Where: Dana Point, CA
This relative newcomer to the festival scene uses Southern California’s year-round weather to its advantage, hosting a beach front fest in late September. Folks who aren’t quite ready to let go of the summer can catch The Strokes, Eddie Vedder, Jenny Lewis and the Red Hot Chili Peppers with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop starting September 27. Shop Ohana festival tickets here.
Austin City Limits Music Festival
When: October 4-6 | October 11-13
Where: Austin, TX
It takes two weekends to put on a festival as large as the Austin City Limits‘ namesake. The first two weekends in October bring thousands to Zilker Park to see everything from The Cure to Cardi B, Billie Eilish to Guns N’ Roses. Over 125 performers will spread out across eight stages at the fest, which is located in the heart of the city. Shop Austin City Limits festival tickets here.
When: October 10-13
Where: Lake Perris, CA
Desert Daze has just dropped one of the most impressive lineups of the whole year. Wu-Tang Clan, Ween, the Flaming Lips and Devo sit atop the list as headliners, with additional performances by Khruangbin, Flying Lotus 3D and Stereolab. The Southern California fest also includes art installations, films, talks and workshops. Shop Desert Daze tickets here.
When: October 24-27
Where: Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, FL
This jam-band-centric fest has been bringing crowds to the woods of North Florida since 2013. Hosted by The String Cheese Incident, Suwanee Hulaween comes off a bit like a baby Bonnaroo. This fest might be perfect for people who wish the Manchester, TN fest never grew beyond its jam bands and bluegrass roots. That’s not to say Hulaween is single-minded, though. Outside of the jam sphere, expect sets from Anderson .Paak, Jason Isbell and Bassnectar. Shop Suwanee Hulaween tickets here.
Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
When: October 25-27
Where: New Orleans, LA
Voodoo has given music lovers even more reason to get to New Orleans for almost 20 years. The festival based in a park in the center of America’s most musical city veers away from the town’s tradition of jazz and blues toward a more modern lineup of rock, rap and pop music. This year’s model features shows from Post Malone, Guns N’ Roses and Interpol. Shop Voodoo festival tickets here.