Summer Music Festival Rundown
Summer’s almost officially here. And for live music enthusiasts that means one thing: it’s time to start making those 2019 music festival dreams a reality.
There are a whole lot of options out there. The 2018 season saw over 150 festivals to choose from. It’s highly likely that 2019 will offer the same abundance of awesome and be a good year to hit the road with your pals, see some live music, and make some new memories.
With all those choices and options, you might have to do some planning. Here’s our guide to some of the top music festivals this summer, with some tips on how to maybe save and manage cash along the way.
What’s the Big Deal With Music Festivals?
If you’re a seasoned Bonnaroovian or have put in time at Coachella, you may be familiar with music festival history and can skip ahead to the planning. But if you are new to the festival circuit, here’s a bit of background.
Festivals have a longish history in the US. They were a big deal in the 1960s (you’ve probably heard of Woodstock) before drying up in the 70s and 80s.
Their resurgence began in 1991 when Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell launched Lollapalooza . Coachella started in 1999 in Indio, California with Bonnaroo close behind in 2002 in Tennessee.
According to Nielsen , attendance at music festivals rose in 2018, with nearly 52% of Americans attending a live music event. And all that music is big business, with Coachella alone grossing $114 million in 2017 .
Music Festivals 2019: Who to See, Where to Go, and How to Save
Now that you’ve got a little history lesson, let’s get to the good stuff: this year’s line up of festivals. Included are some estimates of how much they could set you back and some tips that may help you manage those expenses with a little more ease.
There are so many festivals, it might be easier to consider them regionally, as that might affect your travel plans. Do you need to fly? Can you drive? Can you hop on a train? All these things need to be considered before you rustle up your buddies and get going.
Bottle Rock in Napa Valley combines cooking, music, and craft beer May 24 through 26. This full sensory experience runs $359 for all three days of general admission. General admission includes all the music and access to wine cabanas, craft beer, and specialty cocktails.
Outside Lands bills itself as a celebration of the Bay Area and runs August 9 to 11 in Golden Gate Park. A three-day pass will set you back $385. Take note that Outside Lands takes place in the heart of San Francisco, so you won’t be able to stay on the grounds or camp like some other festivals. Need to split a hotel with your festival buds? You can send money right from the SoFi Money app. If they also have the app the transfer is instant.
The Roots Picnic is Saturday, June 1 in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. This one-day festival, hosted by locals the Roots, features a deep lineup that will probably satisfy most hip hop heads. Tickets start at a reasonable $69.50 for general admission with VIP seats at $350.
The Firefly lineup features rap, indie darlings, and pop acts. The festival takes place June 21 to 23 in Dover, Delaware. General admission for all three days starts at $309. You can add extras like front row viewing and parking. They have a range of camping options and even offer a shuttle ($49) from surrounding cities like Baltimore and New York.
Bonnaroo is back in Manchester, Tennessee June 13 through 16. General admission for three days runs about $300 while VIP is $825. Bonnaroo general admission does include access to the campground.
If you buy four general admission tickets (read: carpool with three friends), they’ll toss in a free car camping pass. You’re gonna have to hit the road to get to the farm and you may want to have some cash on hand once you’re inside. You could skip all those ATM fees with a SoFi Money account.
Hangout Fest takes on Gulf Shores, Alabama May 16 to 19 with an eclectic mix of DJ’s, rap, and pop. The $299 three-day general admission pass comes with a pretty sweet perk of beach and swimming access at beach clubs.
Lollapalooza started as a traveling festival. Its 2019 incarnation will see it planted firmly in Chicago’s Grant Park August 1 through 4. Four days at Lollapalooza run $340. You can pay for upgrades including VIP access and on-site cabanas.
Mo Pop in Detroit, July 27 to 28, is two days of indie artists with some hip hop at West Riverfront Park. Food trucks, a craft bazaar, and weekend passes starting at around $109.00 make this an attractive festival for music fans. They also have free bike parking on-site if you’re arriving on two wheels.
Can You Do it All in One Summer?
With travel expenses, lodging, and tickets, a festival experience this summer will probably require some planning and budgeting. If you’re going to head outside your region, or even to a remote festival a little closer to home, you might want to check out our guide for help on financial prep for travel.
If spending a few hundred or thousand dollars on a weekend isn’t in the cards, check out smaller, less expensive festivals that offer the potential to discover some new artists while still getting the classic festival experience.
Tickets for the 58th Annual Philadelphia Folk Festival August 15 to 18, start at $160 for four days of live music, arts, and crafts. Blissfest in Petoskey, Michigan has been going strong for 39 years. Tickets this year for the festival, which runs from July 12 through 14, are $175 and include camping. These are just two of the many regional music festivals that happen every season.
Get Ready to Hit the Road
No matter if you’re going to criss-cross the country for music festivals in 2019 or stay local and catch a few smaller weekend shows, you’re probably going to see some great acts and hear some great music.
If you’re traveling with buddies or dealing with cash, you might want to take advantage of SoFi Money’s p2p transfers and no ATM fees to help make paying for the journey a little more seamless.
SoFi isn’t affiliated with any festival described in this article.
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