Music Festival Guide: Top 10 Mega-Festivals (United States)

Do you hate making decisions, enjoy all you can eat buffets, and have the stamina to make it through three to four days of the wildest parties on the planet? The massive fests of the US offer a smorgasbord of artists for one price. From the sun streaked desert plains of California to Tennessee farmland to the heart of downtown Chicago, here are the picks for the “Ultimate Music Festival Experience” of the summer.

As always, leave us a note in the comments section telling us where we went frightfully wrong and where we tickled your fancy. Before we dive in festival fans, note that this humble listing is only our first foray into the festival season. More installments will be released over the next few weeks featuring (hopefully) your favorite festivals.

1. Coachella
When: April 12-14 and April 19-21, 2013
Where: Indio, California

Like a barometer always reading a temperature of awesome, the traditional kickoff to the the summer festival season is dominated by Coachella. With a ridiculously close proximity to Los Angeles, Coachella is the one festival littered with visitors from abroad seeking out their first US festival experience. Think of Coachella as our official Ambassador of Music Festivals. Coachella transformed industry by doubling up for two weekends of tunes of the desert. Other major festivals are already following suit (see Ultra, Austin City Limits).

2. Sasquatch!
When: May 24-27, 2013
Where: The Gorge, Washington

The Decemberists at Sasquatch! 2011. Photo Credit: Sasquatch! Official Site/Christopher Nelson

Much like its namesake, the Sasqutach festival resides in the northwest, is completely legendary, and sought after by fans from all over the world. The Memorial Weekend powerhouse now stretches over four days in a trippy Washington wasteland that would be considered desolate if The Gorge didn’t provide one of the greatest natural stages known to man. The lineup is already out in order to give you plenty of time to prepare.

3. Lollapalooza
When: August 2-4, 2013
Where: Chicago, Illinois

Coldplay at Lollapalooza. Photo Credit: Lollapalooza Official Site/Cambria Harkey

You got to hand it Perry Farrell, the bizarre and quirky visionary who reinvented the American music festival with Lollapalooza. It was the first time that a lineup was worth quitting your job over — which I did and destroyed my future at the video arcade. It’s been dialed back in this decade, but that doesn’t make the Chicago show one of the must-see stops of the summer. Or for those of you still craving a roadtrip, head to Brazil or Chile for some southern hemisphere action.

Born during a sweaty, backstage, Bonnaroo downpour, the editor-in-chief's mission in life is to dance, write, and travel to every great festival that this wide world has to offer. While his identity remains a mystery, you may have already met him, probably when he helped himself to your party favors.