Continuing our blog on the greatest music festivals in the world we turn our attention to North America and discover some of the most innovative music festivals in America today. Some of the festivals are pure musical spectaculars and other focus on other elements as well, such as the arts or political statements.
Not a true music festival as the term implies, rather a statement about lifestyle and everything that is artistic. Located in the Nevada Desert, festival goers combine in an effort to create Black Rock City, which is a temporary and fictional city dedicated to art and community. The festival could easily be the set from a Mad Max movie, with holidaying office workers leaving their suits behind to act like hippies for one time in their life. It is without doubt an extraordinary event, and although there is live music it is not the focus this experimental art festival.
The only real music festival in New York, the festival has actually moved from its original home in Governors Island to the more accessible Randall’s Island. Festival goers can now get to the Governors Ball by train or bus or actually walking by access of the Robert F Kennedy bridge. Although not as large as other American music festivals, the Governors Ball makes up for it by the standard and class of the artists it attracts. Taking place on the first weekend of June every year, the 2017 festival featured: Wu-Tang Clan, Chance the Rapper, Danny Brown, Phoenix, Lorde, Tool and Cage the Elephant.
New Orleans Jazz Festival
New Orleans and Jazz go together hand in hand, New Orleans is the Jazz capital of the USA and 52 weeks of the year live music can be found on the streets, bars, theatres and just about anywhere you can think of. But during April and May, New Orleans is officially a festival town and the venue is the Race Course on Gentilly Boulevard. The 2017 festival had an all-star line-up with Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg and Dave Matthews headlining. The festival takes place over twelve stages, and also in good old New Orleans style, food pays a big part in the festival. There are over 70 food stalls selling everything from superb traditional creole cuisine to American classics.
A modern festival with a superb location down at Grant Park in Chicago facing the majestic Lake Michigan and surrounded by towering buildings. This festival has become so popular since its inception in 1991, that it is very difficult to actually get a ticket. Eight stages host literally hundreds of acts with an incredible array of food vendors lined up on a mile-long stretch. The August 2017 artists roster certainly was impressive, featuring: Muse, Liam Gallagher, The Killers, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Blink-182, DJ Snake, and Justice.
These festivals are very different, and they offer so much for the many festival goers that attend them. Some are just focused with the music and the artists that play it, whilst others are making more artistic or political statements. Whatever the reason, festivals bring plenty of pleasure and enjoyment and are now part of the culture of this millennium.