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Top 10 Festivals for Pop Music Fans


Music festivals continue to expand in number and size in the US. That's a great deal for music fans. The opportunity to choose from over 100 artists on multiple stages in the larger festivals is a bargain and unique opportunity to explore performances you might not choose on your own. There are certainly many more worthwhile festivals to attend than simply these 10, but these will get you started with some of the biggest and best for pop music fans. For additional music festivals, check out the guide to classic rock at festivals in 2011.

South By Southwest - March 11-20, 2011

South By Southwest 2011
Courtesy South By Southwest

South By Southwest is both a film and music festival held in Austin, Texas for a week in March of each year. The event has taken place each year since 1987 and has grown to become the premiere annual festival for new and rising recording acts. Members of the music industry looking for the next big thing crowd the streets and clubs of Austin. The sheer number of performers is phenomenal. This year the festival boass of hundreds and hundreds of musical acts.

South By Southwest Official Site

Coachella April 15-17, 2011

Coachella Logo 2011
Courtesy Coachella Music Festival

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is a 3-day annual music festival held in Indio, California. The festival first took place in 1999, was shut down for 2000, and was given a new lease on life in 2001. Since that point the event has grown in both size and acclaim currently reigning as the king of US music festivals. If a style could be identified it would be rock with an alternative edge. However, the dance tents also present cutting edge dance music artists.

Headlining artists for 2011:

Coachella 2010 in Pictures

Coachella History

Coachella Official Site

The Bamboozle April 29 - May 1, 2010

Bamboozle 2011
Courtesy Bamboozle

The Bamboozle kicked off in 2005 as a 2-day music festival held in New Jersey. It is a three day festival this year from April 29 through May 1, 2011. However, the Bamboozle franchise has expanded to include the Bamboozle California festival as well as the Bamboozle Roadshow tour, the Hoodwink, a day long festival before Bamboozle that features artists covering material by other artists, and Bamboozle Chicago.

Headlining artists for 2011:

Bamboozle History

The Bamboozle Official Site

Sasquatch! - May 27-30, 2011

Sasquatch! 2011
Courtesy Sasquatch

Sasquatch! began in 2002 on a hunch that there was room for a music festival catering to alternative and eclectic musical tastes. It is held in central Washington state and has grown to be considered one of the top North American music festivals.

Headlining artists for 2011:



Sasquatch Festival Official Site

Bonnaroo - June 9-12, 2011

Bonnaroo 2011
Courtesy Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is a 4 day event held 60 miles outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It began in 2002 and has quickly grown to be one of the country's premier festivals. Traditionally the focus has been jam bands with a fair sprinkling of bluegrass, folk, alternative rock and pop. In recent years the lineup has branched out a bit and now also includes hip hop and R&B artists as key elements of the festival.

Headlining Artists for 2011:



Bonnaroo History

Bonnaroo Official Site

Summerfest June 29 - July 10, 2011

Summerfest 2011
Courtesy Summerfest

Summerfest is also known by the nickname "The Big Gig." The event runs for 11 days along the Milwaukee, Wisconsin lakefront and attracts approximately 1,000,000 people. The Guinness Book of World Records lists Summerfest as the world's biggest music festival. The event had its beginnings in 1968 and has been held in the same location each year since 1970. Performances take place on 11 different stages and include over 700 bands. Summerfest takes place every year in late June and early July. This year Summerfest will be closed on July 4, 2011.

Headlining artists for 2011:


Summerfest History

Summerfest Official Site

Warped Tour June 24 - August 14, 2011

Warped Tour 2011
Courtesy Vans Warped Tour

Warped Tour is a touring festival setting up shop often in parking lots or fields to entertain crowds ranging from 10,000 to 30,000. Sponsored by skateboard shoe manufacturer Vans, the Warped Tour has given national exposure for a wide range of rising pop punk, emo, and hardcore bands. The tour has operated each year since 1994 and most concerts take place in June, July, and August. A sister tour, A Taste of Chaos, was launched in 2004 and operates in the winter. Among the Warped Tour alumni are Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte, and My Chemical Romance.

2011 Lineup TBA


Warped Tour 2010 Review

Top 10 Pop Acts on Warped Tour 2010

Warped Tour Official Site

Lollapalooza August 5-7, 2011

Lollapalooza 2011
Courtesy Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza began as a touring festival, much like Warped Tour. Organized in 1991 by Perry Farrell, lead singer for Jane's Addiction, the first Lollapalooza leaned to alternative music but deliberately included a wide range of musical styles. The festival tour folded in 1997, but returned in 2003 with moderate success. It rose again in 2005 as a 2 day event on the Chicago lakefront. The festival was successful enough to expand to 3 days in 2006 and signed a 5-year contract with Chicago beginning in 2007. Lollapalooza will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2011.

2011 Lineup TBA


Top 10 Pop Artists at Lollapalooza 2010

Lollapalooza Official Site

Bumbershoot - 2011 Dates TBA

Courtesy Bumbershoot

Bumbershoot has a long history. It began in 1971 in Seattle as a Mayor's Arts Festival. The name Bumbershoot was adopted in 1973. The non-profit organization One Reel took over operation of the festival in 1980 and has operated it ever since. Bumbershoot has always been dedicated to showcasing both regional Pacific Northwest artists and national acts.

Bumbershoot Official Site

Austin City Limits September 16-18, 2011

Austin City Limits Festival 2011
Courtesy Austin City Limits

An outgrowth of the venerated PBS television program Austin City Limits, the Austin City Limits Festival first began in 2002, and, in a very short period of time, has become one of the country's top annual music events. Like its namesake show, the festival embraces a wide range of musical styles with the primary focus being rock. The 2010 event will take place over 3 days from September 16-18, 2011.

2011 Lineup TBA

Austin City Limits Official Site

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