Grading the summer’s best music festivals just for you

As music festivals grow in popularity each year, fans struggle with which summer shindig they should invest in.

LA Weekly shows the grotesque cost growth for the Coachella festival in 2014, and its prices have definitely not gone down since.

Before you throw all your rent money at mainstream festivals, allow us to show you who to keep an eye out for next summer.

Each festival will receive a letter grade based on lineup, venue and location. Having attended multiple, our team knows exactly what to look for and what to avoid.


Lollapalooza, Grade: A

In the great city of Chicago, Lollapalooza can provide what other festivals cannot: activities outside the venue.

However, it is truly the lineup which trumps all others.

Headliners like The Weeknd, Arctic Monkeys, Travis Scott and Odesza offer a variety of genres for the concert-goers.

Even major music magazines acknowledge Lollapalooza’s extraordinary show. Rolling Stone describes their grand experience at Grant Park in August.


Hangout Fest, Grade: A-

Residing along the Flori-Bama shore, Hangout mixes the best musicians with the best place in the world, the beach.

With vibrations pulsing through the sand and hitting the bottom of your feet, Hangout’s venue is hands-down our team’s favorite.

And since our team attended in May, we can attest to their apt artist selection.

The only negative aspect, which dropped Hangout from an A to an A-, was some “white-girl-wasted” Hangout fan attempting to use the N-word on stage with Kendrick Lamar. He halted the collaboration to teach her some knowledge, but it still left a sour taste in our mouths.


Bonnaroo, Grade: B+

Bonnaroo, in Tenn., is one of the few camping festivals. That’s right, you bring a tent, or sleep in your car we won’t judge, and live at the venue for the weekend.

Waking up and going straight to the stage, a weekend at Bonnaroo lacks long lines to get in. No more standing around in the sun and chugging the last of your water, like TSA tells you at the airport.

But before heading out, check-out Rolling Stone’s list of essentials for camping at a festival.


Governor’s Ball, Grade: C+

Gov Ball, like Lollapalooza, offers things to do outside the festival in the wonderful city of New York.

However, their lineup does not compare, for they focus on mainstream artists. Rather than utilizing quality live performers, they call on auto-tune filled artists who live on the radio.

Also, their venue is quite annoying to get to. In the summer of 2017, our team had to bike through central park, walk a mile across a bridge and loop around Randall’s Island to find the entrance.

Do not expect a refund when it rains. Forbes notes how often Gov Ball becomes a wet show and how to prepare for it.


Coachella, Grade: C-

That’s right, the festival notorious for spotting young and famous celebrities isn’t for you.

Unless you enjoy even more mainstream artists than Gov Ball, strive for a festival that won’t break the bank and actually focuses on strong live performers.

Even CNN notes how basic the festival-goers are. Packed with trust fund babies and jerks from your old high school, Coachella has fallen off the throne of festival king.

Maybe, and just maybe, they can return back to the golden age of good artists. In 2012, Coachella featured the Black Keys, Radio Head and Snoop Dogg & Dr. Dre.

Now that’s a festival we can get behind.


by Matthew Woodall


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