In our latest guest post, blogger Nicolas White of Rukkus.com shares his list of the top 10 best music festival lineups for 2014. Find out which big names and indie acts you can expect to see at each event. Check out the Rukkus Android app for additional Rukkus content.
May 23-25 / July 4-6
Lineup Highlights: The National, Kraftwerk, Cut Copy, Neutral Milk Hotel, Outkast
Indie Acts You Must See: Phosphorescent, Parquet Courts, Foxygen, Majical Cloudz, Jon Hopkins
Sasquatch set the bar pretty high this year, as the fest transitions from a gem of the Pacific Northwest, to a household name. This year, Sasquatch has followed the lead of California’s Coachella with its two weekend model. However, Sasquatch offers an interesting take with two very different lineups, providing a unique experience for each respective weekend, while reaching an even wider base of fans. That said, the scenic location and the picturesque backdrop is probably enough to justify the admission price.
2. Governor’s Ball
New York, NY
Lineup Highlights: Jack White, Vampire Weekend, The Strokes, Disclosure
Indie Acts You Must See: Grimes, Chance The Rapper, SKATERS, Ratking
Arguably the most viable NYC festival to date, Governor’s Ball has continued its monster growth with its deepest lineup yet. Though the festival was marred by torrential rains and ankle-deep mud last year, fans will surely gather en masse to catch this event.
Lineup Highlights: Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, Modest Mouse, The Replacements
Indie Acts You Must See: SBTRKT, Mac De Marco, White Denim, Jagwar Ma
The trip across the border has never seemed so alluring. Osheaga takes place in the beautiful multicultural hub of Montreal, adding a bit of Canadian efficiency to the US Woodstock-ian festival model. This year’s lineup could be Osheaga’s strongest yet.
Lineup Highlights: Kanye West, The Flaming Lips, James Blake, Phoenix
Indie Acts You Must See: Warpaint, Darkside, The Preatures, Real Estate
OK, you’ve definitely heard of this one. It’s an American rite-of-passage, after all. But if you haven’t yet made the pilgrimage down to Tennessee, you’d be hard-pressed to find a lineup as diverse as 2014’s. It just might be about time to head to “The Farm.”
5. Newport Folk Festival
Lineup Highlights: Band of Horses, Mavis Staples, J Roddy Walston & The Business
Indie Acts You Must See: Houndmouth, Shakey Graves, Dawes
Newport Folk was a touchstone of the beatnik, counter-culture movement of the 1960s; it’s one of the most storied festivals in the US, and it’s still being held in the folky, grassroots-y, tradition that acts like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul, and Mary once established.
6. Electric Forest
Lineup Highlights: String Cheese Incident, Ms Lauren Hill, Flying Lotus
Indie Acts You Must See: Anders Osborne, RAC, St. Lucia
Before you even look at who’s playing, imagine a music festival in the middle of a forest. The trees are lined with shimmering lights, art installations, and hammocks for sleeping. Add in a electronica-heavy lineup, and you’re in for one hell of a trip. This dreamy location makes this a truly unique festival experience.
April 11-14 / April 18-20
Lineup Highlights: The Knife, Haim, Arcade Fire, Beck
Indie Acts You Must See: Future Islands, Dum Dum Girls, Wye Oak
Let’s face it, the Coachella lineup is a bit of a let-down this year, considering the superstar status of this festival. Yet, all things considered, the promoters at Goldenvoice still managed to book two consecutive weekends of mouth-watering live entertainment.
Lineup Highlights: Giorgio Moroder, St. Vincent, Danny Brown
Indie Acts You Must See: Cloud Nothings, Earl Sweatshirt, Sharon Van Etten, Death Grips
This Chicago publication may be known for their cooler-than-thou stance on music, but you can’t argue with their success. Pitchfork always curates a lineup that takes risks, and while this year they’ve taken on some more proven artists, the undercard is still filled with hidden gems.
9. Shaky Knees
Lineup Highlights: Spoon, Alabama Shakes, Portugal. The Man, Iron & Wine
Indie Acts You Must See: Man Man, Band of Skulls, The Weeks
Shaky Knees enters its 2nd year seeking rock and roll festival domination. This ATL-based weekend fest packs a punch, with a wide selection of blues-driven, Southern rock. If that’s your scene, there’s no better lineup than Shaky Knees.
Lineup Highlights: Broken Bells, Childish Gambino, Jake Bugg
Indie Acts You Must See: Washed Out, Vic Mensa, Haerts
Firefly is the newest contender for the festival crown. After achieving remarkable success in its first few years, the 2014 lineup is (comparatively) a bit of a dud. But, it’s still strong enough to round-out the top 10 best lineups of the year.
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