The 20 Best Music Festivals of Summer 2019

This summer, there are more music festivals to choose between than ever, in ever-more exotic locations, and with more famous names on the main stages. But it takes more than A-list talent and a nice sunset to make a festival worth your time and travel. Here, we break down the best offerings of the year from around the globe, in chronological order. We believe these have the best talent, the most interesting settings, and the purest love of music in all its weird and wonderful forms. Grab your passport and jump in.

New Orleans Jazz and Heritage

New Orleans
April 25-May 5
Featuring: Katy Perry, J Balvin, Herbie Hancock

It’s an understatement to say the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival offers a diverse lineup: Do you long for the days of early 2010s pop music? Katy Perry is here. Are you hip to reggaeton? You will be once J Balvin lays down a set. Are you pulling up to spend time with your fellow jazz-heads? Herbie Hancock is at the keys. This 50th anniversary sprawl, held over two long weekends, is a time for discovery and to experience artists that you’ve spent a lifetime with; just come prepared to be overwhelmed. –Alphonse Pierre

Buy tickets to New Orleans Jazz and Heritage here.

Something in the Water

Virginia Beach, Virginia
April 26-28
Featuring: Pharrell, Rosalía, Travis Scott, Migos

Something in the Water, held in Pharrell’s hometown of Virginia Beach, should make good use of the producer/singer’s talent as an industry tastemaker and curator, with sets by Travis Scott, Pusha-T, and Rosalía. The man of the hour will also stage a career retrospective of sorts in a “Pharrell and Friends” set that includes appearances by Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, Gwen Stefani, Usher, and more. It’s a standout new offering in the overstuffed festival season. –Alphonse Pierre

Buy tickets to Something in the Water here.

Annie Mac Presents Lost and Found Festival

St. Paul’s Bay, Malta
May 2-5
Featuring: Black Coffee, Lady Leshurr, Honey Dijon, Octavian

Lost and Found Festival is the real-life extension of Annie Mac’s impeccable dance music programming for BBC Radio 1. For three days in sunny Malta, she curates an electronic music haven with sets by Black Coffee, DJ Seinfeld, and Peggy Gou, as well as a sprinkling of grime artists like Lady Leshurr, Octavian, and AJ Tracey. The real calling card for this event might be the separately ticketed beach party, though, which boasts a diverse, instantly legendary program of Honey Dijon, Jazzy Jeff, Koffee, and Ms. Mac herself. –Michelle Kim

37d03d Festival

Brooklyn
May 3-4
Featuring: Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner, Boys Noize, Sinkane

Pronounced “PEOPLE Festival”—read the festival’s name by turning it upside down, like a sophomoric calculator joke—this weekend curated by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and the National’s Aaron Dessner migrates to New York after two years in Berlin. Vernon and Dessner will be joined by artists including Boys Noize, Sinkane, and Greg Fox to perform new music at the Pioneer Works art space in Brooklyn. This is a festival in the loosest possible sense of the term, with a focus on the artists working together in residency to deliver performances that may never occur again. –Noah Yoo

2018 FORM Arcosanti

Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

FORM Arcosanti

Arcosanti, Arizona
May 10-12
Featuring: DJ Koze, Peggy Gou, Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals

Now entering its sixth year, FORM Arcosanti remains one of North America’s most consistently innovative festivals. Located within Arcosanti, a surreal utopian town designed by the Italian-American architect Paolo Soleri, FORM focuses on providing emotional experiences over spectacle. As there are no VIP tickets or overlapping sets, the festival attracts an open-minded, artistic crowd—as well as huge artists looking to experiment with more intimate sets. –Quinn Moreland

Buy tickets to FORM Arcosanti here.

Rolling Loud

Miami
May 10-12
Featuring: Lil Wayne, Young M.A, DMX, Lil Uzi Vert

It only took five years for Rolling Loud to become rap’s premier music festival, a Rock the Bells for the SoundCloud generation. This year, it offers its most well-rounded lineup yet, full of veterans like DMX, Rick Ross, and Gucci Mane; once and future stars like Playboi Carti and Young Thug; and exciting prospects like Lil Tjay and Polo G. After frequently coming under fire for its lack of gender diversity, its number of women finally hits double digits with Cardi B, Young M.A, Megan Thee Stallion, Saweetie, and more. Plus, there will be over a dozen “Lil”s in attendance—Wayne, Uzi Vert, Baby, and Durk among them. This is such a wide-ranging assortment of rappers, you’ll be sure to catch a few you love, some you never expected to like, and a handful you’ve never even heard of. –Sheldon Pearce

Buy tickets to Rolling Loud here.

Chambord x Cercle

Chambord, France
May 11
Featuring: Solomun, Stephan Bodzin, Polo & Pan

Cercle is a livestream platform that puts on spectacular parties by placing DJ booths in breathtaking locations. Diving back in their archives of video footage, you can pretend that you’re raving in the Eiffel tower, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, or in the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Cercle will host their first festival at the gorgeous Château de Chambord, where big name DJs like Solomun and Stephan Bodzin will command thousands of people in front of the castle grounds. King Francis I could have never imagined such a celebration. –Michelle Kim

Buy tickets to Chambord x Cercle here.

Primavera Sound

Barcelona, Spain
May 30 - June 1
Featuring: Erykah Badu, Rosalìa, Miley Cyrus, Danny Brown

Located in Barcelona’s beachside Parc del Fòrum, Primavera Sound will make you rediscover why music festivals can be so incredible. Not only is the setting awe-inspiring, the lineup is gigantic, boasting 226 performers spanning beloved indie rockers to reggaeton heroes to dance floor divas. This year, Primavera launched their “New Normal” campaign, which commits to a gender-equal lineup; over 50% of this year’s performers are female. Also, Pitchfork returns with its own stage close to the paella stand! –Quinn Moreland

Buy tickets to Primavera Sound here.

The Roots Picnic 2017

Jeezy performs at Roots Picnic 2017. Photo by Thaddaeus McAdams/WireImage.
Thaddaeus McAdams

Roots Picnic

Philadelphia
June 1
Featuring: The Roots, H.E.R., 21 Savage

The Roots Picnic is conscious that festivals are evolving: A live session of “The Joe Budden Podcast” is billed over Raphael Saadiq vs. Soulquarians, City Girls, and Blueface. Other podcasts like Crissle and Kid Fury’s “The Read” are receiving similar treatment, an interesting move for these programs that often don’t get the respect they deserve. But this Picnic is still about the music, first and foremost: It’s headlined, of course, by the Roots, who will be performing their acclaimed album Things Fall Apart for its 20th anniversary. H.E.R., 21 Savage, and Lil Baby round out the lineup. –Alphonse Pierre

Buy tickets to Roots Picnic here.

Dark Mofo

Hobart, Tasmania
June 6
Featuring: Sharon Van Etten

At last year’s Dark Mofo, held on the rugged Australian island of Tasmania, the artist Mike Parr spent 72 hours “entombed” in a steel box buried beneath a busy street—par for the course for a multimedia festival, timed to the Southern Hemisphere’s winter solstice, that takes doom to new heights (and depths). This year’s event may not feature the red neon inverted crosses that incensed some Christians last year, but the air of provocation should persist. The artist Simon Denny’s Mine installation explores the intersection of mineral extraction, data collection, and augmented reality; the Dark and Dangerous Thoughts symposium will explore fear, sex, race, and colonial histories. Sharon Van Etten is the only musician announced so far, but a glance at last year’s lineup—Alice Glass and Zola Jesus, Electric Wizard, Einstürzende Neubauten, Tanya Tagaq—suggests plenty of thrills are in store. –Philip Sherburne

Nature Loves Courage

Sougia, Crete
June 7
Featuring: DJ Paypal, Nkisi, Juliana Huxtable

Sougia, a tiny, beachside village nestled against rocky mountains on the southern coast of Crete, isn’t typically associated with the international festival circuit. But that makes it the perfect antidote to the tourist throngs in Ibiza and Croatia. The inaugural edition of Nature Loves Courage promises two nights of cutting-edge dance music—the soulful footwork of DJ Paypal, the polyrhythmic doom techno of Nkisi, the wide-ranging sets of the multimedia artist Juliana Huxtable—with a strong focus on the kinds of diversity and radical inclusivity to which most festivals merely pay lip service. The event’s name comes from a quote by the psychedelic pioneer Terence McKenna, who declared that magic is created “by hurling yourself into the abyss and discovering it’s a feather bed.” For two potentially magical days, 350 revelers will get the chance to do just that. –Philip Sherburne

Marvellous Island

Plage de Vaires-Torcy, Paris
June 8-9
Featuring: Nina Kraviz, Marcel Dettmann, Âme, Loco Dice

Marvellous Island is an annual electronic music gathering held on a beautiful, sandy island on the outskirts of Paris. The lineup is catnip for the Resident Advisor set: Berghain stalwart Marcel Dettmann headlines the first night, while Russian techno maven Nina Kraviz commands the second. Ravers can take dance breaks on the beach or even cruise around in a paddle boat. –Noah Yoo

Glastonbury

Somerset, England
June 26-30
Featuring: Stormzy, Janet Jackson, Vampire Weekend, Low

After taking a year off to lets its fields recover, Glastonbury returns with a wondrous, distinctive lineup that continues its departure from rockist tradition. This is quite likely the most eclectic show ever put on at Worthy Farm. Grime star Stormzy, only the third hip-hop headliner ever, joins the Cure and the Killers atop the bill and leads the festival’s most manifold rap selection to date (Wu-Tang Clan, Little Simz, Lizzo, Stefflon Don, Slowthai). Several generations of black women anchor the long weekend—Janet Jackson, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Mavis Staples, Janelle Monáe, and Fatoumata Diawara among them—with ample space left for a few big stage staples like Tame Impala and Vampire Weekend. From cosmic jazz (Kamasi Washington) to flamenco pop (Rosalía) to dreamy drone (Low), there is something for everyone in the rejuvenated countryside. –Sheldon Pearce

Creepy Teepee

Kutnà Hora, Czech Republic
July 12-14
TBD

If you hadn’t guessed from its name or the website—yep, that’s an evil Gremlin flashing a toothsome grin on the front page of last year’s lineup—Creepy Teepee has a twisted sense of humor. Rooted in punk and the iciest edges of electronic fringe music, it’s a refreshingly countercultural proposition, a global gathering of the self-identified “WORLD WIDE WEIRD,” given to proclamations like “No Nation! Free Fashion! Be Your Own Corporation!” and “Make the Fortress Europe Fall!” Artists storming the ramparts this year have yet to be announced, but if recent years’ rosters are anything to go by (Iceage, Klein, Calvin Johnson, Yves Tumor, Nídia), it’ll be every bit the mindfuck that their graphic design is. –Philip Sherburne

Festivalgoers at Pitchfork Music Festival 2018. Photo by Pooneh Ghana.

Pitchfork

Chicago
July 19-21
Featuring: Robyn, HAIM, The Isley Brothers, Earl Sweatshirt

Pitchfork Festival is small enough to allow you some personal space but populated enough for you to blend in while inevitably rapping along to Earl Sweatshirt and dancing—on your own, how else?—to Robyn. When it’s time for a break from the music, head over to the record tent and bleed money blissfully. Other places for escape: pizza stands, bao stands, avant-garde electronic acts at the Blue Stage. We’re biased, sure, but we think it’s a pretty great time. –Matthew Strauss

Buy tickets to Pitchfork Music Festival here.

Afro Nation

Portimao, Portugal
August 1-4
Featuring: Wizkid, Stefflon Don, Octavian, Ms. Dynamite

If you’ve ever wanted to see the holy trinity of Afropop—Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy—in the same weekend on a glistening beach, Afro Nation Portugal is your answer. The weekend celebrates all things Afropop, dancehall, hip-hop, and R&B. Aside from those Nigerian stars, there will also be eclectic offerings from their diasporic brothers and sisters based in the UK (Stefflon Don, Ms. Dynamite, Octavian) and Jamaica (Busy Signal, Kranium). Come December, the festival will head to Accra for its Ghanian installment. –Michelle Kim

Buy tickets to Afro Nation here.

Flow Festival

Helsinki, Finland
August 9-11
Featuring: Cardi B, Tame Impala, the Cure, Robyn

Flow Festival is making a name for itself as one of the best festivals in Scandinavia, combining great international headliners with eclectic, brilliantly curated supporting acts (many of them from the region). This year might be its best yet: Cardi B, Tame Impala, and the Cure top the bill, joined by Robyn, Neneh Cherry, Earl Sweatshirt, Blood Orange, Mitski, and more. This year, the Finnish National Opera presents their own slate of art programming and performances, and choreographer Wayne McGregor presents his piece Autobiography, with its original score performed live by its composer: Jlin. –Noah Yoo

Railbird Festival

Lexington, Kentucky
August 10-11
Featuring: The Raconteurs, Mavis Staples, Brandi Carlile, Tyler Childers

If you’re looking for an excuse to drink your way along Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, the inaugural Railbird Fest is a great one. The two-day event takes place at the historic Keeneland horse racing grounds and, in true Lexington fashion, it offers horse betting and drink tasting. With your highball glass and big floppy hat, it’s a perfect moment to bask in the glory of queens like Mavis Staples, Lucinda Williams, and Brandi Carlile. The Raconteurs and Gary Clark Jr. provide the full-on shredding, there are plenty of bluegrass bands in tow, and for the full Kentucky experience, you can’t miss Paintsville singer-songwriter Tyler Childers. And bring your parents—Hozier’s headlining! –Evan Minsker

Buy tickets to Railbird Festival here.

Mutek Montreal

Montreal
August 20-25
Featuring: Jlin, Gaika, Call Super, Huerco S.

Mutek celebrates its 20th year in Montreal with a typically heavily slant towards technological innovation and immersive experiences. The weekend will feature A/V sets from futurists Sinjin Hawke & Zora Jones, as well as digital tinkerer Ash Koosha. The lineup is rounded out with artists like Jlin, the dancehall experimentalist Gaika, and the heady techno Call Super. Alongside the week of musical performances, Mutek also touts a three-day technology conference surrounding topics like AI, immersive media, and blockchain, so you can get true galaxy brain. –Michelle Kim

Afropunk

Brooklyn
August 24-25
Featuring: FKA twigs, Kamasi Washington, Tierra Whack, Jill Scott

Welcome to Afropunk, where you will sweat all of the product out of your hair, stand shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of strangers just as sticky as you are, and get trapped in an overflowing walkway navigating Commodore Barry Park. Afropunk can be messy but, regardless, everyone always returns, because it’s rare to find a space this inclusive and representative. Throughout the weekend, black culture will be honored and underrepresented communities will have their voice heard, without any gimmicks or disingenuity—and the performances by FKA twigs, Kamasi Washington, Tierra Whack, and more will reflect that. –Alphonse Pierre

Buy tickets to Afropunk here.

(All festivals featured here are independently selected by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, however, Pitchfork may earn an affiliate commission.)