Tired of the Coachellas, Bonnaroos, and Lollapaloozas of the world? Perhaps you should check out one of these lesser-known festivals making their debuts this year. We picked some of the best new music festivals of 2015, and included a little bit about why each one is worth attending. Although they’re all brand new, each one of these festivals is drawing in some pretty impressive headliners for its inaugural year, so take a look and try something new!
When: June 26-28
Where: New York, NY
Who’s Performing? Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Kip Moore, Randy Houser, Justin Moore, Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, & more
Why You Should Attend: It’s been a long time coming, but New York City is finally getting its own country music festival this year. After Randall’s Island has hosted Electric Zoo and Governors Ball for the last few years, it’s time the venue got a little taste of country music for a change. By attending FarmBorough this year, not only will you get to be a part of NYC’s first-ever country music festival, but you’ll get to see HUGE headliners like Luke Bryan, Brad Paisley, and Dierks Bentley all in one place!
Mamby on the BeachTickets
When: July 11-12
Where: Chicago, IL
Who’s Performing? Empire of the Sun, Passion Pit, Royksopp, Phantogram, Cashmere Cat, James Murphy, Art Department, & more
Why You Should Attend: First of all, it takes place on Chicago’s beachfront, so the venue alone is reason enough to give this new festival a shot. Secondly, you’ll get to see some pretty big electronic artists like Passion Pit, Empire of the Sun, Phantogram, and James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem among others.
Eaux Claires Music FestivalTickets
When: July 17-18
Where: Eau Claire, WI
Who’s Performing? Bon Iver, The National, Sufjan Stevens, Spoon, The Tallest Man On Earth, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, & more
Why You Should Attend: Curated by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver and The National’s Aaron Dessner, the Eaux Claires Music Festival is perfect for fans of that indie folk sound. Taking place on a farm in Vernon’s hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the festival will provide the perfect scenic backdrop to hear the calming sounds of Bon Iver, The National, Sufjan Stevens, and more great independent artists. With acts like these, Eaux Claires has enough indie cred to rival the Pitchfork Festival taking place during the same weekend.
Sloss Music & Arts FestivalTickets
When: July 18-19
Where: Birmingham, AL
Who’s Performing? Modest Mouse, The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses, Cage the Elephant, Young the Giant, & more
Why You Should Attend: Other than the obvious reason of the incredible lineup, Sloss will include great food, craft beers, local artists, and the interesting and unique activity of iron-pouring demonstrations. That last one you won’t find at any other festival, but here it makes sense because Sloss is set to take place at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark. The setting will provide an experience that is uniquely Birmingham.
Wayhome Music & Arts FestivalTickets
Where: Toronto, ON
Who’s Performing? Neil Young, Sam Smith, Kendrick Lamar, alt-J, Modest Mouse, Hozier, Bassnectar, The Decemberists, Passion Pit, & more
Why You Should Attend: Do you need more convincing than the amazing and massive lineup that includes the likes of Neil Young, Sam Smith, and Kendrick Lamar? Okay then. With a lineup like that for its first year, this festival is bound to become huge in no time, so you should get in while it’s still young and relatively obscure. Oh, and did we mention that it’s put on by the same people who produce Bonnaroo? They’re pulling out all the stops for Wayhome, and aren’t using the first year merely as a trial run. Instead, they’re diving in with full force to give attendees an experience of Coachella proportions. Take our word for it – the Wayhome Festival is the next big thing.
Hinterland Music FestivalTickets
When: July 31-August 1
Where: Des Moines, IA
Who’s Performing? Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Old Crow Medicine Show, Future Islands, Brandi Carlile, TV On the Radio, Lucius, & more (see full lineup)
Why You Should Attend: Folk fans will enjoy this one, with headlining performances from Old Crow Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros. However, there are some great indie rock and Americana acts rounding out the bill as well. Though the lineup is small compared to those of other festivals, the caliber of performers is top notch. In addition to the music, the Hinterland Music Festival will include plenty of other activities, such as art installations, cyclist events, and craft vendors.
When: August 28-30
Who’s Performing? Green Day, Kings of Leon, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Jake Owen, Weezer, Hank Williams Jr., Spoon, & more
Why You Should Attend: Although it’s completely new, Kentucky’s NiFi Festival somehow managed the impressive feat of booking Green Day for what is (as far as we know) the band’s only scheduled upcoming performance. Aside from that tidbit, this festival will appeal equally to fans of both rock and country, as headliners range from country superstars like Miranda Lambert and Brantley Gilbert to popular rock bands like Weezer and Kings of Leon.
When: September 18-20
Where: Del Mar, CA
Who’s Performing? No Doubt, The Killers, Zac Brown Band, Train, Snoop Dogg, Foster the People, 311, Ben Harper, & more
Why You Should Attend: Aside from all of the high-profile headliners you can see there, the KAABOO Festival prides itself on the experience it provides for the more refined festivalgoer. If you like the idea of music festivals but hate the downsides that come with them like heat, dirt, and mud, then KAABOO is perfect for you. Unlike the others, this festival was created with your comfort in mind, providing attendees with indoor facilities to cool off, actual restrooms (no port-a-potties here!), and ample seating areas. That, coupled with the fact that it’s set in San Diego where it’s pretty much always sunny and 75, makes KAABOO sound like heaven on earth.
Landmark Music FestivalTickets
When: September 26-27
Where: Washington, DC
Who’s Performing? Drake, The Strokes, alt-J, Chvrches, Ben Howard, Chromeo, Band of Horses, & more (see full lineup)
Why You Should Attend: It’s about time our nation’s capital got a music festival of its own, and boy is it delivering for its inaugural year. The first-ever Landmark Music Festival will feature big-name headliners like Drake and The Strokes. Not too bad for a festival nobody knew about a few months ago. Speaking of The Strokes, their performance at Landmark is one of only two upcoming shows in North America this year, so if you’re a fan, that’s all the more reason to attend.
Pilgrimage Music & Cultural FestivalTickets
When: September 26-27
Where: Franklin, TN
Who’s Performing? Wilco, Willie Nelson, Weezer, Sheryl Crow, The Decemberists, Jimmy Cliff, Neko Case, Iron & Wine, & more (see full lineup)
Why You Should Attend: Sure, Tennessee already has Bonnaroo, but the Pilgrimage Music Festival offers a smaller and more personal experience while still getting to see big headliners like Wilco, Weezer, and Willie Nelson (lots of Ws there). The event will highlight the rich history of Franklin, a town just 20 miles outside of Nashville, while providing attendees of all ages with a diverse lineup featuring rock, folk, bluegrass, gospel, and more. Moreover, the fest promises special acoustic sets as well as one-time collaborative performances they refer to as “Pilgri-mashups.”
So there you have it. Ten brand new festivals premiering this year. If you want to read more about upcoming music festivals both new and old, check out our 2015 Music Festivals Guide!