As the days get longer and we head into music festival season, it can be overwhelming to narrow down which festivals to attend. Budget and time restrictions obviously come into play, but if time and money were no object, here are the Top 5 Music Festivals I would definitely be at this year.


Set in April against the backdrop of the Indio Polo Fields, this festival is near and dear to my heart. This will be my fifth year attending, and each year has yielded new experiences superseding those of its predecessor.

Conveniently located about three hours east of Los Angeles, this festival runs for three days over two consecutive weekends. Each weekend’s lineup is identical, so you can choose the weekend that works best for you and your group. Whether you’re more a fan of indie rock, EDM, or just want to discover a litany of quality bands you’ve never heard of before, Coachella is sure to provide an amazing combination of art and music. My favorite thing about this festival is that it’s a “choose your own adventure” weekend filled with art, music, and people.

For more on Coachella, check out LAmb writer Mary Bonney’s list of the Top 5 LA Bands at Coachella and LAmb writer Lesley Park’s helpful guide for enjoying yourself while there!

Electric Forrest

This eclectic festival set in Rothbury, Michigan in June blends together a variety of electro, dub, house, and funky grooves for a camping experience out in the forest like no other. As is the case with most camping adventures, the opportunity to get close to others in a community while sharing a love of music and art is a wonderful thing.

You don’t just have to take my word for it though — check out the incredible video of how Detroit-based company Cirque Du Womp transformed a forest into a magical world below. You’ll also want to check out LAmb writer Tim Wut’s recap from last year, and then just go ahead and purchase tickets to Electric Forrest 2013.


For those with the travel bug, this massive festival set in Belgium draws over 180,000 fans from around the world for three days of music, dancing, and art. Past headliners have included global DJ/producer giants such as Armin van Buuren, Laidback Luke, David Guetta, Ferry Corsten, Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Hardwell, and many more.

While the recap below is 20 minutes long, it’s worth a watch to understand why so many make the pilgrimage to Europe to be a part of this community of peace, love, and music. Tickets go on sale on 2/16 and sell out almost immediately. To preregister for tickets, visit the Tomorrowland website.

Outside Lands

For three days in August, 65,000 music lovers per day descend on Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for Outside Lands. This festival has featured an interesting variety of bands, including Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Norah Jones, Metallica, Skrillex, and Stevie Wonder. This significantly more grown-up festival also has wine and beer tastings, live shows, amazing organic food, and enough room to spread out and not feel even slightly claustrophobic. The overall vibe is everyone keeping to themselves, and anything goes as long as you aren’t infringing on another person’s rights.

Despite being set in August, do not think that this is a summer festival. Due to its location on the coast, heavy fog and strong winds abound, and it’s actually quite cold. Check out LAmb writer Corinne Feinberg’s review of Outside Lands 2012. Tickets for this year are not on sale yet, but keep an eye on the official Outside Lands website.


Treasure Island

Treasure Island is a lovely artificial island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, and the October music festival by the same name lives up to the beauty. The historical California landmark offers sweeping views of the city and both bridges; add in a beautiful collection of art and musicians, and this festival is truly a getaway that is good for the soul. Last year featured acts such as The xx, M83, The Presets, Porter Robinson, Public Enemy, and so many more, so there is musical variety for all.

For more on Treasure Island, check out my recap from last year, and stay tuned for 2013 announcements on the official website.

My view from atop the 60-foot ferris wheel