Twelve Must-See Music Festivals of 2012 (U.S.)

The 2012 music festival circuit has commenced and it’s the time to start making travel plans. Venues and lineups for dozens of music festivals across the country are being finalized one after another. From New York to California, and all points in between, there’s a festival out there for everyone. To help narrow down the possibilites of 2012, here’s a list of the 12 can’t-miss music festivals of the year.

SXSW (South by Southwest)

Info: The SXSW Music and Media Conference showcases some 2,0000 musical acts, representing 50+ different countries, on over 90 stages in downtown Austin. As a notable festivals for music industry insiders, in 2011 SXSW welcomed over 13,000 industry reps. All this and so much more, combine to make SXSW one of the most anticipated music events of 2012.
Location: Austin, TX
Dates: March 13-18, 2012
2012 Headliners: Bruce Springsteen (keynote speaker), Magnetic Fields, Talib Kweli, Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Built to Spill
Official Website: SXSW


Info: As California’s flagship music festival, Coachella has seen a surge in popularity over the passing years. So much so that, in order to accommodate the thousands of individuals hoping to attend, Coachella will be spread out over two weekends in 2012. Both weekends will be held at the same venues and will house identical lineups. With an epic lineup and a crowd always ready to party, Coachella should be nothing less than exceptional in 2012.
Location: Indio, CA
Dates: April 13-15, 2012(Weekend 1), April 20-22, 2012(Weekend 2)
2012 Headliners: Radiohead, The Black Keys, Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg, Swedish House Mafia, David Guetta, Justice, The Shins, At the Drive-In.
Official Website: Coachella


Info: Coming off its epic 20th Aniversary blow-out in 2011, Lollapalooza will look to continue to be a premiere destination for music devotees across the continent in 2012. With it’s marquee lineups year in and year out, expect this year’s lineup to feature the brightest stars in the industry. Spread across eight stages in Granite Park, Lollapalooza is situated amidst sky-scrapers in the heart of Chicago, making it one of the most vibrant festivals around.
Location: Chicago, IL
Dates: August 3-5, 2012
2012 Headlines: TBD [2011 lineup included: Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Deadmau5, Cold War Kids, Cee Lo, Nas & Damian Marley]
Official Website: Lollapalooza

Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC)

Info: Last year, EDC made the move from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. It turned out to be a good decision, with over 225,000 attendees in 2011. 2012 should be just as successful. Although the lineup is yet to be announced, expect to see many familiar names from the electronic/house genre. EDC has become a top-tier festival with it’s combination of the world’s most renowned dance music talet and exceptional production.
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Dates: June 8-10, 2012
2012 Headliners: TBD [2011 lineup included: Tiesto, David Guetta, Swedish House Mafia]
Official Website: EDC

Austin City Limits (ACL)

Info: Touted as the “Coachella of the South”, Austin City Limits has become quite a phenomenon. With one of the strongest lineups in the festival circuit, ACL gathers a crowd of roughly 150,000 each year. Produced by the Austin-based c3 Presents (Who also produce Lollapalooza), the festival brings together hundreds of acts from around the world of music.
Location: Austin, TX
Dates: October 12-14, 2012
2012 Headliners: TBD [2011 lineup included: Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Arcade Fire, Coldplay, Manu Chao, Fleet Foxes]
Official Website: ACL


Info: Regarded by some as the best music festival on the East Coast, Bonnaroo was named one of the 50 moments that changed the history of rock and roll. With it’s unrivaled lineup, the festival attracts upwards of 100,000 indivudials to it’s 700-acre Tennessee farm each summer.
Location: Manchester, TN
Dates: June 7-10, 2012
2012 Headliners: TBD [2011 lineup included: Eminem, Arcade Fire, The Black Keys, Lil Wayne, My Morning Jacket]
Official Website: Bonnaroo


Info: Summerfest is hailed as “The World’s Largest Music Festival.” Often referred to as “The Big Gig”, the music festival attracts close to 1,000,000 people annually. Spread out over 11 days, the festival houses 11 stages with 700+ performers.
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Dates: June 27-July 1, July 3-8, 2012
2012 Headliners: Neal Diamond, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, with more soon to come.
Official Website: Summerfest

Ultra Music Festival

Info: As the most popular dance music event in America, Ultra certainly lives up to it’s name. Held in downtown Miami during Miami Music Week, the festival drew a record breaking 150,000 attendees in 2011. As a popular destination for lovers of electronica and cross-over genre’s, Ultra will not disappoint with it’s heavy-hitter lineup in 2012. And due to the realigning of the dates with the famed WMC event, Ultra promises to be even bigger this time around.
Location: Miami, FL
Dates: March 23-25, 2012
2012 Headliners: David Guetta, Tiesto, Skrillex, Justice, AVICII, Pretty Lights, Afrojack, Kraftwerk
Official Website: Ultra Music Festival


Info: Home to the Sasquatch Music Festival, The Gorge (Located on the edge of the Columbia River gorge in eastern Washington), is one of the most beautiful venues in the world. It is the ideal setting for this well-rounded music festival with an emphasis on indie rock bands. Sasquatch is a just the right size, giving it an intimate feel while still delivering top-not performances.
Location: George, WA
Dates: May 25-28, 2012
2012 Headliners: TBD [2011 lineup included: Foo Fighters, Flying Lotus, Death Cab For Cutie, Modest Mouse, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, The Decemberists, Bassnectar]
Official Website: Sasquatch

Hangout Music Fest

Info: Set on the white sandy beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama, Hangout Music Festival is the first and only festival of it’s kind. What Hangout lacks in size, the fairly new festival makes up with stunning ocean-front views and an ever-relaxed atmosphere, making for a rejuvenating experience. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy 3 days of music on a beach?
Location: Gulf Shores, AL
Dates: May 18-20, 2012
2012 Headliners: TBD [2011 lineup included: Foo Fighters, The Flaming Lips, Paul Simon, The Black Keys, Slightly Stoopid]
Official Website: Hangout Music Fest

The Bamboozle

Info: The Bamboozle is one of the more commonly known music festivals. With its main stage on the beach of Asbury Park, New Jersey, the festival seldom fails to deliver the best names in mainstream pop, rock, metal, hip hop, comedy and more. The Bamboozle is well worth the trip to the East Coast.
Location: Asbury Park, NJ
Dates: May 18-20, 2012
2012 Headliners: Bon Jovi, Foo Fighters, Blink-182, Skrillex, Incubus, Mac Miller
Official Website: The Bamboozle

Also, check out these music festivals:

All Good (Thornville, OH)
Electric Zoo (New York City)
Wakarusa (Ozark, Arkansas)
NYC Pop Fest (New York City)
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Outside Lands (San Francisco, CA)

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