Spring and Summer Festivals: A Way Too Early Comparison

By Delaney Willson

Punxsutawney Phil may have told us we were in for a longer winter, but the weather here in Nashville seems to have other plans in mind. With weekend temperatures reaching up into the 70s I'm daydreaming of pontoon boats, pool lounging, and of course, MUSIC FESTIVALS! If you're anything like me, you want to go to all of them. Unfortunately at up to $400 per weekend, most of us are going to have to be a little more frugal. Lucky for you, I took the time to compare what each festival has to offer this summer. Broken down into headliners, supporting acts, and overall experience, this should be a good starting point for deciding which direction to point that rented minivan full of your best friends. My mom always told me life was all about choices; I just didn't know they would be so hard! 

Best Headliners - Coachella

  • No expense was spared here, and for good reason. The festival's GA passes start at $400 before even purchasing a camping spot. Accordingly, the top lines are filled with absolute legends. Radiohead, Beyonce, and Kendrick Lamar lead the charge with support from artists ranging from The Head and the Heart to Glass Animals, Schoolboy Q, and Bon Iver. The festival does an amazing job of not only attracting different genres, but booking the top talent in just about every category. Evening shows at Coachella are bound to be magical this year. 

Best Supporting Acts - Boston Calling 

  • This lineup caught my eye from the second it was released. Not for the the top line (I mean seriously why is Tool on there...) but for the litany of incredible writers that make up the rest of the festival. Singer songwriter like Brandi Carlile and Car Seat Headrest find themselves alongside alt rock phenoms Frightened Rabbit, Cage the Elephant, and Whitney. Lookout for a cool collaboration between Francis and the Lights and headliner Bon Iver who together released "Friends" along with Kanye West last year. 

Best Additional Experiences - Hangout Fest 

  • It's really not even fair. You want to make a festival better? Put it on the beach. It's a tried and true recipe for success that has been serving Hangout Fest well for years. This year the festival features beach volleyball, obstacle courses, art exhibits, a ferris wheel, a hammock jungle, and a variety of top notch bars and restaurants. You may not get the gritty camping experience here, but let's be honest, having a shower and cocktails nearby isn't too bad of a tradeoff. 

Honorable Mentions

You may have noticed some big omissions so far. Bonnaroo, while still a local favorite, has taken a bit of a new direction by adding more EDM than in past years. Still, there are some incredible acts this year, as always, and you might even catch an Olivia Management artist there if you're lucky! Okeechobee Music Festival has done an incredible job thus far, especially considering this is only it's second iteration. Still, until they lock in their own identity, it seems a lot like a Bonnaroo copy with some added Florida rave culture. Governor's Ball deserves an honorable mention for sure, but it typically slides out of my radar as a southerner. Of course, you may be holding out entirely this summer until the Lollapalooza line-up comes out. The same can be said for October's Austin City Limits. Or maybe you prefer scouting out the next big stars at SXSW. I respect that. 

The Verdict

If money were no object, it's got to be Coachella. In the end, it comes down to the music, and their lineup just can't be topped. There's probably no where else in the world that you can jam to Queen B and then get lost in Thom Yorke's vocals before heading off to see Kendrick all while wearing a tank top and fanny pack in perfect 80 degree weather. Keep being weird, California. I love it.