North American Music Festivals








From the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of Mexico, we round up the best festivals on the other side of the Atlantic

Our Music team has picked its favourite North American festivals; and with four offices in the United States, you can be sure there will be a lifestyle manager awake in the right time zone to book your tickets, so you can get some shut-eye.

Contact us about booking tickets.

Our Travel team is also on hand to help with flights, transport and accommodation.

Country, bluegrass and folk

Nashville, also known as Music City has an abundance of venues playing host to a stream of live acts year-round, but each June since 1972 the city has welcomed hundreds of country music fans for CMA Music Festival (8-11 June 2017). Concerts, autograph signings and charity sports matches take place around the city and while tickets are required for the nightly concerts at the Nissan Stadium, there are dozens of free shows and activities.

If you prefer your southern comforts with a more acoustic vibe, MerleFest (27-30 April 2017) in North Carolina provides a family-friendly atmosphere for folk aficionados. Think deck chairs, nature walks, music lessons and spontaneous jam sessions. Held in the small town of Wilkesboro, previous years have included sets from John Prine, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch and Tim O’Brien.

Alternatively, head northwest to the imposing Rocky Mountains of Colorado for Telluride Bluegrass Festival (15-18 June 2017) which takes place on the weekend closest to the summer solstice.

Rock and metal

For those who like things a little louder, September sees two of the world’s greatest touring festivals come together in the San Bernardino Mountains in California, for Ozzfest Meets Knotfest (24-25 September). As the name implies, these two separate entities were originated by Ozzy Osbourne and Slipknot and this uniting of musical minds is sure to be a historic event. The line-up includes the festival’s namesakes plus Megadeth, Anthrax, Opeth and more.

Slipknot will also appear at Chicago Open Air (15-17 July) alongside Rammstein, Korn and Marilyn Manson. Lifestyle manager Tori Walter says: ‘I would definitely recommend Rammstein, whether you normally listen to metal or not; their live show is an experience not to be missed.’ We’re sure next year’s line-up will be just as impressive, so let us know if you’d like to know when tickets go on sale for 2017.

Jazz and blues

The Montreal Jazz Festival (29 June – 8 July 2017) in Canada is the world’s largest jazz festival and welcomes over two million visitors for in excess of 650 concerts. Whether you attend for one day or go in for the long haul, you won’t be disappointed as jazz, soul, funk and R&B play from midday to midnight, with many events free to access.

Across the border, Chicago Blues Festival (June 2017) sees Grant Park dominated by five stages for a free festival that has previously attracted Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy and B.B. King. Chicago also has an enviable dining scene and our Restaurants team will be happy to book you a table. Why not try Alinea, which recently placed at number 15 in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list?

Lastly, we couldn’t talk about jazz and blues without mentioning the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and with dates already set for 2017 (28 April – 7 May), you’ve plenty of time to arrange your trip. Featuring live music, crafts, the Congo Square African Marketplace and traditional French, Cajun, Creole and southern foods, the Big Easy puts on quite a show.

Eclectic arts

Most of our music specialists would struggle to narrow their music tastes to just one genre, so here are some of the best all-rounders for those who prefer to take in a broad spectrum.

As well as being at the centre of country music, Tennessee is also home to Bonnaroo (8-11 June 2017), a festival that encompasses all genres plus film, comedy, water slides, parades, art exhibitions and much more. Set on a 700-acre farm in Manchester, the site is just over an hour’s drive south from Nashville, so you could combine Bonnaroo with a day or two at CMA Music Festival.

Played out across two April weekends in California, Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (14-16 and 21-23 April 2017) has become as known for its fashion and star-studded audience as it is for pulling together impressive stage line-ups. The 2016 event saw performances from Chris Stapleton, Calvin Harris, A$AP Rocky and Chvrches, along with full-service pop-up restaurants, huge art installations and a Ferris wheel.

Pictured: Telluride Bluegrass Festival – photo credit Doug Anderson