Entertainment Food and Festival
The carefully curated festivals hosted across the United States offer a full immersion into the wonders of music, culture and food. These festivals provide a magical opportunity for various communities to come together and have a profound shared experience as they celebrate some of their biggest passions, whether it be electronic dance music, the rich history of Hawaii or anything in between. These special events evoke the creative, free, and of course, fun spirit within us all, acting as a wonderland of inspiration and connection.
Whether you’re excited by the idea of an epic reggae concert, a hilarious gathering filled with strange and chilly competitions, or events that allow you to indulge your love for apples or cheese, this list will help you fill your calendar with festivals that light you up and inspire enriching travel. To craft this finely-tuned list, Flight Network conducted comprehensive research to sift through the countless offerings of festivals and select over 30 of the best.
Located only 90 minutes from Seattle and Bellingham in The Darrington Music Park, Summer Meltdown Festival is a beloved tradition for both music lovers and adventure seekers. This appeal steams from their impressive line-up, which includes 2019 headliners like Tipper, Umphrey’s McGee and Gramatik, in addition to Nahko & Medicine For The People, The Polish Ambassador, Clozee, G Jones, Brother Ali and more.
When attendees want to roam, they’re easily entertained by a vendor village for food and crafts, expansive campgrounds filled with Douglas Firs, a river for swimming and sun worshipping, a yoga tent, beer garden, kids’ village, workshops, regional art, and so much more it’s hard to fit it all in. For those seeking a thrill or some physical exertion, adventures like helicopter rides, rafting, tubing, kayaking; mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing can be enjoyed.
Taking place every year at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland, Moonrise Festival has blossomed into one of the largest summer dance music festivals in the Northeast United States, with over 30,000 annual, international attendees. Known as the #MoonCrew, the music fans that flock to Moonrise revel in the two days of diverse dance, bass, hip hop, and jam acts presented across four massive stages that boast state of the art production. In addition, the festival comes alive with art installations, a sprawling vendor village, and interactive performers.
The four stages include the Stellar Stage, highlighting many of the best-known artists in the world, the Lunar Stage, presenting live acts, special production performances, hip hop, and diverse electronica, the Solar Tent, known as a bass lovers’ paradise, and the Celestial Garden, a gathering place for all things house and techno.
A grassroots festival created by a group of innovative musicians and performers wanting to share the magic of their creations in a unique manner, 515 Alive Music Festival is now a thriving event that attracts those passionate about the spirit of music. Beginning as a block party, this festival has been the beacon of Des Moines, Iowa‘s electronic music scene from the start, in addition to a canvas for urban arts and music. In many ways, the festival breaks barriers between musical genres.
2019 is an exciting year for 515 Alive, as it will feature its biggest lineup in its 17 year history, a new stage, enhanced sound systems, jaw-dropping light and laser shows, new fan experiences, an abundance of art showcases and reinvigorated enthusiasm from its supporters.
Chicago’s only beachside summer music festival, Mamby On The Beach provides three stages of live music from top-tier talent, and activities such as beach-friendly games, yoga, nutritional and wellness workshops, henna tattoos and body-art, live painting, and more. 2019 headliners include Zhu, Virtual Self, Justin Martin, and Flying Lotus. Lovers of EDM will be happy to see Kasbo, Robotaki, and Phantoms on the line-up, while pop-appreciators will be showing up early to score prime spots for Troye Sivan, Quinn XCII, Sylvan Esso, and Phantogram. Regardless of your preferred flavor of tunes, Mamby On The Beach has you covered.
In addition, Mamby’s morals are strong, as their lineup features numerous female performers, and members of the LGBTQ community. They also work with OurMusicMyBody, an organization advocating for consent at music festivals and concerts.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, North Coast Music Festival is putting forth a fresh face with a new location and reinvented vibe. During this two-day festival, 25 electronic acts, such as Bassnectar, Major Lazer, Jauz, Jai Wolf, Tchami, and Flux Pavilion, will perform across two stages over Labor Day Weekend at Chicago’s Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. This sprawling outdoor amphitheater offers a stunning ambiance, as it’s situated on a breathtaking man-made peninsula off the shores of Lake Michigan – a location that almost ensures a refreshing lakefront breeze will keep attendees cool as they enjoy the festival’s events, back by the city skyline.
Additional artists on the line-up include, Big Wild, Gorgon City Snakehips, Trampa, Ookay, Yung Bae, Dirty Monkey, SG Lewis, Anna Lunoe, i_o, Melvv, SoDown, Ford, Inzo, Stratus, Align, Elevatd, GoodSex, Birthdayy Partyy, and Dee Mash.
An amazing festival for reveling in an immersive, multifaceted and hospitality-driven experience, KAABOO is a multi-day annual event that features world-class live music and a Humor Me comedy lineup. In addition, the festival features a Contemporary Art Fair, a display of outdoor murals and installations, gourmet food and craft libations tastings; a Las Vegas-style day club, a spa and other relaxation services.
Created by music lovers for music lovers, KAABOO is an adult escape, uniquely curated to shift the paradigm of music and cultural festivals, and create an oasis where attendees are perpetually high on the wonders of life. So whether your passion is music, art, seeking-serenity, or all three combined, this three-day voyage into the nourishment of your five senses will change you in the best way possible. The line-up for 2019 includes Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews, Mumford & Sons, and many more.
Rivaling many festivals with budgets ten times the size, Imagine Music Festival goes above and beyond with its innovative delivery of EDM productions, an expansive, coveted lineup, IMF features, mind blowing stages, and other-worldly experiences.
To create such a memorable event, Imagine features the world’s top electronic dance music acts, in addition to unbelievable cirque-style artists, who seem to pull you into new realms with their hypnotic performances. Exceptionally high quality production, art installations, compelling vendors and more enhance these “realms”. As it’s located in the heart of Atlanta, Imagine Music Festival is geographically desirable, offering ample parking, easy access to public transport, and a short walk to many of the city’s best hotels.
The longest continuously-running jazz festival in the world, the Monterey Jazz Festival, founded in 1958, is located on 20 spectacular acres of the oak-studded Monterey Fairgrounds. This nonprofit festival has featured almost every major jazz artist in the world from Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dave Brubeck, Tony Bennett, and Miles Davis, to contemporary greats like Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Trombone Shorty, Norah Jones, Esperanza Spalding, and Terence Blanchard. In addition, the Monterey Jazz Festival is so iconic it’s been the model for acclaimed festivals like the Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock, and many other multi-stage and nonprofit festivals across the world.
The 62nd Monterey Jazz Festival in 2019 will present 500 top jazz artists, such as Diana Krall, Chris Botti and Snarky Puppy, performing on over eight stages spread throughout the grounds. Attendees can also enjoy the creations of more than 75 vendors selling art, international food and merchandise.
Imagine saying yes to three days of rock ‘n roll, featuring performances by icons like Slipknot, Guns N’ Roses, Staind, Disturbed, A Day To Remember, Godsmack, Ice Cube, Marilyn Manson, and so many more. Louder Than Life offers this stellar journey into rock n’ roll, in addition to a back-to-nature camping adventure, and eclectic culinary and beverage activations from Seviche, Island Noodles, Spicy Pie Pizza, Caduceus Wine Garden, Heavy Tiki Bar, Kroger’s Big Bourbon Bar, and more festival-goer favorites, creating a truly unforgettable experience.
In 2019, Louder Than Life will feature more than 50 acts on three stages, along with award-winning bourbons, whiskey, spirits, craft beer, and food from many of the best eateries in Louisville. Festival attendees will also enjoy sponsor activations that honor the bourbon culture and culinary heritage of this legendary city.
A supremely original, fully-immersive two-day event, Goldrush Music Festival entertains electronic dance music aficionados and hip-hop fans from across the states wanting to dance to the creations of world class DJs, at four thoughtfully curated stages. Located in Chandler, Arizona’s Rawhide Western Town, the state’s largest 1880s western-themed entertainment venue, this festival has hosted greats like Black Tiger Sex Machine, Claude Vonstroke, Deadmau5, Dillon Francis, Excision, Ghastly, Illenium and so many more to its stages, creating a compelling fusion of wild west and fierce beats. Adding to the appeal, the festival is a short 20-minute drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, making it easily accessible to out of town guests.
Renowned as a “Summer camp for adults” and “the festival for people who do not like festivals,” Wildwood Revival features an impressive lineup of many of the best bluegrass, acoustic and Americana performers, in addition to captivating activities and workshops, and stellar food and drink to keep attendees’ energy charged for listening to live music in the pecan grove, and engaging in late-night picking sessions around the campfire.
Situated at the historic Cloverleaf Farm outside of Athens, Georgia, this gathering embodies the wonders of a Deep South setting, while also honoring the need to protect the environment by being free of plastic, single-use cups and bottled waters, in addition to providing complimentary filtered water for reusable water bottles. Enhancing the creative energy is the artisan market offering vintage clothing, antiques, printmakers, woodworkers, 1800’s-era tintype photography, leather makers, handmade crafts and more.
Delighting traditional and progressive Bluegrass fans alike in Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park, one of Southern California’s largest and most beautiful parks, the Huck Finn Jubilee sparks a deep awareness of our connection to nature, while also bonding attendees during the shared experience of music.
The two day lineup is filled with some of the greatest bluegrass musicians in the world that appeal to a range of music lovers, and offers parents a chance to expose their children to authentic roots music, and the concept of a communal family. Amplifying the magic is the festival’s marketplace, numerous family activities, and Lil’ Huckers Kid Zone. Steeped in tradition, this festival provides a safe space to come together and enjoy music and art that sparks a desire to express, create and unify.
Dirtybird Campout, the ultimate adult summer camp, is where big kids can go to revitalize their childlike wonder during nostalgic activities backed by the soundtrack of some of the world’s most cutting-edge DJs and live acts. For 2019, the festival’s two stages will be vibrating to the beats of many of the biggest names in techno, house, bass, and more, such as Josh Wink, Walker & Royce, Shiba San, Will Clark, Cut Chemist, Nastia, Jhené Aiko, Barclay Crenshaw, Mija, to name a few.
Adding to the allure of this gathering is the majestic Modesto Reservoir, Modesto where campers rejuvenate after dancing to the music and engaging in camp activities like Color War competitions, dodgeball, and tug of war, and lake activities like the wacky costumed Boat Race or the .5K Floatie Race. In addition, those with a creative flair can test their skills with totem making, screen-printing, tie-dye, and more.
Dive into the best of Bluegrass, Folk, and Americana tunes at Central Texas’ premiere music and camping gathering. Located on 145-acres of rolling hills and wooded grounds, Old Settler’s Music Festival will feature top acts on three stages, in addition to fostering a new generation of American roots musicians with their Youth Talent Competition.
This is an incredibly family-friendly experience, as it offers a wonderland of entertaining activities for kids, teens, and adults tapping into their childlike wonder. For 2019, Old Settler’s Music Festival has carefully curated a variety of 50+ artisan crafts and foods to compliment the awe-inspiring live performances. As NPR says, “[Old Settler’s Music Festival is] famous for a vibrant campground atmosphere and performances from big names in traditional and Americana music…you’ll get a pretty good idea why people keep coming back year after year.”
An annual celebration of electronic dance music, held at the famous Gorge Amphitheatre on the Columbia River in George, Washington, Paradiso Festival is often billed as the “largest Electronic Dance Music event ever staged in the Pacific Northwest,” with the 2012 attendance blasting past 29,000 people. Past headliners have included Kaskade, Porter Robinson, Tiesto, and many more.
However, this event isn’t just about the music – Paradiso prides itself on a united state of consciousness, and keeping the safety of their attendees at the forefront of their intentions for the gathering. They’re truly dedicated to creating the healthiest possible dance environment, in addition to crafting a revitalizing camping experience in this majestic area of Washington.
A two-day open-air blues music and seafood festival, Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival, hosted in the heart of downtown Clearwater in Coachman Park, offers a stunning environment for attendees, as it nestles the intercoastal waterways running parallel with one of the most dazzling beaches in America. Guests can dance to the music of five acts each day of the festival, working up an appetite that can be deliciously sated by astounding first-rate seafood dishes. Be warned that you may never want to leave the food village, as the aromas of fresh grouper, Cajun shrimp, large dishes of paella, and other fragrant dishes are intoxicating. Making it even more attractive is the fact that the event is free, with VIP and reserved seating packages available for those wanting to amp up the fun.
Electronic dance music, devotional song, experimental tunes, and folk performers converge at Lucidity Festival, a gathering that considers itself an “open-source transformational arts and music festival,” as they co-create the festival with the attendees. Lucidity invites those passionate about music and art to gather their star family for the festival, bring their art, lead a workshop, spark a spontaneous flash mob, embody a character from their dreams, and most of all, be silly, wild and free.
The tapestry of world class musical talent, beloved local legends, galleries showcasing the most intriguing fine arts in the region, enriching art installations that thrill with multi-sensory stimulation and themed environments that create intimate settings for personal connections makes Lucidity a can’t miss Summer festival.
The biggest names in reggae, like Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Soja, and Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, unite on the stages of California Roots & Arts Festival to create one of the most good-vibes-only, dynamic, and multi-layered events. Because of this, California Roots is a go-to destination for many on Memorial Day Weekend.
With ten festivals under their belt, the producers of this gathering have mastered the art of cultivating something magical by refining their vision, developing their intentions, and having a deep commitment to protect the Earth. Part of this commitment is their Greening Initiatives, programs for Redwood Reforestation, Water Conservation, Waste Diversion, and Steel Pints, in addition to their partnerships to provide carbon offset, and bike and skate valet. If you treat yourself to this transformative weekend, expect to experience thoughtfully selected live acts, wellness-enhancing foods, eclectic craft booths, and intimate pop-up performances.
A highly anticipated festival that submerges fans in the wonders of R&B, soul, jazz, hip-hop, and funk, Jazz in the Gardens is one of the most anticipated events in Miami Gardens, especially because it’s hosted by nationally syndicated radio personality Rickey Smiley. Through the all-embracing musical performances, Jazz in the Gardens celebrates diversity, culture, and art, entrenching guests in the rich beats and musical stylings emanating from the stage. In addition, the event is not just about the big names that headline, but also offers local artists the chance to be seen, heard and hopefully discovered.
Renowned as a “travel destination for the spring,” Jazz in the Gardens is complemented by a range of warm-weather settings and activities, such as scenic beaches, shopping, golfing, 5-star restaurants, and many other compelling attractions.
Lauded as one of the largest blues festival west of the Mississippi, Waterfront Blues Festival offers blues fans four stages to enjoy over 120 performances by some of the biggest names in the genre, like Buddy Guy, Robert Plant, Steve Miller, Taj Mahal, and Mavis Staples, as well as younger acts like Larkin Poe, Gary Clark Jr, Tedeschi Trucks, JJ Grey & Mofro, Galactic, and Karl Denson. As the festival is located in the exquisite Waterfront Park, on the tranquil banks of the Willamette River in downtown Portland, festival-goers are in for four days of unforgettable fun, cultural expansion, and enriching connections with nature.
Attracting 40,000 hip-hop fans from the States and abroad every Memorial Weekend, Soundset converges on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds to offer the largest one-day hip-hop festival in America. This legendary festival has pulled in greats such as Lil Wayne, G-Eazy, Lil Uzi Vert, DMX, Prof, Dem Atlas, Taylor Bennett, DJ Keezy, SZA, Run the Jewels, Beast Coast, and so many more it blows the minds of attendees who understandably have a hard time deciding which stage to head to. Starting in 2008, this festival that was first hosted in a parking lot, has transformed into a world-famous hip-hop behemoth.
The annual American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront is a multi-stage, multi-cultural event that celebrates diverse traditions from around the world. Featuring bluegrass, gospel, Quebecois, Native, Garifuna, Korean, and other genres of music, this event allows guests to experience the myriad of ways humans make music. Enhancing the cultural enrichment are the food vendors, authentic, hand-made crafts from regional artisans, a Children’s’ Village, dance performances and storytelling.
Fostering its core value of bringing folks from different walks of life together in cooperative and harmonious ways, the festival encourages community participation through volunteerism and attendance. But they don’t have to pull anyone’s arm, as the location of the festival – the spectacular Penobscot Riverfront – combined with its mind-blowing journey into the fascinating cultures woven into this world, make the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront a coveted festival for many.
A festival that started as a small week-long celebration, Aloha Festivals has blossomed into Hawaii’s premier cultural showcase, preserving the unique traditions of the islands while bringing the community together with a multitude of volunteer opportunities. This free, month-long celebration of Hawaiian music, dance and history was conceived by a group known as the Jaycees Old-Timers of Hawai’i, who were dedicated to creating a gathering that would honor Hawaii’s heritage – they obviously succeeded. Now a statewide celebration, with many of the major events taking place on the island of O‘ahu, more than 100,000 people assemble at Aloha Festivals to delight in the seemingly endless treasure the Hawaiian culture provides.
With more than 50 food vendors representing 25 different cultures or regions, culinary adventure is the heart and soul of the World Food & Music Festival. The ideal place to celebrate and explore diverse and flavorful food and drink, this is a go-to festival for foodies, and those yearning to develop a more worldly palate. In addition, the festival features two stages, which offer live music and dance performances that emulate many of the cultures represented at the gathering.
Adding to the fun is cooking demonstrations, wine and craft beers and a vibrant atmosphere where food lovers come together to experience edible thrills with friends, family and the diverse people roaming the event. Having just celebrated its 15th year, you know this celebration of food and culture has a solid grasp on showing guests a good time.
One of the oldest folk life festivals in America, Kutztown Folk Festival unfolds over an astounding nine days, and attracts visitors from around the world. Both entertaining and enlightening, this festival attracts families wanting to gain a deeper understanding of the enthralling traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Kutztown Folk Festival provides this understanding through authentic folk life demonstrations, a wide variety of Pennsylvania Dutch food, over 200 nationally recognized, juried folk artists and traditional American craftsmen, more than 2,500 locally hand-made quilts, and riveting antiques and collectables. In addition, the festival features six stages showcasing music and dance performances, as well as a wide range of children’s’ activities.
Past festival performers have included Philly Brass Band, Stella Ruze, New Platz, Steel Creek, and Crash Gorden & Debra Dynamite. And, the “Showdown at the Hoedown,” a competition between the Miller Family Square Dancers and the Celtic Martins, can not be missed.
A sundry crowd from all walks of life and age groups flock to Nederland, Colorado to partake in, and witness, confounding events like coffin racing, costume polar plunging, a parade of hearses, frozen t-shirt and brain freeze contests, icy turkey bowling, a dead poetry slam and performances by 34 live bands in three blessedly heated tents. Helping attendees warm up are the specialty cocktails from local distilleries, and the locally-crafted Bredo’s Brew.
Wholly unique and quirky, Frozen Dead Guy Days brings out the inner children of adults who don’t take themselves too seriously, plunging them in frosty revelry as they say yes to the festivals hilarious spectacles. If you’re a lover of adventure, spontaneity.. and the cold, this festival is for you.
Making its debut on a 350-acre ranch, just outside Whitefish, Montana, Under The Big Sky Music and Arts Festival made an impressive splash with performances across two stages in naturally formed amphitheaters, the Rough Stock Rodeo, trail rides, and a general celebration of both traditional and contemporary interpretations of America’s dynamic musical traditions. Magnifying the magic were the ranch’s 180 degree views of Big Sky Country, miles of unfettered wilderness, and easy access to Glacier National Park. This is surely a festival that’s here to stay.
Known as New England’s largest winter extravaganza, this annual gathering takes place throughout Newport and Newport County, and celebrates the joyful foods and events unique to the coziest time of year. Featuring over 150 events, the Newport Winter Festival combines food, festivities, music, and fun for all ages, and is an ideal way to dissolve winter blues. With a Chili Cook-Off, Mac & Cheese Smackdown, Princess Party and good-time concerts including the Jimmy Buffett tribute band, Changes in Latitudes and more, this is a jolly way to fill a winter’s day.
As the premium artisanal cheese state, Vermont knows how to make a good cheese. And with the highest number of cheesemakers per capita (over 40 of them), Vermont’s Cheesemakers’ Festival is the prime place for its artisans to share their passion for making fine cheeses. During the festival, guests will have the pleasure of pairing cheeses with local, fresh foods and wines, while spending the day lounging on the banks of Lake Champlain, at the historic Shelburne Farms Coach Barn.
Elevating festival-goers’ experience of sampling, buying, learning, and networking, are the ample opportunities to chat with a multitude of specialty food producers, and the innovators from local wineries, cideries, breweries, and distilleries. If you find yourself spending most of your time at the grocery store hemming and hawing over your cheese selections, be sure to make a trip to “the Napa Valley of cheese,” during this one-of-a-kind festival.
As a city known for its world-class chefs and restaurants, it’s no surprise Eat Drink SF is one of the most renowned culinary festivals in the world. The main appeal of this can’t-miss experience stems from the masterful, edible creations provided by a finely-curated assortment of top chefs, wineries and mixologists.
Now hosted at The Midway – located in the Dogpatch district of San Francisco – the festival’s ambiance matches the extraordinary culinary journey guests will enjoy as they indulge in foods from some of the best restaurants in the Bay Area. Adding to the pleasure are the interactive experiences and programming, ensuring guests are engaged and entertained. So whether you’re a legit food-expert, or just someone who really likes good food, this festival will be your jam.
For those that savor everything-apple, McIntosh Apple Day is a bucket list item. McIntosh Apple Day falls on the first Saturday of every October. During this day of apple worshipping, guests will enjoy arts, crafts, and food from the local Hamilton Farmers Market, as well as goods from vendors outside the area. The shining-jewel of the festival is the bake sale, where apple-lovers can purchase made-from-scratch apple pies, forged from hand-picked, locally grown apples. Other popular nosh includes beef kabobs, caramel apples, and the festival’s famous apple butter. In addition, you can engage in some friendly competition by purchasing raffle tickets that provide the chance to win over 100 raffle items, donated by vendors and other local businesses. Rounding out the day is a silent auction and live entertainment.
Five days of fun and feasting on the coast of Maine, the Maine Lobster Festival serves up heaps of mouth-wateringly delicious lobster and other food items, sure to leave festival-attendees feeling full and festive. Beyond the food, this festival features a parade, a seafood cooking competition, a 5k and 10k road race, Sea Goddess Coronation, crate races, arts and crafts vendors, live entertainment, carnival rides and children’s’ events.
The idea for the festival was sparked in March 1947, when a group of Rockland and Camden locals discussed how to revitalize the area’s summer activities post-war. Because lobster is such a big part of the local culture, it was decided that a marine festival, focused on the favored catch in the local waters, would be their best bet. And they were right.
One of the nation’s longest-running craft beer gatherings, the Oregon Brewers Festival is considered a premiere event for beer aficionados. As it lands in the midst of summer, guests can escape the heat with frosty glasses of independent craft beers and cider, or cheers friends with high-quality wine on the shore of the Willamette River. This setting is accented by gorgeous views of the Portland skyline and the majesty of Mount Hood.
This beer celebration is so popular around 60,000 beer-lovers flock to the event each year, indulging in everything from Belgians or Blondes, Hazys or Hefes, Pales or Pilsners, and Saisons or Sours. A true commemoration of the fabulous brews crafted worldwide, over 100 products from more than 90 breweries and eight cider houses in 34 cities are often poured at Oregon Brewers Festival.