Festival Guide 2015

As the crippling cold grips Geneseo, members of the music world are looking ahead to the summer months and the big events. It’s festival announcement season, the time when the major music festivals release their lineups and give prospective attendees a tease of the fun in the sun to come. Here’s a guide to the “Big Six” for Festival Season 2015.  

Festival: Bonnaroo

Headliners: Billy Joel, Mumford & Sons, DEADMAU5, Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine

Unsung Highlights: Caribou, Tycho, Tears For Fears

Where: Manchester, Tennessee

When: June 11-14

Go/No Go: Go!

The original American summer destination music festival will not disappoint this year. Four action-packed days in a field—à la Woodstock—await concertgoers from all over the country at Bonnaroo. Aside from the unforgettable experience, this festival gets a “Go!” rating thanks to having one of the strongest lineups this year. Performances from Billy Joel, Kendrick Lamar, The War on Drugs and Earth Wind & Fire will please the pop fanatic, the indie lover and everyone in between.


Festival: Coachella

Headliners: AC/DC, Jack White, Drake

Unsung Highlights: Sylvan Esso, Flying Lotus, Father John Misty, Mac DeMarco, Parquet Courts

Where: Indio, California

When: April 10-12, April 17-19

Go/No Go: Go!

Another perennial favorite, the festival of choice for the rich and famous features another star-studded lineup this year. Must-sees include Mac DeMarco, Interpol, Steely Dan and Flying Lotus, while the return of AC/DC promises to be a spectacle worth witnessing. Coachella also includes some of the best musical variety, with PBR&B act The Weeknd and electronic superstars Ratatat also on the bill. For anyone who can make the cross-country trek, Coachella gets a clear go-ahead.


Festival: Firefly

Headliners: Kings of Leon, The Killers

Unsung Highlights: Modest Mouse, Manchester Orchestra

Where: Dover, Delaware

When: June 18-21

Go/No Go: No Go

The only major destination festival in the mid-Atlantic region provides the campground fun, but largely lacks the musical draws this year. Washouts Kings of Leon would not qualify as headliner material at any of the other major festivals this year—and Firefly’s bill is shockingly thin. As much fun as the camping experience can be, Firefly is not worth the ticket price this year.


Festival: Governors Ball

Headliners: Drake, The Black Keys, DEADMAU5

Unsung Highlights: White Lung, DIIV

Where: New York City

When: June 5-7

Go/No Go: Go!

Governors Ball builds on an impressive 2014 with another stellar lineup. The headline acts indicate the diversity in sound GovBall 2015 promises; with hip-hop, rock and electronic dance music all represented. Drawing many of the same acts as Bonnaroo and Coachella, Governors Ball should prove to be the pride of live music in the Northeast this year.


Festival: Boston Calling

Headliners: Beck, My Morning Jacket, Pixies

Unsung Highlights: St. Vincent

Where: Boston, Massachusetts

When: May 22-24

Go/No Go: No Go

This is one of the city festivals that have emerged in recent years due to the success of Governors Ball, but Boston Calling isn’t worth the journey this year. This festival looks like it may fall flat—with few big names to boast of—especially in the pop and hip-hop genres.


Festival: Shaky Knees

Headliners: The Strokes, The Avett Brothers, Wilco, Pixies

Unsung Highlights: Neutral Milk Hotel, Dr. Dog, Panda Bear, Real Estate

Where: Atlanta, Georgia

When: May 8-10

Go/No Go: Go!

Where Boston Calling falters, Shaky Knees exceeds expectations. This very new, third-year festival has managed to attract some big names that the other festivals missed. The Strokes, Wilco, American Football and Real Estate are all Shaky Knees-exclusive acts this year. With this much star power, Shaky Knees looks like a must-see.