By Ashani Dunwell

Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival – Okeechobee, Florida / March 2-5th

Artists to see: Anderson Paak & The Free Nationals, Dram, Usher & The Roots, Bad Bad Not Good, Snakehips.

Surprisingly one of the cheaper tickets, despite it being one of the only four day festivals this Spring, Okeechobee Music & Arts Festival sounds like it’s going to be a weekend of high energy and amazing experiences. From carnival rides and a lake in the middle of the festival, to live artists and a yoga gathering; Okeechobee coordinators left little room for concert-goers to be disappointed. The line up alone is enough to place this festival high on the list. Noticeably different than most of the other music festivals this year–who continue to recycle many of the same artists– Okeechobee switches it up, giving us headliners like Wiz Khalifa, Kings of Leon and Usher & The Roots. Also falling during Spring Break this year, it seems like the perfect option for anyone still figuring out what they should do. You will have to move quickly, however, with only about a month left to prepare. Good thing the prices are so reasonable.

okeechobeefest.com

Buku Music + Art Project – New Orleans, Louisiana / March 10-11th

Artists to see: Travis Scott, Young Thug, Lil Dicky, Thundercat, Ambre, Oshi, Cashmere Cat.

If you enjoy hip-hop and R&B as much as you enjoy electronic music, you better move fast to grab your tickets for the 2-Day Buku Music and Art Project. Supporting a line up of hit makers who are guaranteed to light up the stage, Buku plans to spread acts like Travis Scott, Cashmere Cat, Vince Staples and more, across five different performance areas at Mardis Gras World in New Orleans. Some of these areas include the Back Alley, a riverside dance floor looking out to the Crescent City Connect bridge and The Ballroom, an indoor concert hall, fully equipped with strobe lights and an all-seeing balcony. Each day will also support different collective showcases, including Solange Knowles’ very own Saint Heron. Between the rich culture of the city and the energy Buku will add to the mix, this festival is a high contender if you’re considering overall experience. Traditions of Buku Music and Art Project include the Live Graffiti Gallery and pop up performances spontaneously throughout the festival.

thebukuproject.com

SXSW Conference & Festivals – Austin, TX / March 10-19th

Arists to see: Maggie Rogers, Gabriel Garzon Montano, Goldlink, Kweku Collins, Smino

With over 2,200 performers and 67 countries represented last year, South by Southwest has remained what many would agree to be one of the most desirable American music festivals to currently exist. This Spring will be the 30th anniversary and after years of development built on the principles of inclusivity and innovation, it seems as though the founders were successful in their plans. Large enough to extend throughout the entire city of Austin for nine consecutive days, the festival is an opportunity of a lifetime for entrepreneurs looking to rub shoulders with the movers and shakers of some of the most successful media industries today. It’s pop up venues include unconventional spaces such as restaurants, alleyways, and even churches, making it easy to stumble upon a random performance when you were just trying to find a bathroom. Apart from the music (depending on which limb you sell), you also have the option to access film screenings, trade shows, seminars, and workshops. If you’re at all interested in what the future of music and business looks like, SXSW is the place for you.

www.sxsw.com

Hangout Music Fest – Gulf Shores, Alabama / May 19th-21st

Artists to see: Frank Ocean, Weezer, Towkio, Tkay Maidza, Shaggy, Snakehips, Russ.

For the self-proclaimed beach bums and music lovers, Hangout Music Fest presents a laid back 3-day festival full of volleyball tournaments, hammocks, seafood stands, a ferris wheel and of course, many exciting performances. Established along the beautiful coast of Gulf Shores in Alabama, prepare to have an extremely intimate relationship with the sun and sand by the end of the weekend. The lineup is the perfect genre mash up for a beach getaway with old and new crowd favorites gracing the stage. Imagine dancing along the shore to Weezer or the sun setting on the horizon as Frank Ocean performs Blonde right before your eyes. This is another festival whose overall experience, when considered, makes it really hard to choose. Other performers include Chance the Rapper, Local Natives and even Shaggy, which makes me smile just thinking of the chance to sing “It Wasn’t Me” with thousands of other happy fans. If you were sold at hammocks and this sounds like the festival for you, tickets are still on sale until March 1st.

www.hangoutmusicfest.com

Sasquatch! Music Festival – The Gorge in George, Washington / May 26-28th

Artists to see: Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Mac Miller, Moses Sumney, Joey Purp, Kaytranada.

Announcing that Frank Ocean would be a headliner months ago was a smart move by Sasquatch! coordinators, who had music fans everywhere going crazy to know who else would be gracing the four-stage festival this Spring. The lineup finally dropped last Sunday, surprising past attendees, as it doesn’t list the most standout names as previous years before. Instead, it looks to be a opportunity to get to know a great selection of underrated talents, many of which are indie-alternative rock. They have also sprinkled in a few hip-hop artists who are known to put on a good show (cross your fingers that Chance the Rapper and Joey Purp perform ‘Girls’ together). Located at The Gorge Ampitheatre in George, Washington, the campground itself is a breathtaker. Also falling conveniently during Memorial Day weekend, it might just be the perfect getaway for those on the West Coast. Tickets go on sale January 28th so you don’t have to worry about them selling out just yet.

sasquatchfestival.com

Boston Calling Music Festival – Boston, MA / May 26-28th

Artists to see: Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso, Danny Brown, Flatbush Zombies, Solange, Car Seat Headrest.

In the same weekend that Sasquatch! is going down on the Northwest, Boston Calling will be rocking the Northeast with their 8th festival in four years. Held at an exciting new location this Spring, Harvard Athletic Complex will be taking over for City Hall Plaza to host the concert for the very first time. This will allow for much more space and overall diversity. Typically known for an impressive lineup of alternative rock, electronic and hip-hop acts, you can expect that Boston Calling will provide a tastefully curated selection of artists to choose from. They even recently reported that they plan to include more underground and eclectic music moving forward. Another unique element of the festival is a mini film festival being held at Harvard, completely curated by actress Natalie Portman who graduated from the school herself. If you would consider  yourself a tastemaker or enjoy quality music that is undeniably good but slightly underrated, Boston Calling is calling for you.

bostoncalling.com

The Governor’s Ball Music Festival – Randall’s Island, NYC / June 2nd-4th

Artists to see: Beach House, Childish Gambino, Banks, Warpaint, Wu-Tang, Wiz Khalifa.

In 2011, Governor’s Ball was the first to bless New York City with a contemporary music festival everyone could enjoy. Six years later, still known for their diverse lineups of both prominent artists and those existing just under the radar, this is a great place to discover a new band or two. With a fair representation of hip-hop and R&B, alternative and electronic music, you have the freedom to stick to your favorites but the opportunity to find something great if you don’t. This year you’ll have to choose between artists like Childish Gambino, whose latest album calls for a must see performance, Wiz Khalifa, Flume and so much more. Although it’s one of the more expensive tickets out there, you still have some time to save up if you want to go. Extra attractions include mini golf, life sized board games, and unique art installments that change year to year.

www.governorsballmusicfestival.com

Panorama Music Festival – Randall’s Island Park, New York / July 28-30th

Artists to see: Frank Ocean, A Tribe Called Quest, Isaiah Rashad, Tame Impala, Angel Olsen, 6lack.

This year, Panorama Music Festival looks promising with some of it’s headliners including groundbreaking artists such as Frank Ocean, Solange and A Tribe Called Quest. Each of their latest projects generated a significant amount of praise from their fans in 2016, so it is bound to be a weekend of memorable performances. Panorama is new concept, only having begun in 2016 after Goldenvoice set out to curate a festival in New York City. Yet, in just a year, they have managed to book a large enough selection of eclectic musical acts to support a three day event. Getting its name from the panoramic view projected on the stage, Panorama aims to use technology to create an environment where concert goers truly feel apart of the experience. Also including features like The Lab, a digitally interactive art exhibit and The Point, located at the center of the festival; a place where you can find DJs playing through all hours of the day and night, this festival has a personality of it’s own. Sharing the same stomping grounds as NYC’s Governor’s Ball that is set to take place nearly two months prior; Panorama will be held at Randall’s Island Park in Manhattan, NY.

www.panorama.nyc