As the Christmas season ends and classes begin, it is easy to feel depressed as New England winter sets in. How does one retain hope in the bleakness that is spring semester? Plan for upcoming music festivals, of course. Here are the top lineups for 2015.
The Big Boys
Where: The lush green oasis of the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California (a little desert town 2-3 hours outside of Los Angeles)
When: Weekend 1: April 10-12 ; Weekend 2: April 17-19 (BC has April 20th off of school for Patriots Day, hint, hint)
Who: While around 200 artists will be entertaining the hundreds of thousands that will flock to the desert in April, some of the most notable artists attending include Drake, Jack White, AC/DC, Florence and the Machine, The Alabama Shakes, Azealia Banks, Alt-J, St. Vincent and the Weeknd. See the whole lineup here.
Why You Should Go: Have you ever been to Southern California? The average high in April in Indio is 87 degrees. I repeat, 87 degrees and sunny. Do you know what the average high is on the Heights in April? Not that. In reality, while the average high temperature in Chestnut Hill is a pleasant 56 degrees for the month of April, we will be emerging from the deep freeze of a New England winter and could all use a little warming up in the desert. Not to mention, Coachella has been one of the most massive and well respected music festivals in the world. People have been flocking to the polo fields for the concert annually since 1999, so by now they really know how to get it right. With camping--hotel and luxury air-conditioned tent options available--as well as proper porcelain-clad bathrooms and awesome food, you won't be forced to be dirty and uncomfortable just to listen to your favorite bands.
Where: Grant Park, Chicago, amidst the looming sky scrapers of one of the greatest cities in the world.
When: July 31-August 2 (almost a full month before the fall semester begins).
Who: The 2015 lineup is yet to be announced, but last year's headliners included Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Lyon, Arctic Monkeys, Childish Gambino, Calvin Harris, Skrillex and hometown rapper Chance the Rapper; check out the full setlist here.
Why You Should Go: Lollapalooza was originally conceived in 1991 as a farewell tour for the band, Alice in Chains, which ended up running until 1997. It was then revived in 2003, and by 2005 the festival had been retooled to work as a destination festival nestled deep inside Chicago's downtown. With a reputation as one of the most well organized festivals in the world, blockbuster headliners complimented by a strong indie showing, and the entire shining metropolis of Chi-raq to explore during the day, you really can't go wrong with booking a ticket to Lolla.
Where: Hot and humid Manchester, Tennessee
When: June 11-14 (way after finals end)
Who: The 2015 lineup should be announced very soon, however, last year Elton John, Kanye West, Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Wiz Khalifa, Skrillex and Frank Ocean performed with many, many others. See the whole 2014 lineup here.
Why You Should Go: Yes, it's going to be hot. Yes, its going to be muddy. Yes, you're going to be in a tent for four days. However, you're probably not going to care. Bonnaroo is one of the most intense music festival experiences, and is by far the most authentic of the top tier of festivals. The Tennessee festival consistently brings some of the best lineups of the festival year, and once you get over the dirt and sweat, Bonnaroo is known to be one of the most enjoyable experiences for any music lover. Just be sure to leave the nice shoes at home.
Where: Beautiful beachside Miami, Florida
When: March 27-29 (you deserve a mid-semester break)
Who: With Ultra being the premier EDM festival stateside, headliners for 2015 include Afrojack, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Martin Garrix, Avicii, David Guetta and Tiesto; view the complete lineup here.
Why You Should Go: Do you like the beach? Do you like EDM? If you answered yes to one or both of these questions and are free the weekend of the 27th, you should book a ticket to Ultra ASAP. I mean, the tickets basically sell themselves. Miami is gorgeous, the lineup includes some of the biggest names in EDM at the moment, and with massive sets a few hundred yards from Miami's famous South Beach, Ultra is a dream come true for any EDM fan.
The Up and Comers and the Local Crowd
5. Hangout Fest
Where: Literally on the beach in Gulf Shores, Alabama
When: May 15-17 (Three days after the last day of finals)
Who: The 2015 lineup has yet to be announced, but last year Hangout Fest saw their stages occupied with impressive performers such as The Black Keys, The Killers, Outkast, Jack Johnson, Childish Gambino, Pretty Lights and Bastille. View the rest of the 2014 lineup here.
Why You Should Go: While yes, Gulf Shores, Alabama is a pinch less glamorous than South Beach in Miami, that doesn't mean it's a lesser festival. With a fantastic mix of genres and performers, there is something for almost everyone at Hangout Fest. The venues are actually in the sand, mere yards from the beach, and the entire atmosphere is relaxed and fun-loving. At Hangout, you could wake up in the morning and walk straight out onto the beach to hear some world class music in your swimsuit, and if you get a little hot just run out into the ocean for a quick dip. Your weekend of fun will be well deserved after just finishing finals less than a week before the festival.
6. Governor's Ball
Where: Randall's Island, New York, New York.
When: June 5-7 (ahhh, summer)
Who: Headliners include Drake, The Black Keys, Lana Del Rey, Deadmau5, Tame Impala, Ratatat, Weird Al Yankovic and many more, who can all be seen here.
Why You Should Go: As one of the newer festivals in this selection, started in 2011, Governor's Ball is home to some of the premier performers of the year, and with a venue so close to Boston, travel for those of you that live in the Northeast will be much easier than trekking all the way to Coachella or Lollapalooza. Crowds are star studded with celebrities coming in from NYC to view the artists out on Randall Island, with Madonna and Andre 3000 being spotted in the crowd last year. Choose to attend the ball, you will surely not be disappointed with the world class acts set against one of the finest cities in the world.
7. Boston Calling
Where: The historic City Hall Plaza, Boston, Massachusetts
When: May 22-24 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Who: TBA but last year we had the likes of Lorde, Nas, Childish Gambino, Girl Talk and the 1975 gracing the stage in our very own city.
Why You Should Go: Started in 2013, Boston Calling is now in its 3rd year and is becoming a serious player in the music festival scene. Boston is not the host of some 3rd rate music festival, and with the festival looking to expand on last year's success, the lineup will surely be one to impress. If you're in town, go support and be part of this awesome event happening right here at home.
8. Newport Folk Festival
Where: Sunny, seaside Newport, Rhode Island
When: July 24-26 (ideal mid-summer timing)
Who: Still TBA but you know the lineup will be full of fun and innovative folk bands from all around the country. Last year, Newport Folk was headlined by Jack White, Ryan Adams, Jeff Tweedy, Valerie June, Lake Street Dive and Houndmouth.
Why You Should Go: The nearby perennial folk favorite in Newport is part of local tradition at this point. For years they have been inviting the most innovative and trail blazing voices in folk and rock to preform in front of thousands in Rhode Island, situated along a breathtaking beach town setting. You should go because even if you don't like traditional folk you may find something new and inventive that expands your musical horizons, and doesn't that sound nice?
9. Firefly Festival
Where: Dover, Delaware
When: June 18-21 (I hear Delaware's nice this time of year)
Who: TBA, however last year was headlined by an eclectic group, ranging from Foo Fighters, Weezer, Arctic Monkeys and The Lumineers to Childish Gambino, with Outkast, G-Eazy and White Panda also making appearances. Check the whole 2014 lineup here.
Why You Should Go: In short, it's super close and its a rip roaring good time. Firefly, conceived in 2012, is still a relatively new kid on the block. With gorgeous camping in the Delaware woods, and a lineup that will surely have something for everyone, pack your bags and scoop your tickets.