Music festival season is in full swing, with Jazz in the Gardens just having celebrated its ninth birthday in Miami Gardens this past weekend. There is much more music on the way as spring bleeds into summer, and while many of these festivals are local, we also wanted to spotlight a few outside of the tri-county area—festivals that are still drivable, and with lineups that are well worth a two- or three-day escape. Without further ado:
Ultra Music Festival
Dates: March 28-30 at Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
The lowdown: Despite charging only slightly than your first born for tickets, this electronic dance music bonanza is, aside from Art Basel, probably Miami’s biggest cultural draw—and it always sells out. At the time of this writing, ticket sales have reached 94 percent capacity, so if you want to tickle your auditory canals with the pulse of contemporary EDM music, snooze no longer and fork over next month’s rent.
The lineup: Avicii, Tiesto, David Guetta, Empire of the Sun, Kaskade, MGMT, Basement Jaxx, 2ManyDJs, Zedd, Afrojack, Paul Van Dyk, M.I.A. (pictured), Carl Cox, many more
Don’t miss: Dizzee Rascal, the infinitely talented British grime rapper whose 2003 debut earned him a Mercury Music Prize
Dates: April 10-12 at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park, 3076 95th Drive, Live Oak
Cost: $165 general, $799 VIP, $1,299 Super VIP
The lowdown: Celebrating a landmark 10th anniversary, the Allman Brothers launched this festival to showcase their own music as well as kindred spirits and emerging artists in the rock, funk and jam-band fields; this year’s lineup is especially star-studded.
The lineup: Allman Brothers Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trey Anastasio Band, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Gov’t Mule (pictured), Umphrey’s McGee, Ziggy Marley, Blues Traveler, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Hot Tuna, many more.
Don’t miss: With Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, the talented multi-instrumentalist and member of New Orleans funk royalty will lead his band through a set of Led Zeppelin covers for this special performance.
Tortuga Music Festival
Dates: April 12-13 along Fort Lauderdale Beach
Cost: $165 general, $799 VIP, $1,299 Super VIP
The lowdown: A lay-back-with-your-toes-in-the-sand kind of festival, Tortuga debuted last year with much fanfare and a winning lineup. Hopefully, the fact that it’s back for a second year means that it’s here to stay, offering another impressive roster of country, Americana, modern pop and classic rock bands.
The lineup: Luke Bryan, Eric Church (pictured), Dierks Bentley, Hank Williams Jr., Train, Brantley Gilbert, Sheryl Crow, Billy Currington, Slightly Stoopid, Ziggy Marley, .38 Special, many more.
Don’t miss: White Denim, an eclectic quartet from Austin who, on its six albums, have encompassed most genres that run the Tortuga gamut, from blues and prog music to Southern and indie rock.
Florida Music Festival & Conference
Dates: April 24-26 in downtown Orlando
Cost: $10 per night
The lowdown: This is a seemingly smaller shindig than these other affairs, but it tops the list in cost-effectiveness. Where else can you see the frontman of Live for $10? Its low-information website could use a makeover, though.
The lineup: Aer, Less Than Jake (pictured), Ed Kowalczyk, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Hoyle and more—with some 150 bands scheduled.
Don’t miss: Solliloquists of Sound is one of the Orlando scene’s success stories; the hip-hop quartet, known for its socially conscious lyrics, eventually signed to an excellent semi-major label, ANTI-/Epitaph.
Welcome to Rockville
Dates: April 26-27 at Metropolitan Park, 1410 Gator Bowl Blvd., Jacksonville
Cost: $59.50 single day, $109.50 for two-day pass
The lowdown: With artists with names like Butcher Babies, Sick Puppies and Devour the Day, this clearly isn’t a festival for the little ones. It caters to those who like their kick drums doubled, their guitars crunchy and their vocals guttural. The time has mostly passed when music like this played on mainstream radio stations, but these heavy, angst-y rock acts remain huge draws.
The lineup: KoRn (pictured), Rob Zombie, Avenged Sevenfold, Motorhead, Five Finger Death Punch, Staind, Chevelle, Seether, Volbeat, many more.
Don’t miss: The Cult, whose goth-rock mysticism stands out among its hard-rocking peers.
Dates: April 30-May 4 in downtown West Palm Beach.
See our preview from late last month.
Dates: May 2-4 at Florida State Fairgrounds, 4800 U.S. 301, Tampa
The lowdown: For what it’s worth, if I were to attend any Florida festival this season, it would be Big Guava. Forty bands will perform across four stages situated around a fairground midway, where attendees receive free unlimited rides all day long—which, after a few craft beers, may not always be the wisest decision. The indie-rock-intensive lineup is, in my humble opinion, the strongest of any festival in the state, and I’m jealous we don’t have anything like it down here.
The lineup: OutKast, Vampire Weekend (pictured), Foster the People, Slightly Stoopid, Cake, Tegan and Sara, Girl Talk, Sleigh Bells, Earl Sweatshirt, Grouplove, Haim, Twenty One Pilots, many more.
Don’t miss: Violent Femmes, the legendary alternative rock band behind hits like “Blister in the Sun,” “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Kiss Off,” reunited last year, and its recent set lists have been to die for.