As we gear up for the 2018 music festival season, we take a look at our ten favorite camping music festivals across the country. We’ve highlighted festivals featuring different genres of music including jam-band, funk, electronic, bluegrass, and more.
This isn’t another typical mainstream festival guide; it’s festival insight deeply rooted in our love for culture, and the arts. If you’re looking for a festival to camp, unwind, and enjoy music in the outdoors, look no further for the country’s best camping music festivals.
Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival
When: June 28-30, 2018
Where: Rancho Del Rio, CO
Notable Artists: The Magic Beans, Aqueous, and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Ghost Light
Beanstalk Music & Mountains Festival kicks off nestled along the Colorado River in the Rancho Del Rio valley. The Colorado band, The Magic Beans, have been putting on the festival for a few years now, which is why it's quickly become one of the most intimate and gorgeous music festivals in the country.
Beanstalk is known to gather a lineup of talented bands and musicians generally more obscure than artists you’ll see at more mainstream festivals. These musicians are guaranteed to blow your mind, and leave you coming back for more.
In addition to great music, the Beanstalk location allows patrons to explore an abundance of outdoor activities in the area: hiking, hot springs, fly-fishing, rafting, ATV-ing, cliff-jumping, and trails for mountain biking.
Rancho Del Rio is an outdoor adventurer’s dream, making Beanstalk the first entry we've added to this year's bucket list.
High Sierra Music Festival
When: July 5-8, 2018 (Fourth of July Weekend)
Where: Quincy, CA
Notable Artists: The String Cheese Incident, Sturgill Simpson, Grace Potter, Lettuce, and Chris Robinson Brotherhood
High Sierra Music Festival began in a place called Leland Meadows, CA back in 1991. It has since moved to the beautiful, mountainous town of Quincy, CA. This music festival is deeply rooted in JamBand, Newgrass, and Funk, but it also represents Bluegrass, Jazz, Reggae, and Afrobeat.
High Sierra is one of the grooviest festivals to ever exist, and it's been going strong for over 30 years. Consistently one of the more diverse music festivals out there, High Sierra features both mainstay artists in the music scene, and musicians on the rise.
Along with four days of great music and art, the High Sierra festival provides ample outdoor recreation opportunities. Located in the heart of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains, there are many fresh water lakes and streams that surround the area.
Activities inside the festival include yoga, parades, fire performances, a local pool—even a food drive. High Sierra is always a highly anticipated music festival, and a perfect getaway for a Fourth of July weekend.
Summer Camp Music Festival
When: May 25-27, 2018 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Where: Chillicothe, IL (Three Sisters Park)
Notable Artists: Moe, Umphrey’s McGee, Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Diplo, Cypress Hill, RL Grime
Summer Camp Music Festival is one of the country's biggest. Located three hours southwest of Chicago, this festival takes place in the in Three Sisters Park between the Illinois River and Goose Lake.
Summer Camp features a variety of different music styles, including Bluegrass, Southern Rock, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, RAP, Jam-band, and EDM. Victor Wooten, one of the best bassists of all time, will be making an appearance along with inspired percussion from Dennis Chambers and famed saxophonist, Bob Franceschini, to complete the trio.
You can also catch the prodigious Brandon “Taz” Niederauer, a 14-year-old guitarist whose prowess on the strings is reminiscent of the great Jimi Hendrix.
Summer Camp is nothing short of a "Valley Rager" that caters to music-lovers from all different walks of life. Attend Summer Camp this year for one of the best weekends of your life.
When: Weekend 1: June 21-24, 2018 / Weekend 2: June 28 - July 1, 2018
Where: Rothbury, MI
Notable Artists: The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, GRiZ Live Band, Bonobo (Live), Rufus Du Sol, Marshmello
Electric Forest lives up to its name as the summer festival for electronic music in the lush region outside Huron-Manistee National Forest. Trees, lasers, and music, combine for an awesome music spectacle.
Rothbury is only a few short miles from Lake Michigan, if you get the urge.
Electric Forest is a midwesterners delight, but people from all over come every year to witness progressive sounds of Funk, Trap, Trance, Dub-Step, and those “wompy” genres, too.
One of the coolest things about this electrified forest music festival is this: Electric Forest is also one of the largest series of curated musical events in the country. This venue features collectives of talented players who complement the main events making it one of the most anticipated festival series of the year.
The series includes Mr. Carmack presents Forward Thinkers, mau5trap, BASSRUSH, and Rufus Du Sol & Friends.
Simply put, Electric Forest is two weekends of eye-popping lights, luscious foliage, lakes, and
star-filled sound celebration you just can’t miss.
Lightning in a Bottle
When: May 23-28, 2018 (Memorial Day Weekend)
Where: Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
Notable Artists: Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Zhu, GRiZ, The Glitch Mob, Tokimonsta
Lightning in a Bottle is much more than a music festival. In our humble opinion, it’s more of a spiritual journey. Lightning in a Bottle includes talks & discussions from world class thought leaders, and workshops for skill-based trades. There's also medicine making, and health & healing classes from notable practitioners and bodyworkers, and cultural offerings such as ancient practices and dance.
This is a truly family friendly festival, and people of all ages welcome the experience. Located on Lake San Antonio, LIB allows its patrons to cool off from the desert heat, and explore the beautiful surrounding area.
Some of the artists featured include the incredible world-sound band, Beats Antique, funk from Con Brio, and the rap-funk god Anderson .Paak with his band. Like Beanstalk, LIB is known for gathering a group of musicians from the more underground scenes, which make for an incredible discovery of music, spirituality, and self.
Joshua Tree Music Festival
When: May 17-20, 2018
Where: Joshua Tree National Park (at the gateway)
Notable Artists: Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles, Con Brio, Dirtwire, Shook Twins
Joshua Tree Music Festival combines the elements of nature, wellness, sounds, and visuals. It’s the quintessential family festival located at the footsteps of a world-renowned national park, and it exudes everything it means to be in existence.
This festival is associated with a free-spirited vibe and a welcoming culture. One can enjoy yoga classes, spiritual dances, visual & performing arts, and more. What separates this festival from others is things like “The Healing Oasis,” which features thai yoga massage therapist, Adam Medrick, body workers like Drew Elliot, and mythological medicine storytellers like Catherine Svehla, Phd.
They even have artisans, handcrafters, and brewmasters selling goods in what they call “The World Market.” Joshua Tree is already a magical place itself, and this festival is a celebration of that magic and spirit of the park.
Northwest String Summit
When: July 19-22, 2018
Where: North Plains, OR
Notable Artists: Railroad Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters
Northwest String Summit is a festival featuring the masters of bluegrass--it’s top-tier. Located in one of the greenest and most lively states in the country, this festival is for the true lovers of mountain music.
North Plains sits about 70 miles off the coast of the gorgeous coast in a heavily wooded area. The stages are authentic and blend in with the pine filled backdrop, and it’s close to many creeks and rivers for all the fly fishing bluegrass lovers.
Strummit, as the patrons call it, is the ultimate bluegrass festival with artists like Railroad Earth who cover the Dead, Neil Young, and even The Brothers Johnson, in addition to playing their extensive original discography. You can even find up and coming bluegrass bands as Strummit features the winner from their very own band competition. Notable past winners are The Lil Smokies, Head For The Hills, and the Talbott Brothers.
Don’t hesitate, get your fix of Oregon and bluegrass up at the Northwest String Summit this summer.
The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival
When: August 2-4, 2018
Where: Legend Valley, Thornville, OH
Notable Artists: The Werks, Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Papadosio, Knower
The Werk Out Music & Arts Festival is the annual festival of Dayton-natives, The Werks. And yes, Ohio is certainly gorgeous in its own right. The Werks have been putting on the festival for nine years, and it features a lineup of pretty progressive jam-bands around the scene.
Legend Valley is not far from the famed, Buckeye Lake, and if you got a boat, it’s not a bad place for water sports. The festival focuses largely on jamtronica and funk, but it’s also got a touch of bluegrass with the likes of the Rumpke Mountain Boys.
We all know it’s Ohio against the world, but if you’re in the area stop by for a mind-blowing weekend of phenomenal music and art.
When: Aug 23-26, 2018
Where: Arrington, VA
Notable Artists: Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, George Clinton & P-Funk, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Dead & Co, Lettuce celebrates Jerry Garcia Band, Spafford
Lockn’ is deep in the heart of Virginia, and if you like Dead music, this is the festival for you. Dead & Co is playing four sets in two nights, JRAD is playing a midnight set, Lettuce is covering JGB, and Keller Williams is with his Grateful Gospel.
This year, Lockn’ is an all out Dead party, and that’s music to our ears.
You can also catch the funk powerhouse, Turkuaz, and the most excellent Lukas Nelson & The Promise of The Real amongst many others. Lockn’ is truly all about the music, and if you have time you can even visit George Washington and Jefferson National Forest.
When: August 26-September 3, 2018
Where: Black Rock City, NV
Located about 100 miles north of Reno, Burning Man is like no other. This community is truly in another dimension, and it’s something that everyone on the planet should at least experience once.
Once a year, thousands of people congregate to form Black Rock City located in the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada. It’s a city of over 60,000 people, and everything you witness and experience is created by its citizens.
Burning Man is an active festival, a once in a lifetime experience, and something that will probably carry over to Mars when civilization moves there in the year 5000. They will always burn the man.
Honorable Mention | Phish: Curveball
When: August 17-19
Where: Watkins Glen, NY
The only artist: Phish
Phish has been putting on festivals since the 90’s, but they don’t happen often. Curveball is the band’s eleventh festival that features special sets and a variety of art.
Located in the fingerlakes region of upstate NY, it hosts some of the regions best waterfalls and scenery. While Phish is the reason for the congregation, the community makes up the overall experience.
As always, Phish will be full of surprises at the festival, but one thing you can count on is Fish in his summer dress (mu mu).
Whatever you do take care of your shoes!
Tell Us Your Stories
What are your favorite music festivals? Send us your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with "2018 Festivals" in the subject line for a chance to be featured on our social channels.