EDM’s meteoric rise to the forefront of North American entertainment means that there are more festivals than ever before, and that the ticket prices to these festivals have risen. This has made festival planning for attendees a much more daunting task than previous years, but fear not, the GloFX team has put together a list of what we consider the most desirable EDM Festivals of 2016.
Photo credit to Rukes.com. Ultra 2017 must be on your list of top events not to miss!
We created a ranking system by breaking down each festival into five categories; lineup, venue, past success, atmosphere, and price. When considering each of these five categories we rate them on a 1-10 scale, and then combine the numbers to reach a total score.
The maximum score that a festival can reach is 50. If a festival has a score of 50 then you can be assured that this is the most badass festival in the universe.
- When ranking the lineup we considered a number of things; diversity, name recognition, and how many hot new artists the fest has.
- When scoring the venue we took into consideration the amenities that each festival offers, such as convenient bathroom locations and shuttling options.
- Reputation was determined by each of the festival’s previous years’ strengths and pitfalls.
- Atmosphere was determined primarily by the the crowd attendants, as some festivals are notorious for having rowdy crowds and others are known for being laid back.
- The price category was determined by assessing the overall value of the fest by weighing the ticket cost against each of the previous scores.
We started with #10, and lead up to the #1 most anticipated EDM Festival of 2016!
#10 Mad Decent Block Party – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
July 31st, 2016
Lineup: Previous years’ lineups have included label boss himself Diplo, wannabe comedian Dillon Francis, and “Hoodie Boyz” Flosstradamus. You can expect a lot of artists that exemplify Mad Decent’s signature brand of hybrid Trap/Dubstep at this fest.
Venue: You can expect a lot of security at this festival. If you are over the age of 24 then this fest might be a little too youthful for you. MDBP isn’t the largest in the size, but the sheer intensity of the crowd makes it seem ten times larger than it actually is, and if you are in the age demographic you owe it to yourself to go to this one AT LEAST once. While we have the event in Ft. Lauderdale listed, be on the look out for other dates across North America.
Reputation: This festival has always had a great reputation for being energetic, but in recent years it has been plagued by injuries and alleged drug overdoses. Security has gradually tightened over the years, and for good reason.
Atmosphere: Wanna be the apex of a Twerk Pyramid? Then look no further, because the Mad Decent Block Party is for you my friend. This one day balls-to-wall festival is definitely not for the faint of heart. It is packed full of Mad Decent’s custom brand of hip-hop infused EDM that youth culture is obsessed with. If you are part of the demographic of 16-24 years olds that probably should have been prescribed more Ritalin when they were younger, then you should definitely hit this one up. This event is pretty much the most intense one-day music festival in all of North America, and while that is what makes it appealing for some, it definitely isn’t for everyone. Expect a lot of rave gear at this mini-festival.
Price: If you are into the ultra-hyped brand that is Mad Decent then this festival is one of the best bangs for your buck.
— MDBP (@MDBlockParty) September 28, 2015
#9 Hard Summer – Southern California
July 30th-31st, 2016
Lineup: While the lineup and even location have not been officially announced for HARD Summer this year, its past success is a definite indicator of how sick it will be this year, and our guess is that the fest will be in the LA area. Last years’ headliners included Dillon Francis, Zeds Dead, and even a guest appearance from Justin Bieber during Jack U’s set.
Venue: Hard takes place on the Auto Club Speedway this year, giving the festival a truly unique location.
Reputation: The promotion company HARD has become a bit of a household name in EDM over the past decade. Their portfolio of events ranges everywhere from cruise lines to epic Halloween parties. These events have been a huge success dating back to as early as 2007.
Price: HARD’s ticket prices are one of the most attractive things about the fest, with general admission clocking in at $149 last year. Given the production values and the excellent lineup, HARD is one of the best values as far as summer festivals are concerned. While it is safe to say that the ticket prices will rise a little bit this year there is no reason not to expect this festival to be a good value.
Atmosphere: HARD Summer isn’t purely an EDM festival; PB&RnB godfather The Weeknd, funk masters Chromeo, and slide-guitar aficionados RATATAT graced stage in the past, giving this festival more than just one dimension. Expect a rave atmosphere with a side-serving of Rock, R&B and Hip-Hop.
— sonya (@simplysonyaa) <February 2, 2016
#8 Spring Awakening – Chicago, IL
June 10th-12th, 2016
Lineup: An official lineup has yet to be announced, but we expect this one to be an all out EDM overload. Last year’s headliners were Afrojack, Diplo, Zedd, Hardwell, and Eric Prydz.
Venue: Spring Awakening takes place in Jackson Park, which is over 500 acres on the South-side of the city. This park has a lot of history associated with it; it was the venue for the 1893 World Fair, is the potential site for the Barack Obama Library, and was named after late President Andrew Jackson.
Reputation: 2016 will mark the 5th year anniversary of this festival which is nothing to scoff at. Most festivals don’t even make it to a second year. Expect the organizers to go all out this year to celebrate their milestone.
Atmosphere: Euphoria has been a blast in previous years and it is sure to be a hit once again with unique stages, cutting edge visuals, and a killer lineup. This festival is PURELY banger EDM so if you are looking for anything remotely relaxed this is not the festival for you. Expect gnarly drops throughout the course of this fest.
Price: Spring Awakening is pretty fairly priced and we recommend going with the VIP package which starts at $299. In the past years, this VIP package has included express entrance, preferred viewing areas, private bars, VIP restrooms, increased shaded areas, and dedicated support staff.
— No Heady No Life (@itsamandalyu) March 23, 2016
#7 Something Wonderful – Dallas, TX
Apr. 23rd, 2016
Lineup: The lineup for Something Wonderful is ABSOLUTELY Wonderful. Trance tycoon Tiesto was the main headliner for the fest and his support was absolutely massive; Dada Life, Borgore, Markus Schulz, Keys and Krates and Milo and Otis just to name a few. Milo and Otis really stand out on this list because they don’t tour nearly as much as some of the other names on this lineup but their music is very well-known, having done collaborations with both Skrillex and Bro Safari as well as having their music in a Super Bowl commercial.
Venue: Something Wonderful took place on the iconic Texas Motor Speedway this year, giving this festival a truly unique location.
Reputation: This festival’s debut event in 2015 went off without a hitch and 2016 was an even more wonderful event.
Atmosphere: This is the festival’s sophomore appearance and it is definitely tailored towards the youthful hardcore EDM fan. The lineup is strictly EDM so don’t expect to find any Hip-Hop or R&B acts at future Something Wonderfuls.
Price: This is one of the only festivals that you are going to be able to find with a price tag under 100 dollars, making it one of the best values.
Official Something Wonderful Trailer!
Promo Code: “DallasEDMFamily” pic.twitter.com/p2OTdBFLjw
— Dallas EDM Family (@DallasEDMFamily) March 22, 2016
#6 Sunset Music Festival – Tampa, FL
May 28th-29th, 2016
Lineup: Sunset Music Fest is one of the younger EDM festivals on the circuit, having only been around for a few years. Even though Sunset is fairly young when compared to some of the other festivals this summer it has always had a really strong lineup and this year is no different. Artists this year include Hardwell, Jack U, Galantis, The Chainsmokers, 3lau, Borgore, Bro Safari and more.
Venue: If you are a fan of the gridiron then Sunset’s venue will be familiar to you. Sunset takes place in Raymond James Park, and when they aren’t throwing giant festival raves here it can be found as the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If it’s big enough for an NFL team then it’s definitely big enough for a festival.
Reputation: Sunset has always been a blast and while it has always had large headliners like Alesso and Nicky Romero, it has also built its success off of a lot of the excellent DJs seminal to Florida. The past success of Sunset Music Festival is indicative that this fest could eventually be as large as something like Ultra.
Atmosphere: Energy, Energy, Energy! If there is one thing that is clear about this festival it is that the crowd has come to rage and have fun. Pyros and confetti are constantly being blasted at this fest, and by the end of this marathon weekend you are going to need some much needed rest.
Price: Ticket prices have yet to be announced but Disco Donnie Presents events are generally fairly priced, so it’s safe to assume that you aren’t going to have to break the piggy bank to attend this one.
— Sunset Music Fest (@SMFTampa) March 11, 2016
#5 Bonnaroo – Manchester, TN
June 9th-12th, 2016
Lineup: Bonnaroo is likely the most well-known music festival in the United States, and for good reason. This festival brings one of the most diverse lineups to the fields of Tennessee every year. This isn’t a purely EDM festival, so Bonnaroo is a good chance for EDM junkies to branch out and learn about new things. This year’s lineup includes; RL Grime, LCD Soundsystem, The Chainsmokers, Zeds Dead, Pearl Jam, Death Cab For Cutie, and more.
Venue: Bonnaroo takes place on a massive farm in Manchester, TN and there are tons of amenities provided for the festival goers. Multiple camping options are available all the way up to rental-able RVs. On-site catering is also available. The Bonnaroo experience can truly be tailored to any type of person.
Reputation: There is a reason why Bonnaroo has been around longer than most festivals; it has been consistently reliable and this has helped it stand the test of time. Bonnaroo is easily one of the most successful festival franchises ever.
Atmosphere: The Atmosphere of Bonnaroo can be summed up by the “Bonnaroovian Code” (yes, this is a real thing). The fifth rule of The Code is literally “don’t be that guy/girl”. The whole idea behind Bonnaroo is that people can be responsible and friendly and still have a good time. Basically, if you are a jerk you probably aren’t going to vibe well with this fest.
Price: All the fun to be had at this fest definitely comes at a price. Remember those amenities we mentioned earlier, well they are super expensive. If you want to rent an RV then Bonnaroo’s price packages can go all the way up to $5,000. There are even tour bus packages that don’t have the price listed, so I can’t even imagine what that cost. General admission is going to set you back almost 400 bucks. This festival isn’t cheap.
— Bonnaroo2016 (@Bonnaroo2016) March 24, 2016
#4 Coachella – Coachella Valley, CA
Apr. 15th-17th & Apr. 22-24, 2016
Lineup: The lineup at Coachella was no joke this year. It was extremely well-rounded, including everything from EDM acts to Gun N’ Roses (to be honest, I had no clue those guys even toured anymore). Headliners included Major Lazer, Flume, Jack U, Zedd, Mr. Carmack, RL Grime, and Dubfire.
Venue: The organizers really know how to take care of people at Coachella. The onsite camping offers free showers, cell phone charging stations, WiFi, water refill stations, portable toilets and even a farmer’s market. Shuttles run to the valley from nearby hotels throughout the day, so transportation isn’t an issue.
Reputation: Coachella is basically the west-coast version of Bonnaroo when it comes to its past success. Once people go to this festival they are hooked and want to return the next year. Do we even need to mention that this is the festival that hosted the legendary hologram appearance of Tupac a few years back?
Atmosphere: The atmosphere at Coachella can be summed up with one word… friendly. People go to Coachella to meet new people, make new friends and have a great time. Once again, this festival is similar to Bonnaroo in the manner that is it for people who know how to take it easy but still like to party. If you like to couple your all-night raging with chilling during the day time then camping at Coachella is probably something that you would enjoy.
Price: Coachella can get pricey. With general admission starting at 400 dollars and VIP packages going all the way up to 5 grand, we once again can’t help but compare this festival to Bonnaroo. If you aren’t strapped for cash then this fest shouldn’t be a problem for you, but if you are a college student that lives off of ramen noodles then you might want to consider one of the other festivals on our list.
— johnny cranston (@jCran_) April 16, 2016
#3 Paradiso – George, WA
June 24th – 25th, 2016
Lineup: While the lineup has yet to be announced, there has been no shortage of EDM superstars in the previous years. Previous year’s lineups have included Kaskade, Avicii, Above and Beyond and more.
Venue: Paradiso’s slogan is “Digital Meets Nature”, which captures the essence of this music festival’s venue perfectly. This all night dance fest engrosses you with lights, lasers, and EDM. Plus it takes place in a serene gorge in the beautiful state of Washington.
Reputation: Paradiso has garnered a reputation for being an absolutely epic festival. The past success of this festival is one of the main reasons this festival ranks so high on our list.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere at Paradiso is perfect! It takes place in a beautiful gorge in one of the most beautiful states in the country, and the attendants are known for being SUPER friendly. If you can only go to one or two festivals this year and you really enjoy the outdoors, then you should really consider Paradiso.
Price: All things considered, this fest is one of the best bangs for your buck. Starting at $199 for general admission, very few festivals can beat the value that Paradiso provides.
IM SO READY FOR PARADISO AND TO SEE MARTIN GARRIX AGAIN ????? pic.twitter.com/WvUzaESbwr
— Rüdy (@illmmaculate) March 23, 2016
#2 Electric Zoo – New York, NY
Sept. 3rd-5th, 2016
Lineup: Electric Zoo’s lineup incorporates both a mix of legendary DJs like The Chemical Brothers and Frankie Knuckles, as well new school masterminds like Kaskade and Steve Aoki. This varied lineup makes Electric Zoo a suitable choice for dance music fans of all ages, which is a factor that can be lacking from many festivals these days since a lot of them focus only on the younger crowd, like the aforementioned Mad Decent Block Party.
Venue: Each year since 2009, dance music has taken over a small municipal island in NYC, in the form of the music festival Electric Zoo. This truly unique location squeezed right between Manhattan, The Bronx and Queens is over nine miles long and offers festival attendees the opportunity to visit America’s most iconic city over Labor Day Weekend.
Reputation: This festival boasts five stages, including a hidden treehouse area. Over the seven years that this festival has been around it has steadily continued to grow in production value. While the lineup has yet to be announced for 2016, there is no doubt that this year’s Zoo will be just as successful as the previous ones before it.
Atmosphere: Electric Zoo is an extremely intense, balls to the wall festival. Expect the full treatment of pyrotechnics, lasers, and LEDs at this EDM fest.
Price: A weekend pass is only $229. This is fairly priced given the amount of festival competition there is this year and Electric Zoo’s reputation for having excellent lineups in the past.
— Fan de David & Cathy (@MaguyBoivin) March 24, 2016
#1 EDC LV – Las Vegas, NV
June 17th-19th, 2016
Lineup: This lineup is FREAKING INSANE. Pretty much every major EDM artist in the world performs at EDC Vegas. Above & Beyond, AC Slater, 4B, Chuckie, Justin Martin, Armin Van Burren and more performed last year at EDC. You can expect this year to be bigger and better.
Venue: Located on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway this fest has a truly unique locale. EDC also has an art area featuring fire-breathing metal creatures, three-dimensional wooden superstructures, and a convenient carnival square, packing all the amenities that you would expect from a festival this size. Besides that, the festival is in VEGAS. If you have never been to Las Vegas before then EDC is a good excuse to go. Not that you needed an excuse. Seriously, go pack your bags. Now.
Past Success: EDC Las Vegas has become practically as much as an institution as EDM itself. EDC has eight stages this year in addition to it’s breadth of carnival rides so there will definitely won’t be a lack of entertainment at this power-house three-day festival. This festival just keeps on getting bigger and badder every year.
Atmosphere: Two words can describe the atmosphere at EDC. EFFING BANANAS.
Price: Given the fact that you are getting the best lineup of the year, with the best venue in the country for a festival, combined with the fact that there has never been a bad EDC, and that ticket starts at $355, you really can’t beat this price point. Sure $355 is more expensive than a lot of festivals on this list, but the other festivals on this list just don’t come quite nearly as close to festival nirvana as EDC does. Get your ticket now before prices go up!
One of my favorite sets from last year! https://t.co/jrsmrrOHiq
— DJ Tweak (@Tweak88) March 24, 2016
Did we miss a festival that you think should be on our list? Do you think that our order should have been different? Let us know in the comments section below.