The Ultimate Guide to 2022 Music Festivals

Music festivals are back, baby, and we're rounding up everything you need to know.

lollapalooza crowd 2021
Lollapalooza 2021 | Scott Legato/Getty Images
Lollapalooza 2021 | Scott Legato/Getty Images

The return of live music in 2021 was rocky, particularly surrounding the confusion over whether large-scale music festivals that draw huge crowds were safe enough to attend. But considering how much the music industry was put out of work by the COVID-19 pandemic—and how much music fans missed the experience of going to see shows—there was also plenty of eagerness for them to come back. Finally in late July 2021, Chicago's Lollapalooza went ahead with vaccinations and negative test requirements in place, proving that outdoor music events could resume with the right precautions, and officially marked the return of festival season with dozens of other fests returning in the following months.

In 2022, festival season intends to go on as it normally does, returning to its late-spring/summer block, rather than the September and October dates that many events rescheduled to last year. While many lineups can start to look similar, music festivals remain a tradition for devoted fans and one of the best ways to see a jam-packed day full of exciting up-and-coming and legacy acts. Below, we're rounding up all of the essential music festivals in 2022—with information on their dates, lineups, and potential entry requirements—so you know what to look out for this season. We'll also keep this story updated as more information and different events get announced.

pitchfork music festival
Pitchfork 2019 | Michael Hickey/Getty Images

When: Thursday, June 23–Saturday, June 25; Thursday, June 30–Saturday, July 2; and Thursday, July 7–Saturday, July 9
Where: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
What to know: Running for three weekends and bringing hundreds of performers to the great Midwestern state of Wisconsin to play at 12 stages, Summerfest proudly calls itself the World's Largest Music Festival. Because of how the event operates, you're able to buy individual tickets to the main concerts at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater (which also include admission to the rest of the festival on that given day), as well as multi-day or single-day passes that exclude amphitheater performances. As for artists you can expect to catch, it ranges from country and rock legacy acts to pop and indie rock upstarts.
American Family Insurance Amphitheater shows: Abby Roberts, Avril Lavigne, Backstreet BoysCheap TrickGabby Barrett, Halsey, Harry Hudson, iaan diorJaden, Jason Aldean, John MorganJustin Bieber, Lil Wayne, Machine Gun KellyThe MaríasRod Stewart, ¿Téo?, Thomas Rhett, Wiz Khalifa, Wu-Tang Clan
Other acts to check out: The BreedersCharli XCX, Death Cab for Cutie, and WILLOW

When: Friday, July 15-Sunday, July 17
Where: Chicago, Illinois
What to know: So you want to go to one of the coolest festivals that's really, truly all about the music? Pitchfork is always the place to be. As many major music fans know, it's the festival iteration of the music publication Pitchfork. Curated by the site's staff, it's known for consistently pulling together one of the most eclectic lineups. This year, the festival's intention is to celebrate the "rising indie class" with a bill full of names who have recently become major innovators in their respective genres. Pitchfork intends to adhere to Chicago's guidance on gatherings for COVID-19 and will update attendees closer to the event with any specific protocols that may be in place.
Headliners: Mitski, The National, and The Roots
Other acts to check out: Camp Cope, cupcakKe, Ethel Cain, Iceage, and SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE

When: Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 24
Where: Newport, Rhode Island
What to know: Rhode Island's beloved, historic festival is coming back for another weekend of incredible music and immaculate vibes in Newport's Fort Adams State Park in the city's harbor. Going on for 60+ years, it continues to invite artists keeping the folk tradition alive in one way or another—be that in their Americana sound or lyricism. And to maintain folk's social-justice spirit, the fest has also been especially active in recent years, launching a donation program in 2019 to contribute to a charity of each artist's choice. You can expect the lineup to trickle out over the next couple of weeks, as it never announces every single act at once. As for COVID-19, Newport Folk Festival will be looking to the state and city guidance closer to the July weekend.
Acts to check out: beabadoobee, Clairo, The Linda Lindas, Lucy Dacus, The National, and Valerie June

When: Friday, July 22-Sunday, July 24
Where: Miami, Florida
What to know: For rap fans, few festivals are as much of a hip-hop wonderland as Rolling Loud. The international rap-exclusive event goes down different weekends across the globe, with US iterations currently in Miami and NYC. For Floridian fans and others traveling for the Miami weekend, the lineup is stacked with rap legends and will be one of the first shows where Kendrick Lamar performs his newest record live. Last year's Rolling Loud Miami featured a handful of controversies, including DaBaby making homophobic comments onstage and Tory Lanez violating Megan Thee Stallion's protective order against him, so here's to hoping this year's fest goes a bit more safely and smoothly.
Headliners: Future, Kendrick Lamar, and Ye
Other acts to check out: City GirlsDanny Brown, Flo Milli, and Saweetie

lollapalooza crowd 2021
Lollapalooza 2021 | Erika Goldring/WireImage

When: Friday, July 28–Sunday, July 31
Where: Chicago, Illinois
What to know: While it was unclear whether Lollapalooza was going to happen in 2021, the seminal Chicago event did returned to its traditional late-July weekend. There was some hesitancy about its return, but as it ended up being a success with its entry requirements and outdoor facilities, Lolla largely laid the groundwork for other events to follow last summer and fall. It will be back as one of the Windy City's biggest bashes yet again this year, with a truly massive lineup featuring headliners from just about every genre and even rock legacy acts. The rest of the bill is stacked, too, with exciting names all across music. Although there were entry requirements in 2021, none have been announced quite yet; the event notes that they may be disclosed closer to the weekend. 
Headliners: Dua Lipa, Green Day, J. Cole, J-Hope (from BTS), Kygo, Lil Baby, Machine Gun Kelly, and Metallica
Other acts to check out: Caroline Polachek, Hinds, Meet Me @ the AlterMUNA, and TOMORROW X TOGETHER

When: Saturday, July 30–Sunday, July 31
Where: Detroit, Michigan
What to know: The Detroit festival Mo Pop had to hold off in 2020 and 2021, but this year it's back and amping things up. While it used to be held next to the riverfront, now it's moving into Downtown Detroit to take place in the middle of Hart Plaza. Although it's presented by major concert promoter AEG, Mo Pop tries to take on a more "boutique" vibe, being a bit smaller in scale and focusing on curating a unique experience with a lineup that's largely made up of up-and-comers and featuring events like a craft market and arcade. At this time, the event stresses ticket holders know they may have to adhere to COVID-19 precautions.
Headliners: Big Sean and Glass Animals
Other acts to check out: Beach Bunny, Horsegirl, and Wet Leg

When: Thursday, August 4-Sunday, August 7
Where: Happy Valley, Oregon
What to know: Pickathon is a festival held just outside of Portland, Oregon that prides itself on being a discovery-based fest, with a lineup made up of primarily rising acts who are worth becoming a fan of. Unlike most fests that prioritize discovery and are held at multiple venues, this Pacific Northwest event couldn't be in a more gorgeous setting, taking place in basically the middle of the wilderness at Pendarvis Farm where stages are set up in meadows and in the woods. The 2022 event is said to feature even more forested stages. Nothing specific has been announced yet in terms of COVID-19 requirements, but the fest is all outdoors and plans to go above and beyond the city's guidelines for outdoor gatherings.
Headliners: GZA, Valerie June, and Wet Leg
Acts to check out: Deeper, Faye Webster, Lomelda, and Sampha the Great

outside lands atmosphere
Outside Lands 2021 | Steve Jennings/WireImage/Getty Images

When: Friday, August 5–Sunday, August 7
Where: San Francisco, California
What to know: Get ready to brace the San Francisco fog yet again. After being held in October last year, the Bay Area event is moving back to its usual August weekend, when attendees are known to experience the summertime fog on the festival grounds in Golden Gate Park. Regardless, the green setting from the center of the park couldn't be more gorgeous, and the festival always manages to curate one of the most eclectic lineups in the festival circuit. This year, you can look forward to SZA in a well-deserved headlining slot (which hopefully means new music from her!), but you'll still have to wait to look out for updates on the fest's COVID-19 plan.
Headliners: Green Day, Post Malone, and SZA
Other acts to check out: Anitta, The Beths, glaive, and Rostam

When: Friday, August 12–Sunday, August 14
Where: Seattle, Washington
What to know: Day In Day Out is a new festival that intends to bring attention to contemporary musicians coming out of the iconic Seattle scene and offer them stage time with major indie acts. Against all odds, the event actually launched in 2021 (even when other festivals sat the year out), but this year could be even more successful and continue to make Day In Day Out one of the Emerald City's main live events. A group of all-indie headliners are headed to the Fisher Green Pavilion at the Seattle Center, and the bill elevates buzzworthy acts across pop, rock, and rap (who perhaps have mid-day performances on mainstream fest bills). Plus, Seattle locals will be excited to know the event features a lineup of DJ sets from hometown bands. In terms of COVID-19 prevention, Day In Day Out has already announced that proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required for entry.
Headliners: Mac DeMarco, Mitski, and The National
Other acts to check out: Cherry Glazerr, Naked Giants, and Turnstile

When: Saturday, September 3-Sunday, September 4
Where: Philadelphia, PA
What to know: If you want to have the best possible Labor Day weekend, head to Made in America Festival. Founded by none other than JAY-Z and with a lineup curated by the rapper/music industry mogul to this day, the event highlights some of the brightest upstarts across hip-hop and rap, with some R&B and pop mixed in for good measure. Currently, Made in America states that it plans to work with local health officials to potentially announce entry requirements at a later date.
Headliners: Bad Bunny and Tyler, the Creator
Other acts to check out: Lil Uzi Vert, Pusha T, Snoh Aalegra, and Toro y Moi

afropunk festival fashion
AFROPUNK BROOKLYN 2019 | Jason Mendez/Getty Images

When: Saturday, September 10-Sunday, September 11
Where: Brooklyn, NY
What to know: After three long years, AFROPUNK BROOKLYN is finally coming back. It couldn't be a more welcomed return of the fest, since it's one of the most stand-out events in its aim to celebrate alternative Black music and art. This year's event brings a handful of hip-hop, rap, and alt favorites to Commodore Barry Park in Fort Green, and it should be a great time, considering how much the event has been missed. It tends to be one of the best festivals for thrilling festival fashion, so start planning your outfit now. (TBD, though, on any potential entry requirements.)
Headliners: Burna Boy and The Roots
Other acts to check out: Bartees Strange, BbyMutha, Earl Sweatshirt, and Tierra Whack

When: Friday, September 16–Sunday, September 18
Where: Los Angeles, California
What to know: Many music fans who follow the festival circuit will tell you that Primavera Sound often has the best lineup of the bunch. The original iteration is actually a Spanish event, held in Barcelona, but it always curates an eclectic mix of rising, trending artists across all genres, and has long been committed to ensuring gender equality in its booking. The event has been trying to launch its first-ever stateside rendition since 2020, and 2022 is finally going to be the year—as expected, it looks like it's going to be cool as hell.
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, and Nine Inch Nails
Other acts to check out: Arca, Faye Webster, PinkPantheress, and Shygirl

life is beautiful festival 2021
Life is Beautiful 2021 | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival

When: Friday, September 16–Sunday, September 18
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
What to know: There may be a lot of new festivals heading to Sin City this year, but Life is Beautiful has become a mainstay in its short life, having launched in 2013. As always, it's bringing a massive lineup featuring a well-rounded group of headliners that are of both the indie and mainstream pop variety. In addition to dozens of music performances that span across seven stages, the festival also offers a lineup of stand-up and drag performances. As of now, the event plans on releasing potential entry requirements closer to the date.
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys, Beach House, Cage the Element, Calvin Harris, Gorillaz, Jack Harlow, Kygo, Lorde, and Migos
Other acts to check out: Amaarae, Charli XCX, JPEGMAFIA, and midwst

When: Friday, September 16–Sunday, September 18
Where: Chicago, Illinois
What to know: Calling all punks, metal heads, and lifelong emo kids—Riot Fest is the festival for you. Although it's smaller than Chicago's Lollapalooza, it's one of the city's other festival staples, and always an exciting time for a rock fan. My Chemical Romance was supposed to headline back in 2020 and wasn't able to make it in 2021, but now Gerard Way and his boys will finally be gracing the main stage. More information about the full lineup should come soon, and the organizers urge anyone buying a ticket to know they agree to any COVID-19 entry policies that may be announced closer to the festival weekend.
Headliners: My Chemical Romance, Misfits, and Nine Inch Nails
Other acts to check out: Mannequin Pussy, Mom Jeans., and Pale Waves

When: Saturday, September 17-Sunday, September 18
Where: Atlanta, Georgia
What to know: Major music city Atlanta keeps the festivals going from the start of spring to the end of summer. Music Midtown, held in the city's Piedmont Park, features just about every genre of music—and this year managed to book so many buzz bands and popular acts, from indie wunderkind Phoebe Bridgers to hard-core breakthrough band Turnstile. It also features an interesting slate of headliners, from Atlanta's own Future to several pop-punk nostalgia acts. So basically, any music fan is guaranteed a good time at this year's event.
Headliners: Fall Out Boy, Future, Jack White, and My Chemical Romance
Other acts to check out: Conan Gray, Denzel Curry, Hippo Campus, Mitski, Phoenix, and Tinashe

When: Saturday, September 17-Sunday, September 18
Where: Asbury Park, NJ
What to know: Calling all beach people of the tristate area: Sea.Hear.Now. might just be the festival for you. Now in its fourth year, the fest calls rock and folk artists to the Asbury Park Waterfront along the Jersey Shore for two days of music, sun, and even surf. In addition to live performances, there's surf competitions all day and sessions from legendary surfers. Right now there's no word on any specific entry requirements, but the fest states that they may come at a later date. For now, just plan on remembering your sandals and sunscreen.
Headliners: Green Day and Stevie Nicks
Other acts to check out: Aly & AJ, Courtney Barnett, and Peach Pit

When: Thursday, September 22–Sunday, September 25
Where: Dover, Delaware
What to know: Firefly is the East Coast's resident major festival with camping accommodations, so you can have that full, euphoric, somewhat grimy but nonetheless incredible experience. The festival curates its lineup with just about every kind of music fan in mind, with emerging names in rock, pop, and rap across the bill, and a slate of headliners that brings in a handful of big Top 40 names and some nostalgia acts. As for COVID-19 considerations, Firefly plans on monitoring the situation and make a decision on any regulations closer to the date.
Headliners: Dua Lipa, Green Day, Halsey, and My Chemical Romance
Other acts to check out: CHAI, Charli XCX, The Regrettes, and Wolf Alice

When: Friday, September 23-Sunday, September 25
Where: New York, New York
What to know: After a weekend in Miami, rap mecca Rolling Loud is headed to NYC. A handful of acts carry over, including headliner Future, but it's largely a different slate. The festival has gotten a bit of flack for not featuring enough women, so fans should be excited to know that New York native Nicki Minaj is holding down one night, in addition to fellow New Yorker A$AP Rocky. But in an interesting choice, the fest booked DaBaby for the New York weekend again, despite receiving quite a bit of backlash after 2021's Rolling Loud Miami when the rapper made homophobic comments onstage.
Headliners: A$AP Rocky, Future, and Nicki Minaj
Other acts to check out: ABRA, Dej Loaf, Lil Uzi Vert, and SAINt JHN

desert daze 2018, tame impala at desert daze
Tame Impala at Desert Daze 2018 | Chelsea Guglielmino/Getty Images

When: Friday, September 30-Sunday, October 2
Where: Lake Perris, California
What to know: All you really need to know about Desert Daze is that it's a very sick festival, and its 10th iteration looks especially sick. Held about an hour and a half outside of LA, the festival grounds are set up literally feet from the sandy beaches of the picturesque Lake Perris. There's camping accommodations available for those ready to take in that lovely SoCal nature, but any attendee can enjoy its well-rounded lineup. This year, headliners aren't just playing typical sets: Tame Impala is playing their breakout sophomore record Lonerism straight through to celebrate its anniversary and the psych rock group King Gizzard are playing "an exclusive California set" (whatever that means). There's a lot of great new bands to discover throughout the day, though, and even a rare fest appearance by indie rock icon Sky Ferreira.
Headliners: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Iggy Pop, and Tame Impala
Other acts to check out: BADBADNOTGOOD, Black Country, New Road, Nation of Language, and Sky Ferreira

When: Friday, September 30-Sunday, October 2 and Saturday, October 8-Sunday, October 9
Where: Dana Point, California
What to know: Ohana launched in 2016, curated by none other than Eddie Vedder. It's still going strong with the Pearl Jam frontman's presence. While he headlined all three nights last year, he'll only play one night of the fest this year—but it is is a two-weekend event this time around. The second weekend, called Ohana Encore, is a bit smaller than the first go, but it features just as exciting of a rock-focused lineup.
Headliners: Eddie Vedder, Jack White, P!nk, and Stevie Nicks headline weekend one and Alanis Morissette, The Black Keys, Eddie Veder, and HAIM headline weekend two
Other acts to check out:Beach Goons, Cautious Clay, Iceage, and illuminati hotties

When: Saturday, October 1
Where: Columbia, Maryland
What to know: Back for its eighth year, the independent festival All Things Go is expanding to be bigger than ever. After being founded and held in DC, the event moved to the scene-y Merriweather Post Pavilion, which is where it will occur this year, but with the addition of another stage. As it's long been one of the fest's missions, All Things Go continues to see a woman-dominated headlining bill—featuring indie icon Mitski as a headliner alongside Lorde, in one of her few festival stops this year. The bill of indie faves and names-to-watch isn't the only draw: The event also features the All Things Go Creator Summit on September 30, where attendees have the opportunity to observe panels about the state of the music industry and entertainment journalism. (Right now, details are scarce on the fest and summit's COVID-19 plans.)
Headliners: Lorde and Mitski
Other acts to check out: Bartees Strange, Hippo Campus, and Lucy Dacus

doja cat at austin city limits festival
Doja Cat at Austin City Limits 2021 | Erika Goldring/WireImage

When: Friday, October 7–Sunday, October 9; Friday, October 14–Sunday, October 16
Where: Austin, Texas
What to know: Since Austin is one of the biggest music cities in the nation, it obviously needs a festival that lives up to the hype. ACL does exactly that, spanning over two weekends with a lineup that typically features more than 100 names of the trendiest acts in music. As usual, the fest pulled together a stellar lineup, featuring headliners that include both old faves and rising, must-watch talent like Lil Nas X (making this one of his first-ever festival headlining sets). Since ACL isn't until later in the season, the event states that entry protocols may be required and announced closer to the fall. 
Headliners: The Chicks, Flume, Kacey Musgraves, Lil Nas X, Paramore, P!NK, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and SZA
Other acts to check out: Arlo Parks, Carly Rae Jepsen, Dehd, Nation of Language, and Samia

When: Saturday, October 22–Sunday, October 23, and Saturday, October 29
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
What to know: Being emo was never a phase! When this new festival was announced in early 2022, it just about broke the internet. It's yet another nostalgia festival that's making its debut in 2022, leaning into the pop punk revival that's been taking over pop radio and millennials' nostalgia for their Myspace scene days with a lineup almost exclusively of '00s pop punk mainstays. Passes are already sold out and there's currently only a waitlist for additional tickets, so you better believe this is going to be one of the biggest pop culture events of the year. If you are going, get some hair dye, do up the eyeliner, and embrace all of the RAWR XD energy that you've suppressed since 2008 (and look out for health and safety guidelines at a later date).
Headliners: My Chemical Romance and Paramore
Other acts to check out: Alex G, Car Seat Headrest, The Linda Lindas, and The Maine

When: Friday, October 21-Saturday, October 22
Where: Miami, Florida
What to know: There are a lot of music festivals in Miami, but one of the coolest is III Points. The event is now in its eighth run, and considering how much of a haven Miami is for electronic music, that's largely what the fest invites on its lineup. There's a bit of hip-hop and experimental alternative here and there, but it really is an exciting display of some of the trendiest producers working today. Plus, you can bet it'll be thrilling seeing Rosalía take MOTOMAMI to a headlining festival stage, and it'll be one of LCD Soundsystem's rare leading gigs this year.
Headliners: LCD Soundsystem and Rosalía
Other acts to check out: A.G. Cook, Flume, La Femme, HOMESHAKE, and Shygirl

When: Saturday, November 12-Sunday, November 13
Where: Houston, Texas
What to know: Just because most festivals are held during the summertime doesn't mean there aren't any fall ones worth checking out. Thanks to the warm Texas weather, We Are One, a music and art event meant to bring attention to the thriving Houston arts scene, will be held in mid-November this year. The event was actually supposed to go on in May, but the promoters decided to push it back to fall due to COVID concerns. Since it was rescheduled, the original pop-focused lineup headlined by names like Grimes and Japanese Breakfast actually won't transfer over to the new dates and is currently TBA, but it's possible some of the same names could make an appearance.
Headliners: TBA
Other acts to check out: TBA

When: TBA
Where: Seattle, Washington
What to know: While many festivals returned as usual after behind held off for a year, Seattle's 50-plus-year-running Bumbershoot is coming back supposedly better than ever. In its hiatus since 2019, the event's venue Seattle Center sought out to find a new production partner, deciding on the Seattle-based arts and entertainment coalition New Rising Sun. Few plans have been announced so far, but their intention of remodeling the event was to bring it back to its intention of celebrating artistic and cultural diversity within the city. As the city's been eager for its beloved large-scale event to come back, it should be a welcomed return and revitalization.
Headliners: TBA
Other acts to check out: TBA

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Sadie Bell is the entertainment associate editor at Thrillist. She's on Twitter and Instagram.