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.

When: Saturday, May 14–Sunday, May 15
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada
What to know: Whether you're all for reveling in nostalgia, it makes you feel old, or you feel some anti-capitalist kind of way about everything you grew up on being re-commodified and sold back to you, we're in the age of the nostalgia festivals created with millennials in mind. Presented by Snoop Dogg and concert promoters Bobby Dee and Live Nation, Lovers and Friends is an all-new event that highlights '90s and '00s hip-hop and R&B mainstays. It was actually supposed to launch in 2020, so it's safe to say it's a highly anticipated event. As there are no local entry requirements for large-scale events in Vegas, the festival is moving ahead without a vaccine or negative test policy, although it advises the unvaccinated to wear a mask. Before the May weekend, dig up your old iPod nano, get excited, and get ready to spend hours putting together the perfect festival fit now that Y2K is back in fashion.
Headliners: Ashanti, Ciara, Ja Rule, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Lil Jon, Ludacris, Nelly, TLC, and Usher
Other acts to check out: Cassie, Eve, Lil' Kim, and Trina

anderson paak at boston calling 2019
Anderson .Paak at Boston Calling 2019 | Natasha Moustache/Getty Images

When: Friday, May 27–Sunday, May 29
Where: Boston, Massachusetts
What to know: Like Coachella, Boston Calling was one of the music festivals that decided to sit 2021 out, rather than attempt to reschedule, so it's a big, exciting year for the fest with its long-awaited return. The Memorial Day event tends to favor rock acts, but features a little bit of everything, making it one of Boston's biggest fests. Although nothing is clear in terms of COVID-19 measures at this time, Boston Calling does insist that attendees will have to abide by whatever protocols are in place.
Headliners: Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, and The Strokes
Other acts to check out: Avril Lavigne, HAIM, Orville Peck, and Pom Pom Squad

When: Friday, May 27–Sunday, May 29
Where: Napa Valley, California
What to know: If you consider yourself a foodie and drink connoisseur as much as a music fan, BottleRock remains the ideal festival for you. Set in the culinary destination of Napa Valley, the festival always been committed to being as much about food, wine, craft beer, and culinary demonstrations as it is about music. While the lineup does have something for everyone, the fest tends to book more folk-inspired artists than others and features a lot of pop acts. The festival plans on abiding by California state guidelines at the time of the event.
Headliners: The Black Crowes, Kygo, Luke Combs, Metallica, P!nk, and Twenty One Pilots
Other acts to check out: Aly & AJ, SAINt JHN, and Yola

When: Friday, May 20–Sunday, May 22
Where: Gulf Shores, Alabama
What to know: Not every music festival is also a giant beach party. Hangout Fest takes place on the beaches of the Gulf Shores, with waves crashing just behind the stages and opportunities to soak in the sun by playing volleyball, swimming, chilling out in the sand, or roller blading in between sets. The event also pulls a primarily pop lineup to make the vibes extra sunny. In accordance with local laws, no one needs to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to get into the event, but should anything change, there may be added requirements closer to the date. 
Headliners: Doja Cat, Fall Out Boy, Halsey, Megan Thee Stallion, Post Malone, and Tame Impala
Other acts to check out: beabadoobee, Blu DeTiger, and ericdoa

billie eilish at governors ball 2021
Billie Eilish at Governors Ball 2021 | Taylor Hill/Getty Images for Governors Ball

When: Friday, June 10–Sunday, June 12
Where: New York, New York
What to know: After being pushed back to September in 2021, NYC's major music festival is back on the calendar for its typical early June slot and returning to its rightful place as the city's unofficial start to summer event. It won't be moving back to its former venue of Randall's Island, though; the event is sticking with last year's choice of being held on the grounds of Citi Field. It's sure to be just as exciting (and hopefully an area that's better suited for potential June rain), largely due to the diverse lineup that features big names in pop and rap as headliners and buzzy names throughout the bill from just about every genre. Currently, the event is planning on requesting proof of vaccination or a negative test for entry, per state requirements.
Headliners: Halsey, Kid Cudi, and J. Cole
Other acts to check out: Clairo, Duckwrth, 100 gecs, Samia, and Surf Curse

When: Thursday, June 16–Sunday, June 19
Where: Manchester, Tennessee
What to know: What would festival season be without the Roo? After going down in September in 2021, the beloved fest is moving back to its regular weekend in June. As always, it remains the event for festival devotees with its on-site campgrounds, expansive lineup, and sets that go into the wee hours of the night. There are no COVID-19 requirements, but Bonnaroo asks any unvaccinated attendees to mask up and encourages anyone coming to the fest to get tested before the weekend. 
Headliners: The Chicks, Flume, Gryffin, Illenium, J. Cole, Machine Gun Kelly, Roddy Ricch, Stevie Nicks, TOOL, and 21 Savage
Other acts to check out: Denzel Curry, Indigo De Souza, slowthai, Tierra Whack, and Tove Lo

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

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: Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Green Day, J. Cole, Kygo, Lil Baby, Machine Gun Kelly, and Metallica
Other acts to check out: Caroline Polachek, Hinds, Meet Me @ the Alter, and MUNA

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, pop, and rock mixed in for good measure. Being that it's a later-in-the-season fest, details are still scarce about this year's iteration, but you can for sure expect it to be on.
Headliners: TBA
Other acts to check out: TBA

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 TBA
Other acts to check out: TBA

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: 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 28–Sunday, October 30
Where: New Orleans, Louisiana
What to know: If you've always wanted to have an absolutely unforgettable Halloween weekend, head on down to the bayou for Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. Fans of the spooky holiday and music lovers alike will find the fest to be one-of-a-kind, going down in the spirited city of New Orleans every year. Costumes are encouraged so you can rock out to the biggest names in indie while summoning friendly ghouls and goblins. The event wasn't able to commence in either 2020 or 2021 and little details are available right now, but it should be as grand of a Halloween celebration as ever.
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.