Best July Music Festivals in North America

posted by Dan Murphy on June 30, 2014

Festival d'été de Québec 2013 by Laura Baker-Finch

A few of the biggest festivals like Coachella, Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, and Firefly have now come and gone, but that hardly means the season is over! Whether you're staying stateside to catch Forecastle and Pitchfork or heading up north for FEQ and Pemberton, here are the best music festivals in North America during July.

High Sierra

via High Sierra

When: July 3-6
Where: Quincy, California
Who: Widespread Panic, STS9, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Beats Antique, Trampled by Turtles, Lord Huron, The Del McCoury Band, The Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lettuce, and more

Dating back to 1991, High Sierra takes place in the mountainous region of northern California and caters mainly to jamband, folk, and funk genres. This family-friendly festival offers not only a killer music bill, but also film screenings, arts + crafts, and movement playshops - yoga, pilates, etc.

Le Festival d'été de Québec (FEQ)

via FEQ

When: July 3-13
Where: Québec City, Québec
Who: Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, The Killers, Bryan Adams, deadmau5, Soundgarden, Journey - Steve Miller Band, Snoop Dogg, Queens of the Stone Age, A$AP Rocky, Blondie, Cypress Hill, and more

Le Festival d'été de Québec, commonly referred to as FEQ, is Canada's largest outdoor festival, running for eleven days and featuring the biggest names across all genres. Nightly shows take place on outdoor stages built for the festival as well as in some of Québec City's best indoor venues. 


Via 80/35

When: July 4-5
Where: Des Moines, Iowa
Who: Conor Oberst, Ziggy Marley, Best Coast, Xavier Rudd, Raz Simone, Dawes, Dr. Dog, The Envy Corps, Caroline Smith, Chicago Farmer, Shy Boys, Parlours, Max Jury, Bum Rap, and more

Describing itself as "Fantastic Musical Odyssey," 80/35 attempts to invigorate the Des Moines music scene by bringing big names in the indie rock and folk scene to the humble Iowa city. 


Via Bunbury

When: July 11-13
Where: Cincinnati, Ohio
Who: The Flaming Lips, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Empire of the Sun, Young the Giant, Fitz and the Tantrums, New Politics, Cage the Elephant, Foxy Shazam, Veruca Salt, Cults, and more

Now in its third year, Bunbury has been expanding rapidly since its beginnings nearly doubling in size from its first year. This year's lineup features a myriad of mainstream and indie-rock acts. 

The Hudson Project

via Hudson Music Project

When: July 11-13
Where: Saugerties, New York
Who: Kendrick Lamar, Bassnectar, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, STS9, Moby (DJ set), Big Gigantic, Excision, Atmosphere, Matt & Kim, Flying Lotus, Capital Cities, Rebelution, and more

Although this is the festival's inaugural installment, the Hudson Music Project is demanding to be taken seriously, featuring a varied yet stacked lineup across four stages on the grounds of the 1994 Woodstock Festival. 


Via 4Knots

When: July 12
Where: New York City, New York
Who: Dinosaur Jr., Mac DeMarco, Those Darlins, Speedy Ortiz, Radkey, Viet Cong, Nude Beach, Juan Wauters, Re-tros, Dead Stars, and more

Curated by the Village Voice, this indie-rock oriented single-day festival takes place on New York's scenic South Street Seaport. All performances are free and open to the public, so, New Yorkers, you really have no excuse not to attend. 


via Forecastle

When: July 18-20
Where: Louisville, Kentucky
Who: Outkast, Jack White, Beck, Spoon, Band of Horses, The Replacements, twenty one pilots, Dwight Yoachim, Ray Lamontagne, Gary Clark Jr., Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Nickel Creek, and more

Promising "one whale of a good time," Forecastle takes place on the Louisville waterfront and promotes environmental activism and outdoor recreation. This year, it's bringing some of the biggest headliners on the circuit down south as well as some small artists in the buzz-worthy indie sphere. 

Pitchfork Chicago

Via Pitchfork Music Festival

When: July 18-20
Where: Chicago, Illinois
Who: Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Neutral Milk Hotel, Grimes, St. Vincent, Slowdive, Giorgio Moroder, Sun Kil Moon, Death Grips, Danny Brown, Real Estate, tUnE-yArDs, Pusha T, Schoolboy Q, Sharon Van Etten, and more

Curated by the popular indie-music review blog, this festival features just about every band critics are obsessing over right now with a few classic artists thrown in like Beck and Neutral Milk Hotel. 


When: July 18-20
Where: Pemberton, British Columbia
Who: Nine Inch Nails, Outkast, deadmau5, Soundgarden, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Modest Mouse, Metric, Snoop Dogg, Above and Beyond, Empire of the Sun, Justice (DJ set), Grimes, and more

The defunct Pemberton Music Festival changed hands from LiveNation to HUKA Entertainment to make a comeback since its 2008 shutdown, and man, did they put a hell of a lineup together. Simply being a fan of music dictates that you need to go to this festival. 

Capitol Hill Block Party

Via Capital Hill Block Party

When: July 25-27
Where: Seattle, Washington
Who: A$AP Rocky, Spoon, Chromeo, Matt & Kim, Odesza, The Budos Band, A$AP Ferg, Dum Dum Girls, RAC, Beat Connection, The Julie Ruin, Star Slinger, Sol, Robert DeLong, Tanlines, and more

Capital Hill Block Party has sought to combine the music, culture, thought, and progressive politics of Seattle for the last seventeen years. It's a smaller festival, capping at 10,000 attendees per day, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in talent and atmosphere. 

Newport Folk Festival

Via Newport Folk Festival

When: July 25-27
Where: Newport, Rhode Island
Who: Jack White, Ryan Adams, Mavis Staples, Jeff Tweedy, Band of Horses, Nickel Creek, Jimmy Cliff, Kurt Vile and the Violators, Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis, Deer Tick, Sun Kil Moon, and more

Few festivals have such a history as Newport Folk, from exposing Dylan to the masses to almost ruining his career when he went electric. It's been going strong for over fifty years, expanding its lineup selections while finding a balance between current acts and classic artists.

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See Also:

4Knots Completes Lineup with Mac DeMarco and More
The Set Times are Here for Pitchfork Chicago
Create Your Custom Schedule for Forecastle 2014