8 Punk and Alternative Festivals to Check Out in 2014

posted by Alyssa Buffenstein on February 25, 2014

Some festivals attract all types of music lovers by booking artists that span multiple genres, while others appeal to specific subcultures. Alternative music festivals are places where punks, metalheads, emos, and/or rude bois can come together and pretend the whole world is full of people with liberty-spiked hair and studded leather jackets. To encourage punk rock camaraderie, here's our list of 8 essential alternative festivals to attend in 2014. 

South by So What?! 

Photo via South by So What?!
Where: Quicktrip Park in Grand Prairie, Texas. 
When: March 14-16, 2014
Day 1: The Used, Taking Back Sunday, Asking Alexandria, August Burns Red

Day 2: Bring me the Horizon, Of Mice and Men, Motionless in White, Mindless Self Indulgence

Day 3: The Devil Wears Prada, Between the Buried & Me, The Story so Far, Comeback Kid

Overlapping with the tail end of Austin's SXSW, South by So What?! intends to give the Dallas area a piece of the action. With twelve headliners including Taking Back Sunday, Bring me the Horizon, and The Story so Far, SBSW is a curated mix of artists catered to all sides of the alternative scene, making it a tempting substitute for (or addition to) Austin's annual music, film, and interactive conference. 

Self Help Festival

Photo via Adam Elmakias

Where: NOS Event Center in San Bernadino, California

When: March 22, 2014

Headliners: A Day to Remember, Bring Me the Horizon

Following the trend of artist-curated festivals, the inaugural Self Help Fest includes 15 bands handpicked by headliner A Day to Remember. With hardcore and metalcore leanings, highlights include Bring me the Horizon, Of Mice and Men, The Story So Far, and Memphis May Fire. While San Bernardino might not be the ideal weekend destination, the city is just an hour out of Los Angeles, which makes Self Help perfect for an LA getaway with a music-filled day trip in between.

Skate and Surf 

Photo via Skate and Surf

Where: Middletown Sports Complex in Middletown, New Jersey

When: May 17-18, 2014

Headliners: Midtown, Saosin

The creators of Skate and Surf have somehow done the impossible: booked Midtown and Saosin with Anthony Green for the 2014 festival. It's unclear whether either headliner will play any other shows this year (or ever), so Skate and Surf is already a must for fans; and, there's still one headliner to be announced. With the unbelievable lineup and a promising new venue, Skate and Surf 2014 looks like it will be a triumph after last year's rocky return to the festival scene.

Punk Rock Bowling 

Photo via Punk Rock Bowling

Where: Corner of 7th and Stewart Streets in Las Vegas, Nevada

When: May 23-26, 2014

Headliners: Cock Sparrer, Descendents, NOFX

Punk Rock Bowling features headliners Cock Sparrer, Descendents, and NOFX, and coincides with four nights of club shows, a two-day bowling tournament, a "punk rock poker" tournament, pool parties, and comedy shows. Taking pride in being truly about punk rock, this three-day outdoor festival is sure to be a weekend of sleazy, destructive, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" debauchery.

Bled Fest

Photo via Mike Rice and Bled Fest

Where: Hartland Performing Arts Center in Howell, Michigan

When: May 24, 2014

Headliners: Title Fight, the Menzingers, Man Overboard, Transit

Howell, Michigan's annual punk and hardcore festival, Bled Fest, is turning ten in 2014. The lineup already includes Title Fight, the Menzingers, Man Overboard, Bane, and Transit, and new bands will be announced every day in February. If the lineup alone isn't enough to make you want to go, Howell is apparently known for its festivals, albeit not of the music kind. From the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest to the Howell Melon Festival, the city knows what's up when it comes to throwing a fest.

Van's Warped Tour

Photo via Kane Hibberd and Vans Warped Tour

Where: 43 locations across the United States 

When: June 11-August 3, 2014

Headliners: Less than Jake, Saves the Day, Yellowcard 

Sometimes called "Punk Rock Summer Camp", Warped Tour is the essential punk summer festival, known for its wide range of both established and up-and-coming punk, ska, and hardcore acts. New bands are announced every week, but the 2014 lineup is already impressive, boasting Less than Jake, Saves the Day, and Yellowcard. With 43 dates across the US and Canada, including a newly-added stop in Alaska, there are few excuses that justify missing Warped Tour.

Riot Fest

Photo via Riot Fest

Where: Humbolt Park in Chicago, Ilinois

When: September 12-14, 2014

Headliners: Lineup TBA

Like Bled Fest, 2014 will also be Riot Fest's tenth incarnation. Even though no details of the lineup or location have been announced, two rounds of early bird tickets have already sold out. Promising an extra-special fest for their tenth anniversary, Riot Fest Chicago, judging by hype alone, is a must for the alt-festivalgoer. 

Fest 13

Photo via Fest

Where: Gainesville, Florida

When: TBA

Headliners: TBA

No announcements have yet been made about Gainesville, Florida's annual Fest, but 2014 will be the year Fest turns 13. Past lineups have included the likes of the Lawrence Arms, Fake Problems, Frank Turner, Bomb the Music Industry!, and Polar Bear Club, and in conjunction with Fest's usual timing on or around Halloween, we can only hope that Fest 13 will be packed with some extra-spooky surprises.

See Also: 

Midtown, Saosin to Reunite for Skate and Surf 2014
Rock on the Range Expands to Three Days, Announces Lineup
Music Monday Playlist: Bonnaroo 2014