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Let the Music Transport You

Concert at Hollywood Bowl  Music Festival Concert

Festivals are a great way for music lovers to get a taste of dozens of artists in one place, from marquee names to emerging talent. From the California desert to a Midwestern lakefront to a Southwestern downtown, here are three with a vibe all their own.

For two weekends in April, the grounds of a polo club in the California desert about 130 miles east of Los Angeles become the home of one of the country’s most popular music festivals.

From modest beginnings in 1999, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival now draws nearly 600,000 spectators and 200 artists. The list of performers who’ve played at Coachella reads like a Who’s Who of the music world, from Paul McCartney and Madonna to Coldplay and Kanye West.

In 2016, Coachella takes place April 15–17 and 22–24, with music playing continuously on half a dozen stages. A shuttle from Los Angeles International Airport will take festivalgoers to hotels in and around Coachella.

Concert at Lowlands Festival  Rock and Roll Guitar Player

While Coachella is a great showcase for established as well as up-and-coming artists, reunions are its hallmark. This year, there’ll be two: legendary rockers Guns ‘N Roses and New York City electronica/dance group LCD Soundsystem. But Coachella is about so much more than music. The festival invites artists from around the world to put up inventive installations. And top chefs from the United States and Mexico serve up gourmet cuisine nightly in the VIP area.

Individual tickets went on sale in January and are sold out. Check with your travel agent to see if any package deals remain or to start planning for next year.

South by Southwest, known as SXSW, began in 1987 as a music festival and has grown to include film and interactive media. It takes place over nine days in March, with the music portion on the last six days. SXSW is a conference and festival, drawing people from every part of the industry, from record label executives to agents, writers and fans, as well as established musicians and those trying to get noticed. Performances are held in more than 100 downtown venues.

In 2015, more than 2,200 bands representing 62 countries participated with an eclectic lineup ranging from the queen of country music Loretta Lynn to five bands from Cuba—this year’s event even drew the President of the United States.

Given the continuing prestige of SXSW, it’s not too early to begin planning to attend next year’s event.

Samba  Prague (Praha), Czech Republic Music Festival

Milwaukee’s Summerfest, which began in 1968 as the city’s answer to Munich’s Oktoberfest, is now held at a 75-acre site along Lake Michigan, attracting 900,000 fans from around the world.

This year, Summerfest takes place from noon to midnight June 29 to July 3 and July 5 to 10. The festival features more than 800 acts on 11 stages and music that includes rock, pop, R&B, and reggae. Among the headliners are Sting and Peter Gabriel, Def Leppard, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, and Selena Gomez. And there’ll be plenty to eat and drink, too, with more than 45 vendors selling food and beverages.

For help planning a trip to a music festival anywhere in the United States or around the world, contact our travel agency at 719-597-0004.

Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison Colorado

© Travel Leaders Group