Rock In Rio
September 2nd

Spanning seven jam-packed days, the Brazilian fest has perhaps the rocking-est slate of headliners around.

When: Sept. 2-4, 8-11
Where: Rio De Janeiro, Brazil

Rock In Rio doesn’t happen yearly, but when it does, it goes BIG. What began in 1985, now counts 2022’s edition as Rock In Rio 9 in its flagship Rio De Janeiro location. Across two weekends and seven total days, Rock In Rio’s headliners are a blend of the maximum rock and roll that Brazilians love, with the world’s biggest stars in pop, rap, and rock.

Iron Maiden, Post Malone, Green Day, Justin Bieber, Guns N’ Roses, Coldplay, and Dua Lipa headline each of the seven days on the main Palco Mundo stage. Rock In Rio brings seven total stages — including ones dedicated to Brazilian rock and EDM — to the original “City Of Rock” venue in Barra Da Tijuca on Rio’s West side.

Worldwide editions of the Rock In Rio brand have sprouted up over the years, including a Lisbon festival this past June.

September 3rd

Founded and curated by Jay-Z, the Downtown Philadelphia festival presents preeminent stars in hip-hop and world pop music alongside an ethos of change.

When: Sept. 3-4
Where: Philadelphia, PA

In the cultural center of Downtown Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin Parkway has welcomed Jay-Z and Roc Nation’s Made In America festival since 2012. If 2022’s programming does something especially well, it’s in showcasing the shifting tides in prevailing popular culture. Bad Bunny joins Tyler The Creator as a headliner in what’s easily the most international edition of Made In America thus far.

Hip-hop stars like Lil Uzi Vert, Pusha T, Kodak Black, Jazmine Sullivan, Don Toliver, and JID make a formidable base on the lineup. Then global icons like Burna Boy, Snoh Aalegra, and Fuerza Regida add newfound flair. Finally, the Cause Village area for social action showcases national and regional organizations like Black Voters Matters and Headcount, making Made In America the well-rounded affair that it has become.

September 15th

Promising “a perfect blend of bourbon, food, and music,” Bourbon & Beyond sports a deep lineup of acts from across the spectrum. And, of course, whiskey.

When: Sept. 15-18
Where: Louisville, KY

While Bourbon & Beyond might not be the most recognizable name on the summer festival circuit yet, promoter Danny Wimmer Presents has a sleeping giant on its hands. The same company that produces hard rock fests in Welcome to Rockville and Aftershock, DWP brings Bourbon & Beyond to Louisville’s Highland Festival Grounds at The Kentucky Expo Center. The lineup is led by the likes of Jack White, Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam, Chris Stapleton, Alanis Morisette, Brandi Carlile, and St. Vincent.

This is a celebration of the unique culture of Kentucky and it’s about much more than a healthy offering of Americana acts. There are multiple on-site bars dedicated to showcasing hundreds of bourbons including rare and hard-to-find options, as well as separate culinary and bourbon stages of demos and talks. Wherever you go at Bourbon & Beyond, you’ll be in for an authentic slice of the Bluegrass State.

September 16th

The storied Spanish summer festival makes its long-awaited debut in the US.

When: Sept. 16-18
Where: Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles has been waiting a long time for Primavera Sound LA to arrive. The first US off-shoot of the Spanish summer favorite was originally scheduled to debut in 2020, then was postponed once again in 2021 — both times because of the COVID-19 pandemic, natch. Now Primavera Sound LA finally goes off in 2022 and organizers even added a third day in addition to the originally planned two day fest.

Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, and Nine Inch Nails will headline the festival at LA’s State Historic Park, which has been re-turfed and much spruced up since its days of hosting festivals like FYF and HARD Fest nearly a decade ago. Primavera’s commitment to a 50-50 split between male and female-fronted acts is a welcome facet of its booking, so look forward to acts like Stereolab, Kim Gordon, Clairo, Mitski, Tierra Whack, and Paloma Mami high up on the bill.

September 16th

What originally started as a multi-venue showcase of Chicago’s Punk scene now brings it all together and then some at Douglass Park.

When: Sept. 16-18
Where: Chicago, IL

Riot Fest 2022 is by far the most eclectic rendition of the historically punk rock fest yet. But it hasn’t strayed too far from its roots. In fact, 2022 feels like a growth year towards bigger and better things and if you’re along for the ride, you’re stoked. Riot Fest has put together a premier lineup of punk, pop punk, emo, alternative, and hard rock. My Chemical Romance, The Misfits, and NIN are atop the bill. But look beneath the surface for a bevy of surprises.

Multiple bands will be playing classic albums in full: Yellowcard, The Menzingers, Rocket From The Crypt, The Get Up Kids, Fear, and even the headlining Misfits. Meanwhile, Sunday’s eclectic slate features Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Ice Cube, Sleater-Kinney, Jimmy Eat World, Action Bronson, Less Than Jake, The Linda Lindas, and Coolio. It’s a new day at Riot Fest.

September 16th

Started in 2012 as a way to revitalize Downtown Las Vegas, the mega-festival is a well-oiled machine now majority-owned by Rolling Stone.

When: Sept. 16-18
Where: Las Vegas, NV

Life Is Beautiful checks every box. The Downtown Las Vegas 3-day festival goes far beyond one of the best lineups on the festival circuit. The 18-block footprint becomes a living, breathing art gallery of sorts with sights to see at every turn. The Kicker is an area devoted to comedy, drag, podcasts, TED-style talks, and even a late-night EMO Dance party. Vegas’ well-known culinary and mixology scene is also incorporated into multiple areas of the fest.

And then of course there’s the music. Arctic Monkeys, Gorillaz, Calvin Harris, Lorde, and Jack Harlow make for a varied musical slate of headliners. But it’s the positivity that seamlessly stems from the ongoing endeavor of “a community development project disguised as a music festival” that continues to make Life Is Beautiful one of the best festival operations in the US.

September 17th

Rock and roll and surfing collide at this Jersey shore festival put on by legendary rock photographer Danny Clinch.

When: Sept. 17-18
Where: Asbury Park, NJ

Best known for his work photographing stars like Bruce Springsteen and Pearl Jam, Danny Clinch is a native of the Jersey Shore. The vast Asbury Park Waterfront is the site for Clinch’s Sea. Hear. Now festival, which is venturing beyond its typically folk-centric offerings in 2022. Stevie Nicks and Green Day are the illustrious headliners across three stages that also includes My Morning Jacket, Cage The Elephant, Gary Clark Jr., and Courtney Barnett.

Sea. Hear. Now also hosts the “North Beach Rumble” surf contest throughout the two-day affair, which pits top East Coast professional male and female surfers in a team competition with captains Cory Lopez and Sam Hammer. Meanwhile, the “Transparent Gallery” offers a look at some of Clinch’s most iconic music photography from over the years.

September 22nd

Set in the sprawling Woodlands of the 105-acre Dover Motor Speedway, Firefly might have the deepest commitment to pop music of all the mega-fests.

When: Sept. 22-25
Where: Dover, DE

The best part about a festival in the woodlands of a gigantic racetrack complex is that you’ll never know what you’ll discover when you take a path into the trees. Venture into the woods and you might stumble upon The Treehouse and The Nest stages for an intimate set with indie acts like CHAI, Indigo de Souza, or Jordana.

But rest assured, Firefly is nothing short of a megafest, with Halsey, My Chemical Romance, Green Day, and Dua Lipa headlining the main Firefly Stage. Other breakthrough pop acts are studded throughout the bill like Conan Gray, Willow, Haim, Bleachers, Charli XCX, and even Avril Lavigne for good measure. AEG’s festival has a decked-out VIP experience and even the two camping hubs have an additional stage to keep the party going.

September 23rd

A brand new festival in the Ozarks with one of the most innovative top-to-bottom lineups meeting at the intersection of music, art, and technology.

When: Sept. 23-25
Where: Bentonville, AR

For a first-year festival, the Northern Arkansas-based Format Festival is coming on strong right out of the gate. The multidisciplinary experience has the flair you’d expect from a solid summer festival featuring The War On Drugs, Phoenix, Khruangbin, The Flaming Lips, Herbie Hancock, Beach House, and Nile Rodgers & Chic. But it’s the immersive intent behind the overall production that looks to build a unique experience.

There are two main stages hosting some of the over 80 musical acts, which are then surrounded by performance spaces in forest enclaves, pavilions, barns, and speakeasies designed by visual artists and architects. You see, the festival takes place in a 250-acre landing strip surrounded by a lush, forested ravine of trees, hills, valleys, and bluffs in the Ozarks. There’s even on-site glamping for this technologically-charged melding of music and art.

September 23rd

What has become the world’s marquee rap festival brand has an eye-popping lineup planned in the birthplace of hip-hop with some “local” headliners.

When: Sept. 23-25
Where: New York City, NY

If Rolling Loud has built its name on one thing, it’s in gathering as many trending rappers as possible and thrusting them all onto an unbelievable festival slate. It’s what has allowed the brand to expand beyond its flagship Miami edition and into markets like LA, Oakland, Australia, Portugal, Toronto (earlier in September), Thailand(!) and, of course, New York City.

For the 2022 edition, Rolling Loud has NYC natives Nicki Minaj and ASAP Rocky as two of the headliners, along with Southern heavyweights in Future and special guest Playboi Carti. Taking place in Queens at the Citi Field ballpark complex, the seemingly endless lineup of today’s biggest rap stars features Big Sean, Pusha T, Lil Baby, 21 Savage, Chief Keef, Moneybagg Yo, Fivio Foreign, and on and on and on…

September 24th

Goldenvoice’s new electronically-minded festival comes to a historic waterfront pier in San Francisco with a downright bonkers lineup.

When: Sept. 24-25
Where: San Francisco, CA

As far as this year’s West Coast newcomer festivals are concerned, none made the announcement splash that Portola Music Festival did. The Chemical Brothers and Flume are atop each of the fest’s two days, but from there, it just gets silly.

Kaytranada, Jamie XX, Charli XCX, Caribou, Fatboy Slim, The Avalanches, and Pink Pantheress?! That’s not even half of the day one slate. Day two features James Blake, M.I.A., Yaeji, Four Tet + Floating Points, Toro Y Moi, DJ Shadow, Slowthai, and loads more. It’s all taking place at the newly-restored Pier 80 venue near San Francisco’s old waterfront. This is shaping up to be a dance party like no other and perhaps a new go-to fest on the late-summer circuit.

September 24th

A brand new festival in Connecticut’s Seaside Park that pairs top-tiered acts on two non-overlapping stages with curated craft beer, wine, spirits, and local food.

When: Sept. 24-25
Where: Bridgeport, CT

A lineup of this caliber could easily slot into a much bigger festival. But instead, Sound On Sound is bringing acts like Stevie Nicks, Brandi Carlile, The National, The Roots, and Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds to relatively intimate Seaside Park. The venue is a stunning greenspace nestled along the Long Island Sound with sweeping lawns and shady nooks facing the coastline.

Sound On Sound’s curated eateries from Fairfield County offer everything from lobster rolls to wood-fired pizza. Meanwhile, the Craft Beer & Sports Hall, Seaside Wine Grove, and Shaken & Stirred cocktail area have everything you’d want to pair with outdoor tunes at this first-year fest.

September 30th

Perhaps the greatest festival devoted to modern-day psych rock, Desert Daze has become bigger than just that at its idyllic SoCal location.

When: Sept. 30 – Oct. 2
Where: Lake Perris, CA

Over the course of three days, the sandy shores of Moreno Beach at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area become home to a totally psychedelic and rippin’ music festival. Ringed by small mountains and hills, cool breezes will waft through sunny skies for psych-rock acts like King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Tame Impala playing their standout album Lonerism on its 10th anniversary, and punk icon Iggy Pop’s only appearance on the continent this year.

Visual projection artists like the famed Mad Alchemy Liquid Light Show and Slim Reaper build the vibes along a pristine lake which will even be hosting the canoe sprint and rowing competitions at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. As the festival has grown, so has its offerings, with acts like The Marías, Sky Ferreira, Perfume Genius, and Jpegmafia among the top-billed acts. An hour and a half outside of LA, the on-site camping scene even offers an extra day of music.

September 30th

The sixth edition of the festival helmed by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder goes down on a pristine SoCal beach.

When: Sept. 30 – Oct. 2
Where: Dana Point, CA

What could easily be construed as simply a haven for Pearl Jam superfans has grown into a legit West Coast music festival in its six years of existence. Stevie Nicks, Jack White, and Pink lead an eclectic crop of headliners and while Pearl Jam won’t be performing in 2022, Eddie Vedder rounds out the top-billing performing in support of his recently released album, Earthling.

But for all of the music (over 35 acts across three stages, to be exact) the beautiful stretch of the California coastline on Doheny State Beach between San Diego and Los Angeles where the festival takes place leaves a uniquely lasting mark itself. And if you’re needing a break from the grandeur, there’s “Storytelling In The Cove” with panels and exhibits by surfers, naturalists, and more.

September 30th

For over 20 years now, the 3-day festival has been a free affair for hundreds of thousands of people in Golden Gate Park, and as its name suggests, features more than just bluegrass.

When: Sept. 30 – Oct. 2
Where: San Francisco, CA

As part of his legacy, San Francisco venture capitalist and philanthropist Warren Hellman wanted to gift a free, yearly music festival to the city’s people in its iconic Golden Gate Park. Now a decade after Hellman’s death, his dream continues beyond its 20th year with four days of programming from acts spanning bluegrass, folk, rock and roll, Americana, and more.

And while the venue footprint of HSB is similar to that of Outside Lands, HSB is devoid of corporate backing and the music couldn’t be more different from SF’s other major music festival. 2022’s lineup includes Marcus Mumford, Elvis Costello, Waxahatchee, Steve Earle & The Dukes, and as always, Emmylou Harris.