The Top Music Festivals to Attend in North America this Summer

Mo Pop Festival

One festival that really puts an emphasis on supporting local artists as well as attracting big name headliners is the Mo Pop Festival, which takes place every year in Detroit over a two-day weekend in July. The festival, which has been going since 2013, offers their guests an introduction to Detroit culture in the form of musical artists as well as local cuisine and beverages. This year, some well-known headliners include Bon Iver, The National, and St. Vincent. There’s also a gigantic arcade tent, filled with classic throwback arcade games, where you can enjoy drinks and live DJ music while you play, and a craft bazaar, where you can pick up a ton of cool new handmade treasures.

Essence Festival

Although originally this long-running festival started as a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the magazine Essence, it has moved beyond its humble beginnings to become a cultural phenomenon all its own. The Essence Festival has taken place over the 4th of July weekend every year since 1995. This four-day music and arts festival celebrates the best and brightest African-American musicians and artists — in addition to their famous headliners and musicians, there’s also an entire lineup of community organizers and thought leaders who bring their knowledge to the community for the entire weekend. This year, the festival dates are July 5-8.and features musical headliners Janet Jackson and Mary J. Blige.

Newport Folk Festival

One of the oldest continuously running festivals in the world is the Newport Folk Festival, which takes place every July in Newport, Rhode Island. Over its 58-year run, festivalgoers have watched music history being made on the festival’s stages, including Bob Dylan playing his first electric set, the launch of Kris Kristofferson’s career, and the reunion of the new acoustic Pixies.

The festival regularly sells out their tickets before the lineup is even announced, and there are always surprise guests who show up to play a few songs unannounced. This year, the dates are July 27-29, and although the full lineup hasn’t been finalized, acts like Brandi Carlile, Courtney Barnett, and Glen Hansard are already confirmed.

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