North America’s Greatest Outdoor Music Festivals

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There’s nothing quite like seeing a live concert in a gorgeous outdoor setting. If you’re into the idea of a camping weekend filled with live shows and plenty of opportunity for sports/communing with nature, we’re here to help with this roundup of North America’s greatest outdoor music festivals. We’ll also tip you off about other local adventures to in case you want to add a day or so to your trip!

For People Who Love Heights

Sasquatch! Music Festival

Where: Gorge, Washington, USA
When: May 26-28, 2017

Every memorial day weekend, people flock to the Gorge, an outdoor amphitheater that fits 20,000 set against the incredible Columbia River Gorge, Washington’s own version of the Grand Canyon. With a lineup featuring everyone from Frank Ocean to the Strumbellas, Sasquatch! is a rollicking musical cocktail overlooking one of the most unearthly beautiful backdrops in the country.

Set on a cliff over a forested canyon, with the massive Columbia River flowing as far as the eye can see, it’s no wonder Pearl Jam devoted an entire DVD box-set, Live at the Gorge, to their time playing here. When you’re that high up, the music soars.

Pair your festival weekend with: windsurfing, paddle-boarding, rafting, or kayaking.

For The Indie Music Lover

Joshua Tree Music Festival

Where: Joshua Tree, California, USA
When: October 5-8, 2017

This biannual festival features three days and four nights of music, workshops, and family camping. Enjoy up and coming artists, with a few Rock and Roll hall of famers sprinkled in, surrounded by the Copper Mountains and legendary Joshua Trees.

The Joshua Tree Lake Campground is on the edge of the Mojave Desert, where the fiery-orange desert sunset and intense night sky untouched by city lights will make you feel like you’re on a different planet. Might as well take in the whole of Joshua Tree National Park while you’re there!

Pair your festival weekend with: sand dune walking, mountain hikes.

Official site: Joshua Tree Music Festival

For Country Music Lovers

Cavendish Beach Music Festival

Where: Cavendish, PEI, Canada
When: July 7-9, 2017

With names like Zac Brown Band, Brothers Osborne, and Little Big Town, this former cow pasture next to the beach has become the most bustling country music scene in Atlantic Canada. Held every July, this fest is a great way to experience the Maritimes. It even has its own branded beer!

Cavendish Beach is part of Prince Edward Island National Park, a strip of beach that follows the gulf of St. Lawrence all the way to a stretch of gorgeous red sandstone cliffs. True story: my mom got the best tan of her life at Cavendish Beach.

Pair your weekend with: swimming in the Atlantic Ocean, running the dunes trail, surfing and kiteboarding.

Official site: Cavendish Beach Music

For the Beach Bum

Hangout Music Fest

Where: Gulf shores, Alabama, USA
When: May 19-21, 2017

Take in great music while stretched out on the sand. This year’s set list features Mumford and Sons, DJ Snake, and Chance the Rapper performing amongst white sand beaches and hammocks resting under palm trees!

There aren’t that many fests that let you cool off from dancing and moshing your heart out with a dip in the ocean. Take note: there is no camping here, so you’ll have to book accommodations.

Pair your fest weekend with: hiking the Golf-State Park trails, running along the pier, scoping out sea turtles at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, or zip lining over the dunes.

Official site: Hangout Music Fest

For the Americana Fan

Telluride Bluegrass Festival

Where: Telluride, Colorado
When: June 15-18, 2017

Falling on the closest weekend to Summer Solstice, Telluride showcases all sorts of bluegrass talent mixed with a few well-known soulful talents in the heart of the San Juan Mountains.

This fest has a reputation for innovative performances and impromptu campfire jam sessions, as well as a hardcore community fan base. Telluride is everything you picture a Colorado mountain-town being like; surrounded on three sides by the Telluride Box Canyon, with staggering mountain-views!

Pair your weekend festival with: mountain biking, horseback riding, hiking the Bear Creek Falls.

Official site: Bluegrass

Whether it’s desert wilderness or palm tree-lined beaches that pump you up, get your tunes on in the fresh air and under the stars this year’s best outdoor music festivals.

If you have been to any of these festivals let us know in the comments below. What was your experience? 

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Christi Walter

Christi Walter is a freelance writer and editor who calls Canada home. Bit by the travel-bug at a young age, Christi is currently spending time in Japan on a holiday visa. She blogs about her forays into running, among other things, at runlikeacheetahsite.com

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