Best Summer Music Festivals of 2019: NYC
Does the frigid winter weather have you already dreaming of mojitos on the beach, sprawled out in the sand with the sun beaming down on your sunscreen-lathered body as the waves lap gloriously up onto the shore? Yeah, us too. Which is why we compiled a list of New York City’s best upcoming summer music festivals - a beacon of hope to tide you through the cold temps gracing the city with their blustery presence the next few months. So grab your pens, day planners, iPhones - whatever you use to keep track - and take note! Here is our comprehensive list of the best summer music festivals New York City has to offer in 2019 - we’ll keep updating as more dates are officially announced.
Governor’s Ball (Friday, May 31 - Sunday, June 2)
Governor’s Ball always kicks off festival season in the most epic way possible. On Monday, Jan. 7, they announced the lineup for their much-anticipated 2019 season - and it’s an impressive list of performers that you won’t want to miss. Expect to hear from a wide variety of favorites including Florence + The Machine, SZA, The Strokes, Nas, and Tyler, the Creator. Click here to read more about what to expect at 2019’s GovBall NYC and get your ticket now before prices go up.
Panorama NYC is always the wildcard of the summer music festival crew - you never quite know what to expect. Last year Janet Jackson, The Weeknd, and The Killers headlined, but due to a freak thunderstorm, Friday’s festivities were, unfortunately, canceled (meaning The Weeknd is going to have to wait for another weekend to play in NYC). Let’s hope that this year we get a real summer in the city and none of last year’s constant rain so we can all rock on with whatever awesome lineup the good people at Panorama put together.
Elements Music & Arts Festival (Dates to be Announced)
Elements Music and Arts Festival turns three this year after a super successful 2018. For its second run, Elements changed things up a bit, condensing what was once a 2-day festival into a one day bacchanalia of revelry and delight (the likes of which included a seemingly incongruous yoga room and peep show). Led by EDM legend Bassnectar, Elements really upped their game last year and curated an impressive lineup that included the likes of Snakehips, Kurtis Blow (Basketball, anyone?), and Desert Dwellers. We’re excited to see how they continue to build on the success of year two!
Billboard Hot 100 Fest (Dates to be Announced)
Billboard Hot 100 Fest is a festival for the Top 40 fans out there (myself included) that trends towards mainstream pop/rap/electronic. If you want to listen to the most popular songs on the radio live and in color, then make sure to grab a ticket for this annual summer festival held out in Long Island’s Northwell Health Jones Beach Theater. The stages are intimate yet expansive and, mercifully, far enough away from each other so as not to interfere with sound quality. One thing to keep in mind is that the festival is all ages, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling on the… “mature” side.
Electric Zoo (Friday, Aug. 30 - Sunday, Sep. 1)
As you may have gathered if you follow us on the ‘gram (or read our “About” section), Electric Zoo will always hold a special place in our hearts. It’s our favorite festival of the summer not only because it’s where our love blossomed, but also because of the caliber of the headliners (the biggest names in the EDM industry) and the overall quality of the festival itself. Electric Zoo NY pulled out all the stops for their 10th Anniversary last year, so we’re looking forward to see what they come up with this year as they move into their second decade.
Meadows Music & Arts Festival (Dates to be Announced)
Meadows Music and Arts Festival was a huge festival that we were so pleasantly surprised by in 2017 that we couldn’t wait for it to come back last year! Sadly, due to the fact that the NYC Parks Department denied Founders Entertainment’s request for a permit to move the festival to Flushing Meadows Corona Park, the festival was canceled in 2018. According to the Meadows website, the festival is slated to return this year. We sure hope so - 2017’s edition included some impressive headliners like Jay-Z, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Weezer, The Gorillaz, and Bassnectar. They also had the best sponsors and vendors I’ve ever seen at a festival, including Vitamin Water (free Vitamin Water all day!), San Matteo Pizza, frozen rosé slushies from Bar Primi, and a “Design Your Own” graffiti-style hat station from Budweiser.
Sea. Hear. Now. (Sep. 21-22)
Held each year in Asbury Park, NJ, the Sea.Hear.Now Festival is the most unique of the summer music festivals because of its emphasis on the “Sea” part. With live surfing contests featuring top surfers from around the globe, as well as free board shaping demos, immersive art displays, and an impressive array of local vendors, Sea.Hear.Now is so much more than just a music festival. That being said, the headliners from last year were worth the trek out to Jersey alone, with Jack Johnson, Incubus, and Social Distortion leading the way. This year is no different - Sea.Hear.Now has announced the Dave Matthews Band and The Lumineers as their 2019 headliners.
OctFest (Dates to be Announced)
When Pitchfork pairs with October, magical things happen. OctFest was one of the best late-summer festivals of 2018 because it combined two of our greatest loves, music and beer, in equal halves. I would say that this was probably the festival with the most chill vibe out of all the other ones on our list, but that seems like a given considering the 15 free 3 oz. samples of beer per day that were loaded directly onto our wristband with purchase of a ticket. With great musical headliners like Vince Staples and Jeff Tweedy, we’ll definitely be returning to Governor’s Island this year to close out the summer in style.
That about wraps it up! Do you plan on attending any of the festivals on our list this year? Did we miss any of your favorites? Comment and let us know!
*UPDATE AS OF 1-18-2019 - Panorama will not be returning in 2019. Similar to The Meadows, it was AEG’s hope to hold Panorama at Flushing Meadows Corona Park - a request that was denied by NYC Parks. Click here for the full story.