Your Guide to Summer Music Festivals in the South

Are you looking for some music and sunshine this summer? Trying to decide which music festival you’d rather go to? We’ve compiled a list that makes choosing a lot easier.

Memphis in May (Beale Street Music Festival)

Where: Memphis, TN
Dates: May 5- May 7, 2017
Ticket Price: $115

Headliners: Kings of Leon, GroupLove, Jimmy Eat World, Wiz Khalifa, Snoop Dogg, Widespread Panic, MGMT, Sturgill Simpson, Death Cab for Cutie, Soundgarden, Tori Kelly, Ludacris, and more

What to wear: Be sure to check the weather because this can be a tricky one to dress for. The days in early May can be scorching, but the nights on the Mississippi River are a little chilly. Wear shorts and a tank or tee shirt, but bring a light jacket. Also, look out for signs of rain. Often called “Memphis in Mud” by locals, the Beale Street Music Festival has a tendency to be a three day event in the rain. If that happens, rain boots are a MUST.

What to expect: With artists ranging from across the nation and even special guests from foreign countries, BSMF (Beale Street Music Festival) doesn’t discriminate when it comes to musical genres. This city of rock-n-roll and blues welcomes contemporary rock, blues, soul, rap, pop and other modern talent every year. It’s 25 acre riverfront park is the perfect place to kick off any summer. With stands of clothes, jewelry and various other knick-knacks, from local artisans; smoke bars, free aura readings and other entertaining vendors, BSMF is the full festival experience.


New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Where: New Orleans, LA
Dates: April 28-May 7, 2017
Ticket Price: $65-$80

Headliners: Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds, Kings of Leon, Meghan Trainor, Lorde, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Pitbull, Widespread Panic, Earth Wind and Fire, and more

What to wear: Be sure not to wear dark colors as the New Orleans heat will fry you. Tee shirts and tank tops and shorts are a good, safe option for both sexes. Wear shoes that are lightweight, sturdy and protective to be as comfortable as possible while standing, walking and dancing. While they sell ponchos at the festival, it’s probably best to bring your own compact poncho or rain jacket that you can throw in your backpack.

What to expect: This festival’s diverse music lineups, 12 stages, and Louisiana cultural roots makes this experience unlike any other. With food that only New Orleans can offer and range of musical talent, Jazz Fest is a unique blend of heritage and entertainment.


Shaky Knees Music Festival

Where: Atlanta, GA
Dates: May 12-May 14, 2017
Ticket Price: $99-$185

Headliners: Cage the Elephant, Moon Taxi, The XX, Third Eye Blind, Pixies, Nick Murphy, X Ambassadors, Saint Motel, The Shins, LCD Soundsystem, Phoenix and more

What to wear: Shaky Knees style is like a low key Cochella— hipster chic, flower child, bohemian vibe but without the Kardashian/Jenners.

What to expect: With more than 60 bands each year, Shaky Knees is an indie-rock-lover’s dream with rock legends alongside up-and-coming bands. This festival also offers amenities like cell phone charging stations, photo booths, and good ole southern BBQ.


Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival

Where: Manchester, TN
Dates: June 8-June 11, 2017
Ticket Price: $274.50-$554.50

Headliners: U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Flume, Lorde, The XX, Travis Scott, Cage the Elephant, Tove Lo, Tegan and Sara, Marshmello, The Head and the Heart and more

What to wear: Cowboy boots and 1940’s pin up hair, ball caps and dresses, pastel punk, or flannel. Everything goes at Bonaroo. Because of the diverse lineup, its attendees dress according to their inner rockstar.

What to expect: Bonaroo is different from the other festivals because you never have to leave. Instead of driving home or to a hotel after a long day of music and sun, bond with the community of fellow festival-lovers around you. Pitch a tent and attend activities like a 5k or yoga. Pitch a tent and relax in The Grove. Forget something? You can probably purchase it at the community store. Bonaroo is a four day living experience.


Hangout Music Fest

Where: Gulf Shores, AL
Dates: May 19-May 21, 2017
Ticket Price: $309-$1599

Headliners: Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, Major Lazer, Weezer, DJ Snake, MGMT, Marshmello, Band of Horses, Lukas Graham, Young the Giant, Charlie XCX and more

What to wear: Rain or shine, bring your beach waves, sunglasses, flip flops, your suit and your swimmies!

What to expect: This festival is all about listening to your favorite music with your toes in the sand. On the beach of Gulf Shores, this festival is literally a huge party on a beach— complete with beach balls, bathing suits, and beats.

Rachel Vanderford
Rachel Vanderford

Rachel Vanderford is a senior Integrated Marketing Communication major. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, listening to punk rock music and playing with her cat, Dinah.