The niche music festival has always existed, but in recent years, it’s only grown in popularity. Perhaps due to a change in consumer tastes, or the fact that the main festival circuit is getting more and more expensive (and more and more identical) — either way, we’ve officially entered the era of the niche music festival. Every year, new festivals dedicated to specific genres, subcultures, and even eras of music are popping up (with Goldenvoice, the company behind Coachella, organizing several of them), proving that smaller, more specific festivals might be the best move if you’re going to spend 10 hours outside in a concentrated space with strangers. As the field of available options and experiences expands, it can be overwhelming to keep track, or even know what’s out there. Below, NYLON has rounded up 19 of the best niche music festivals out there right now — from a one-day fest dedicated specifically to ‘80s new wave, to a Halloween-themed goth festival — for every type of person.
For the Gen X Punkers (of body or spirit)
What: Cruel World Festival
When: Saturday, May 20, 2023
Where: Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA
Who’s all performing: Siouxsie, Iggy Pop, Billy Idol, The Human League, and many more blasts from the ‘80s are confirmed to perform, with many making their first festival appearances in decades. Siouxsie, for example, will play her first North American show in 15 years.
How to buy tickets: GA passes start at $179 excluding fees. Purchase tickets on Cruel World’s website.
For lovers of R&B’s past, present, & future
What: Lovers & Friends
When: Saturday, May 6, 2023
Where: Las Vegas Festival Grounds in Las Vegas, NV
Who’s all performing: Missy Elliott, Mariah Carey, and Usher are headlining this blowout festival with additional performances from Christina Aguilera, Miguel, Lil Kim, Eve, Boyz II Men, and many more. You can’t go wrong.
How to buy tickets: Tickets for the 2023 edition are currently sold out — but you can try your luck at the secondhand market and put your name on the waitlist here.
For the alt heads on Tumblr in 2012
What: Just Like Heaven
When: Saturday, May 13, 2023
Where: Brookside at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA
Who’s all performing: Yeah Yeah Yeahs headline this indie lover’s festival with additional performances from MGMT (performing Oracular Spectacular in full for the first time!), M83, Future Islands, Empire of the Sun, Caribou, Fever Ray, Azealia Banks, and more.
How to buy tickets: GA passes start at $189 excluding fees. Purchase tickets here.
For the nature-loving indie fans
What: Echoland Music Festival
When: May 11-13, 2023
Where: Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park & Campground in Live Oak, FL
Who’s all performing: Tyler Childers, Vulfpeck, Phil Lesh & Friends, 100 gecs, Tenacious D, Nile Rodgers & Chic, The Flaming Lips, YOLA, Dayglow, and Badbadnotgood are among a slew of artists set to perform at this truly eclectic, alt-minded festival.
How to buy tickets: GA passes with a “primative camping” option start at $289. Purchase here.
For the Gen Zs that missed Warped Tour
What: Sad Summer Fest
When: July 6-29, 2023
Where: Sad Summer Fest will take over venues across various states throughout the U.S. See the full tour schedule here.
Who’s all performing: Taking Back Sunday, The Maine, PVRIS, Hot Mulligan, Mom Jeans, and Stand Atlantic will play the roving rock festival sponsored by Journeys and Converse.
How to buy tickets: Depending on the venue and date, tickets start at around $40. Purchase via Ticketmaster.
For everyone who couldn’t get into Coachella
What: Hangout Festival
When: May 19-21, 2023
Where: On the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama
Who’s all performing: Of course, nothing can really replicate the sheer scale of Coachella, but Hangout Festival’s 2023 slate comes close with some major heavy hitters like SZA, Calvin Harris, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Paramore, Lil Nas X, Flume, Skrillex, The Kid Laroi and more.
How to buy tickets: A three-day general admission pass starts at $319 excluding fees. Purchase here.
For the pop, punk, and pop-punk devotees
What: Adjacent Festival
When: Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, 2023
Where: On the beach in Atlantic City, NJ
Who’s all performing: Paramore and Blink-182 headline this pop-punk nostalgia festival with additional performances from Turnstile, Japanese Breakfast, Bleachers, Jimmy Eat World, Coheed & Cambria, and more.
How to buy tickets: GA Single-day tickets start at $189 while two-day passes start at $359. Purchase on Adjacent Festival’s website.
For the musicians looking to vibe and network
What: Kerrville Folk Festival
When: May 25 - June 11, 2023
Where: Quiet Valley Ranch near Kerrville, Texas
Who’s all performing: Famously Adrianne Lenker’s favorite festival, this year’s event features performances from Anais Mitchell, Ley Line, The Brother Brothers, songwriting competitions, mentorship opportunites, and more.
How to buy tickets: The 18-day full package begins at $650. Find more ticket options and purchase here.
For the bourbon, horse, and country lovers
What: Railbird Festival
When: June 3-4, 2023
Where: The Infield At Red Mile in Lexington, KY.
Who’s all performing: Zach Bryan, Tyler Childers, Weezer, Marcus Mumford, Sheryl Crow and more will perform among bourbon tastings and horse shows.
How to buy tickets: Tickets for Railbird Festival 2023 are sold out, but you can join the waitlist or purchase from verified resellers here.
For London warehouse ravers
What: Field Day
When: August 19, 2023
Where: Victoria Park, London
Who’s all performing: Aphex Twin and Bonobo headline this dance music extravaganza with additional sets from Arca, Fever Ray, Jayda G, Jon Hopkins, Kelela, Sudan Archives, TSHA, Juliana Huxtable, and more.
How to buy tickets: GA starts at £75.00 (approx. $93) plus £9.80 ($13) booking fee. Purchase here.
For the “open the pit” screamers
What: Oblivion Access Festival
When: June 15-18, 2023
Where: Multiple venues across Austin, TX
Who’s all performing: Godflesh and Tim Hecker headline the festival with artists like Lil Ugly Mane, RXK Nephew, Ludicra, Yob, Final, Mamaleek, Jerome’s Dream, Bosse De Nage, Sissy Spacek, Lucas Abela, and more on the bill.
How to buy tickets: The multi-venue pass for all three days starts at $262.
For stans of sports and music, in that order
What: Super Bowl Music Fest
When: Feb. 9-11, 2023
Where: Footprint Center in Phoenix, AZ.
Who’s all performing: Paramore, Bleachers, Imagine Dragons, Kane Brown, Dave Matthews Band, and DJ Pee .Wee (Anderson .Paak all vinyl set) will perform — and then you can enjoy the big game.
How to buy tickets: Depending on the day and artist, tickets start at around $50 on Ticketmaster.
For the free spirits wanting a lakeside version of Electric Forest
When: March 2-5, 2023
Where: Sunshine Grove in Okeechobee, FL
Who’s all performing: Odesza, Griz, Baby Keem, and Excision are headlining the free-spirited and genre-spanning lineup, including acts like Lil Yachty, Earth, Wind & Fire, Princess Nokia, Big Boi, Turnstile, Free Nationals, Local Natives, and more.
How to buy tickets: Four-day GA passes start at $349 excluding fees. Purchase here.
For festival goers that also want to tour the Bay Area
What: Noise Pop Festival
When: Feb. 20-26, 2023
Where: Multiple venues across the San Francisco Bay Area
Who’s all performing: Yo La Tengo, Boy Harsher, Duster, STRFKR, Junglepussy, Jacques Greene, Uniiqu3, Spellling, and 80+ more acts will play throughout the festival’s eight days.
How to buy tickets: GA badges starting at $205 are on sale now.
For the beach bums who also wanna please their parents
What: Beachlife Festival
When: May 5-7, 2023
Where: Rodondo Beach, CA
Who’s all performing: The Black Keys, Gwen Stefani, The Black Crowes, Pixies, Modest Mouse, The Head and the Heart, Aly & AJ, Shwayze, Tegan & Sarah, Noah Cyrus, and more make up this genre- and age-agnostic festival.
How to buy tickets: Three-day GA starts at $399.
For the *actual* music discovery freaks
When: March 8-12, 2023
Where: Various venues across NYC’s lower east side
Who’s all performing: This festival dedicated to showcasing the best of the world’s emerging artists right now confirmed performances from 36?, Boy With Apple, Claudia Bouvette, Data Animal, Fears, French Cansettes, Sobs, and more.
How to buy tickets: Badges are on sale now on DICE for $123.60.
For the EDMers looking to chill
What: CRSSD Spring Festival
When: March 4-5, 2023
Where: Waterfront Park in San Diego, CA
Who’s all performing: Odesza, Polo & Pan, Bedouin, Channel Tres, Luna Li, Kavinsky, Yelle, Becky Hill, Biig Piig, and more are slated to play this waterside house and techno festival.
How to buy tickets: Two-day tickets are currently sold out. Limited single-day tickets go on sale soon here.
For the millennials still not over their emo days
What: Bamboozle Festival
When: May 5-7, 2023
Where: Bader Field in Atlantic City, NJ
Who’s all performing: Limp Bizkit, Rick Ross, Flyleaf, Steve Aoki, Ice Spice, May Day Parade, Finch, Trippie Redd, and Yung Gravy are but a few of the artists on the expansive line-up for Bamboozle, the iconic festival’s first event since 2012.
How to buy tickets: Three-day general admission starts at $355.70.
For the euro goths who love halloween
When: Oct. 27-29, 2023
Where: Whitby Pavilion in the U.K.
Who’s all performing: The full lineup is still being rolled out, but The 69 Eyes, The March Violets, Theatre of Hate, Salvation, Westenra, have all been announced as performers.
How to buy tickets: Pre-sale weekend tickets start at £90.20 including fees (approx. $112). Purchase here.
For the traveling EDM heads
What: Breakaway Festival
When: May - Oct 2023, depending on location
Where: Various venues in North Carolina, Michigan, Ohio, Nor Cal, and more.
Who’s all performing: This roving festival visiting various states throughout the U.S. this summer is bringing EDM giants to the masses, thanks to headliners including Illennium, Tiësto, Zedd, Porter Robinson, Flume, and many more. See all the lineups here.
How to buy tickets: Purchase tickets now on the festival’s website. Two-day passes, depending on location, start at around $100.
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