4 Can't-Miss Music Festivals to Hit this Spring

Lenny Kravitz at NOLA Jazz Fest - GETTY - P 2016
Jeff Kravitz / Contributor

Because Coachella's not for everyone.

With its notable celebrity cameos (Kanye West, Rihanna) and anticipated reunions (LCD Soundsystem), Coachella 2016 is scene-stealing. Attracting nearly 600,000 attendees and grossing $78.3 million last year according to Billboard, the epic festivities officially wrap after this weekend — but the festival buzz is still going strong for spring.

A handful of millennial-fueled outdoor music and arts fess have quickly gained Coachella momentum with dozens of top-name performers, notable subcultures and plenty of good vibes, man.


The musician performed at New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

More than 500 jazz fests take place every year across the globe, but New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival has the most panache. The annual celebration merging jazz with NOLA culture has hosted some of the genre's best performers since 1970 — including Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin, Patti LaBelle and B.B. King — and attracts half a million visitors for nine days.

While the main acts are a far departure from the jazz fests of yore (headliners this year include Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Young, Beck, Nick Jonas, Elvis Costello and more), it’s still rooted in local culture with Southern/Cajun food, Creole art and culture and NOLA-themed marketplaces. Celebrities like Woody Harrelson, Jude Law and Craig Robinson have attended.

Where to stay: Ritz Carlton New Orleans

Located inside the landmark 11908 Beaux Arts Maison Blanche building, Ritz Carlton New Orleans received a $2 million exterior facade restoration last year, and the Ritz Carlton Club Lounge is arguably the company’s best. It is furnished with chandeliers, antiques and centuries-old paintings. The hotel is close to Three Muses, where Bill Murray was serenaded with the Ghostbusters theme song by a live jazz band. 921 Canal Street; 504-524-1331

Where to eat: Shaya

Since opening last year on Magazine Street, Shaya was deemed America’s best new restaurant by many critics, including Esquire, for creative, modern Israeli cuisine. Executive chef Alon Shaya also nabbed James Beard winner for Best Chef: South 2015. Reservations are required. 4213 Magazine Street; 504-891-4213

What to do: Stroll Magazine Street 

If you’ve already visited the French Quarter for the hundredth time, stroll Magazine Street in the Garden District. It’s become a magnet for the hip crowd with boutiques, restaurants, outdoor cafes and galleries. Independent designers like Warby Parker, Kit + Ace and Kendra Scott all opened in the past year alone. The recently opened Ace Hotel will offer Jazz Fest programming that includes a jam session with PJ Morton in its music venue, Three Keys, and a Q&A brunch with George Clinton at on-site Stumptown


Guests at Stagecoach 2015. (Photo: Getty Images)

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Stagecoach has become a force to be reckoned with, attracting country music enthusiasts with Wild West-themed activities, country-inspired dining and the best performers in the genre.

Stagecoach is the third top music festival in the world, grossing $22 million annually with 225,000 people attending the three-day event. Acts including Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan and Eric Church will headline this year, and such A-listers as Ashton Kutcher, Reese Witherspoon and Mila Kunis have attended.

Where to stay: Chateau at Lake La Quinta

After a $4 million renovation, The Chateau at Lake La Quinta has become a magnet for the Hollywood set, thanks to its secluded grounds, spacious suites and level of intimacy. Located right on a glimmering lake, the resort is a playground for bold-faced names like Leonardo DiCaprio, Nicole Ritchie and the Madden Brothers, who have been spotted at its restaurant and private events. 78-120 Caleo Bay; 760-564-7332

Where to eat: Workshop Kitchen + Bar

Workshop is the most contemporary restaurant in Palm Springs and helped pave the modern culinary movement. It recently became a James Beard Award recipient for Best Restaurant Design. Celebs including Rebel Wilson and Zac Efron have been spotted here. 800 N. Palm Canyon Drive; 760-459-3451 

What to do: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway gives an impressive lay of the land at an elevation of 8,500 feet. It is the world’s largest rotating tramcar with 360-degree views of the desert. One Tram Way, 888-525-8726


 Stefani performed with No Doubt at BottleRock 2015. (Photo: Getty Images) 

BottleRock Napa Valley is like Coachella’s younger competitive brother. Festgoers can choose more premium seating beyond VIP, like VIP Plus Skydeck with 30-guest suites and a Platinum Experience that allows onstage viewing platforms and artist meet-ups.

Naturally, dozens of local wineries are featured, and the valley’s best restaurants (Morimoto, Bouchon, Meadowood) feed the concertgoers. This year, Stevie Wonder, Florence + The Machine and Red Hot Chili Peppers will headline. The three-day event has already sold out, but BottleRock partners with Lyte, a ticket-exchange platform that allows fans to buy or exchange tickets for sold-out events. Miles Teller, Ashley Benson, Marisa Miller and Tony Hawk have all attended. 

Where to stay: Meadowood

Meadowood is unarguably the preferred resort for the A-list (Ryan Seacrest celebrated his 40th birthday here last year with such friends as Kim Kardashian, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson). The rustic, five-star property features spacious suites, a three-Michelin-starred restaurant and a brand-new, stand-alone spa. 900 Meadowood Lane; 707-531-4788

Where to eat: Press

Press is a contemporary restaurant known for immaculate steaks (procured from legendary butcher Brian Flannery) and is generally packed with affluent visitors. Expect farm-fresh dishes and an impressive wine list. 587 St. Helena Highway; 707-967-0550

What to do: Francis Ford Coppola Winery pool

Chill out at Francis Ford Coppola Winery, the only winery with an outdoor pool. Cocktails and wine cocktails with FFC blends (like Clarita and Rosso & Peaches) are served. 300 Via Archimedes; 707-857-1471



A photo posted by FORM (@experienceform) on

Dubbed “the festival of the future” and even “anti-festival,” FORM Arcosanti is an arts, performance and music microfest outside Scottsdale, Ariz., that has a capacity of 1,200. A combination of Coachella, Burning Man and glamping, the event fosters a community of creatives who hike, build installations, do yoga and dance in Arcosanti, an “urban laboratory” built by Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice Paolo Soleri.

Glamping packages include all meals and accommodations in modern tents with electricity — though for general admission, visitors must apply to participate. Indie rock bands and electronic music performers including Skrillex, Bonobo and Four Tet will headline. Director Doug Aitken will host a screening of his latest film Station to Station and speak as part of the cultural programming from NeueHouse (along with GQ editor Michael Hainey and comedian Zach Anner). 

Where to Stay: Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

If you’re not glamping at FORM, check into Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North, just an hour drive from Arcosanti. The AAA, Five-Diamond property offers 210 spacious casitas and suites, two outdoor pools and an award-winning spa along 40 acres of desert blooms. Extra TV correspondent Adrianna Costa got married here in 2013. 10600 East Crescent Moon Drive; 480-515-5700

Where to Eat: Citizen Public House

This contemporary restaurant inside a former Trader Vic's serves up award-winning American comfort foods. Actors Aziz Ansari and Tommy 'Tiny' Lister have dined here. 7111 East 5th Street; 480-398-4208

What to do: Hike Camelback Mountain

Due to its shape like a kneeling camel, Camelback Mountain has become iconic in the desert. Two trails ascend the mountain, though there are dozens of leisurely trails for all types of hikers.