The Best Music Festivals in New York City

The Best Music Festivals in New York City

Just as eagerly as New Yorkers turn out for ice skating and hot chocolate in winter, the USA's biggest city supports an amazing set of music festivals all year round.

From The Governors Ball and Electric Zoo to Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival and AFROPUNK, NYC has a thriving music scene, with an abundance of electronic, rock and pop music festivals at the very heart of that. Here are the best on offer.

The Governors Ball Music Festival

Headliners (2017)
: Chance The Rapper, Phoenix, Tool, Lorde

With a reputation on par with Coachella and Bonnaroo, The Governors Ball Music Festival, or GovBall to natives, invites the very best artists from the worlds of rock, pop, electronic and hip-hop to play against the stunning backdrop of the shimmering city skyline. Described by Consequence of Sound as understanding how to "draw a crowd that genuinely cares about live music", the festival has become one of the most popular in not just the city, but the entire country. 

When & where: 1-3 June 2018, Randall's Island Park, New York City

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Electric Zoo

Headliners (2017)
: Bassnectar, Tiësto, Hardwell, Claptone

Another resident of Randall's Island Park, Electric Zoo focuses solely on dance music and has begun teaming up with ID&T, the creative minds behind Tomorrowland and Mysteryland, to showcase an acute selection of the scene's wide variety of sub-genres. Four Tet, Joy Orbison, David Guetta, Armin van Buuren and Bonobo are among Electric Zoo's recent guests.

When & where: Labor Day Weekend, September 2018, Randall's Island Park, New York City

Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

Headliners (2017)
: Bas, Cozz, DJ Rob Swift, DMX

Since 2005, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival has established itself as a voice for positive social change, borne out of the history and power of the music that fills its lineups. With the iconic Brooklyn Bridge looming close by, some of the greatest names of the genre highlight the artistic progression and community that only gets stronger each year.

When & where: July 2018, Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Meadows Music & Arts Festival

: Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz

Brand new in 2016, The Meadows Music & Arts Festival has already claimed its place on the NYC cityscape with star-studded lineups that reach across rap, pop, rock and electronic music. Brought into being by the team behind the Governors Ball, it's one hell of an end-of-summer closing party for the season.

When & where: 15-17 September 2017, Citi Field


Headliners (2017)
: SZA, Michael Kiwanuka, Gary Clark Jr, Kaytranada

The New York Times has described Afropunk as "the most multicultural festival in the US", and it's easy to see why. A reflection of New York's urban diversity, the festival mixes live music, vibrant art and good vibes together in a celebration of black and alternative culture. 

When & where: August 2018, Brooklyn

Panorama NYC

Headliners (2017)
: Frank Ocean, Tame Impala, A Tribe Called Quest, Nine Inch Nails 

With two editions already behind it, Panorama NYC adds a multi-genre weekend to the city's festival calendar, backed by the might of the Coachella team. It's a slick production, with lineups reliably filled with many of the biggest names around.

When & where: July 2018, Randall's Island Park

Summer Jam

Headliners (2017)
: Chris Brown, Fat Joe & Remy Ma, Migos, Desiigner

The brainchild of local hip-hop station Hot 97, Summer Jam is all about those fresh and so clean artists. Now two decades old, the festival has become one of, if not the most popular hip-hop and pop festival in NYC. Brooklyn's own Notorious B.I.G and Nicki Minaj are among those to have graced the festival's stages, and New York hip-hop fans now look to Summer Jam to keep up to date in the scene.  

When & where: June/July 2018, East Rutherford, New Jersey


Headliners (2017)
: Dirty Projectors, Miguel, Kamasi Washington, Thursday

Northside is a week-long festival centred around music, film screenings and talks. It has become a point of discovery for New Yorkers, inviting enthusiasts, creators and innovators to come and discover the most exciting emerging artists alongside the latest trends in music, film and tech. Northside is for anyone wanting to keep their finger on the pulse.

When & where: June 2018, Brooklyn

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