The giants of Ultra Music Festival (UMF), Electric Forest, and EDC may grab all the headlines (though not always for the right reasons), but the grand old US of A is full of incredible EDM and dance music festivals of all shapes and sizes. Here's a look at 10 that truly stand out from the crowd.
10. Countdown NYE
Headliners (2017): deadmau5, Diplo, Yellow Claw, W&W
There are few better ways to welcome in the new year than at a huge Insomniac party. Brought to San Bernardino by the incredible minds behind Electric Daisy Carnival, Nocturnal Wonderland, Escape, Life is Beautiful, Dreamstate and Middlelands, Countdown lays on star-studded lineups across three rooms, backed up by top-level production and EDC-style dress wherever you look.
When & where: 30-31 December 2018, NOS Events Center, California
#9 Imagine Festival
Headliners (2018): Above & Beyond, deadmau5, Tiësto
Stepping up into the breach left by TomorrowWorld, Imagine Festival moved from late-August to late-September, taking its all-absorbing party up another notch. EDM, dubstep, house and techno blend into close-up performers and wandering circus troupes, all projecting a dreamlike world that organisers describe as an "aquatic fairytale".
When & where: 21-23 September 2018, Atlanta Motor Speedway, Georgia
#8 What The Festival
Headliners (2017): Zhu, Cut Copy, Gramatik
What The Festival may forever be weighed down by comparisons to the almighty, media-adored Burning Man. A lavishly imaginative arts and music festival should perhaps expect nothing less, but in truth WTF has crafted a creative character all of its own over the last six years. Reasonably low-key lineups help to keep the focus on the extra-curricular, with one of six stages based in the Pacific Northwest's largest wading pool.
What The Festival took a year off in 2018, but have promised to return in 2019.
When & where: June 2019 (TBC), Wolf Run Ranch, Oregon
#7 Movement Electronic Music Festival
Headliners (2018): Luciano, Maceo Plex, Nina Kraviz
The birthplace of techno will celebrate the 13th anniversary of Movement Electronic Music Festival in 2019, though the festival's roots go all the way back to the turn of the millennium. Detroit Electronic Music Festival ran from 2000-2005, but the city with an electronic soul found a way to keep the party going – even taking it to Turin, Italy.
#6 Nocturnal Wonderland
Headliners (2018): Deorro, Netsky, MK, Boombox Cartel
Labor Day weekend hosts another of Insomniac's sparkle-eyed and colour-soaked parties. As the night closes in, the world transforms all around you into a fairytale of great electronic music and heart-stopping performers everywhere you look. From big-room house to underground techno, each impressive stage brings a beat for every taste, while the Wonderland itself never fails to live up to its name.
When & where: 14-15 September 2018, San Bernardino, California
#5 Electric Zoo
Headliners (2018): Marshmello, Martin Garrix, Tiësto
Randall's Island, East Manhattan, parks a full-scale electronic festival right in the heart of New York City. Stadium EDM, proper techno and avant-garde house all stand side-by-side, somehow keeping Electric Zoo an intimate, almost personal affair.
When & where: 31 August - 2 September 2018, NYC, New York
#4 Escape: Psycho Circus
Headliners (2017): Tiësto, Afrojack, DJ Snake, Eric Prydz
If you think about it, Halloween and EDM are a match made in heaven. Both love atmospheric lights, glow in the dark art, dressing up and partying hard, so it only makes sense to combine the two. The biggest Halloween party in SoCal, Escape: Psycho Circus has four stages of the biggest DJs, haunted labyrinths, interactive art installations, roaming circus performers and more.
#3 Electric Forest
Headliners (2018): The String Cheese Incident, Bassnectar, Galantis, Marshmello
Absorbed in a thousand twinkling lights and transformed into a spectacular fantasy by countless art installations and travelling performance troupes, Electric Forest's woodland home takes the colour-explosion of the festival's visual shows and spreads it across the whole site. Electric Forest is firmly established as North America's alternative electronic superpower.
#2 Ultra Music Festival
Headliners (2018): Armin van Buuren, The Chainsmokers, Tiësto, David Guetta
Kicking off festival season with a bang, you could easily make a case for Ultra Music Festival being the best festival in the country.
When & where: 29 March - 1 April 2019, Miami, Florida
#1 Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas
Headliners (2018): Armin van Buuren, Diplo, Eric Prydz, Martin Garrix
North America's Tomorrowland, EDC Las Vegas is an immersive experience up there with the best in the world. Taking place in Sin City, both artists and audience are ready to party, and it shows. A stacked lineup, ridiculous light shows and pyrotechnics, a plethora of unannounced special guests and a massive glow in the dark site waiting to be explored are all standard issue at EDC's flagship festival. Put it on the bucket list already.
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