Top 10 Hip Hop Festivals in the USA


In the wise words of one Mr. Kanye West, "We culture! Rap the new rock and roll!"

Whether that's true or not (it is) is not the point. Hip hop is the States' last great gift to the world, so it only makes sense that they celebrate it properly.

Here are the top 10 festivals to get your hip hop fix.


SXSW: South By Southwest

 

Headliners (2018): Action Bronson, Bun B, Princess Nokia

Obviously much more than a hip hop festival, SXSW is one of the world's premier creative hubs. Featuring conferences, speeches and festivals for various art forms, its central purpose is to give a platform to up-and-coming artists.

Hundreds of showcases are spread across Austin. If you want to get a sense of where music is heading in the near future, get yourself to SXSW.

When & Where:  8-17 March 2018, Austin, Texas

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Rolling Loud Festival

 

Headliners (2018):  Travis Scott, Future, J Cole

The biggest hip hop festival in the world, Rolling Loud is a rap head's mecca. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that it is the first lineup of the new line of influential headliners and energetic newcomers.

Much like Tomorrowland for EDM or Hellfest for metal, Rolling Loud's annual lineup poster is essentially a portrayal of the hip hop's current hierarchy.

When & Where:  10-12 May 2019, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami

Rolling Loud 2019 Guide / Join the Mailing List



The Governors Ball Music Festival

 

Headliners: Tyler, The Creator, Florence + the Machine, The Strokes

Another multi-genre festival, hip hop has been central to Governors Ball since day one. Childish Gambino in 2017, one of only two appearances on the year for the elusive rapper.

Taking over Randall's Island in New York City, Gov. Ball is the city's most established large scale festival. 

When & Where: 31 May - 2 June 2019, Randall's Island Park, New York

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The Roots Picnic

 

Headliners: The Roots, Lil Uzi Vert, The Diplomats

Celebrating its 10th edition in 2017, The Roots Picnic is your favourite rapper's favourite festival. Essentially just a chance for hometown heroes The Roots to play music with their famously talented friends, the festival has a gleefully celebratory atmosphere.

The Roots play their own headlining set and act as a backing band for others, so the festival is a unique chance to see some of the biggest names in hop hop perform together.

When & Where: 2 June 2018, Festival Pier, Philadelphia



Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival

 

Headliners (2017): Rakim, DMX, The Lox

Brooklyn and hip hop go together like Jay-Z and number one albums. Sorry that wasn't a great metaphor, but the point is that the New York borough is inextricably linked with hip hop culture. So it's only right that it should host one of the genre's realest festivals.

Celebrating the culture's artistic influence and ability to be a vehicle for social change, Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival has welcomed many of the genre's true legends since it began in 2005.

When & Where: 9-12 July 2018, The Planet of Brooklyn, New York



FYF Fest

 

Headliners: Janet Jackson, Future, The xx

Short for F*ck Yeah Fest, the name kind of says it all (yes, the second 'fest' in the title is redundant). Showcasing some of the most progressive talent across a variety of genres, the festival is a haven for artistry.

Though not as big Coachella, FYF Fest's lineup is uncompromising and more focussed on the music. Expanding to three days in 2017, the festival delves deep into hip hop, featuring acts you won't find at other multi-genre affairs. 

When & Where: FYF Fest 2018 has been cancelled. As of yet there is no word on whether the festival will continuing moving forward. 



Made In America

 

Headliners (2017): Jay-Z, J. Cole, The Chainsmokers

Founded by Jay-Z, aka the greatest rapper of all time (yes that's right, I said it), Made In America is kind of like the more professional version of The Roots Picnic. And interestingly enough they both take place in Philly.

The lineup is a balance between some of the biggest acts in the world and Jigga's famous friends. You can bet on there being a slue of unannounced appearances, too.   

When & Where: 1-2 September 2018, Philadelphia



Day N Night

 

Headliners (2017): Kendrick Lamar, Chance The Rapper, Travis Scott

With only two editions under its belt, Day N Night is tied for the youngest festival to make this list. The first year had a few logistical issues, but thankfully these were worked out in 2017.

What makes this one so good is its disregard for paying lip service to legacy acts that are past their prime. Instead, Day N Night purely reps rap's new golden era and is all the better for it. 

When & Where: TBA September 2018, Angel Stadium, Orange County

 


The Meadows Music & Arts Festival

 

Headliners (2017): Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Gorillaz

The other youngster to make the cut, The Meadows Music & Arts Fest really knows how to make an entrance. Known as Gov Ball in the Fall for being put on by the same team as NYC's OG multi-genre fest, Meadows' first year will forever be remembered for when Kanye stopped his headlining set after finding out Kim had just been robbed in Paris. 

When & Where: TBA September 2018, Queens, New York

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Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival

 

Headliners (2017): Tyler, The Creator, Mac Miller, Kid Cudi

Created and hosted by Odd Future alum Tyler, The Creator, Camp Flog Gnaw is an experience. Tyler had one night. Tyler had one night. 

Growing bigger and bigger each year, the festival has moved from a quirky boutique to a full on, heavy hitting festival. 

When & Where: TBA October 2018, Exhibition Park, Los Angeles

 


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