Oh, how I wish I was going to Coachella. I've never been this otherworldly gathering of artists, fashionistas and music lovers — let alone the west coast. But my God, if I could snap my fingers and be lying in the warm grass, beer in hand, listening to my favorite bands while the California sun kisses my freckled cheeks, I certainly would.
But this is reality, and big 'ol New York City just slapped me in the face with its cold, hard hands. It looked me straight in the eyes and reminded me that I don't have enough money or enough time to drop everything and travel across the country for a bucket list event.
Therefore, I did not spend a majority of my savings on a plane ticket to LAX and romp around the mystical grounds of Coachella Valley with people who share the same heavy-hearted appreciation for creativity as I do.
Instead, I'll spent the weekend barhopping in Brooklyn. It's the second best thing. But, let's face it: It's not Coachella. If you're on the same boat as me, chillin' on the east coast and unable to attend big Cali weekend, have no fear. No matter where you are, there are tons of festivals within driving distance that are a complete blast. You'll be able to get your festival on this summer without hopping on a cross-country flight.
Of course, these are only a few that would be ideal for those living in the Northeast to attend. But if you're feeling adventurous (which I hope you are), do some research and find your favorite. There are literally hundreds of them — big and small — and they're calling your name.
Hopefully, I can restore your hope if you weren't able to hop on the Coachella train (I mean, plane). Here are five music festivals you should attend, my east coast babes:
1. Governors Ball (Randall's Island, NYC)
Ah, Gov Ball. If I'm not mistaken, almost every single New Yorker I have come into contact with throughout my seven months of living here has gone to Gov Ball and loved every second of it.
Not only is the festival accessible by subways, busses, ferries, shuttles, cars and your own two feet, the lineup is f*cking amazing and totally worth the adventure through the Big Apple. I know Kanye will be happy to see you there.
2. Northside Festival (Brooklyn, NYC)
I can't even explain how excited I was to discover this existence of this Brooklyn-born music, art and innovation festival right in my own backyard. Not only is the lineup completely diverse and features highly respected musicians from old eras and new (ahem, Brian Wilson), but the festival will also be offering live art expos, workshops, speakers and interactive installations for goers to learn from and enjoy. Pretty cool, huh?
3. Firefly Music Festival (Dover, Delaware)
Firefly will always be a festival I'll hold very close to my heart. It was the first festival I ever attended as a little 18-year-old who had no idea what was in store for her. This festival helped me discover a new side of myself that was open to forming new relationships with like-minded creatives who loved and respected the same types of music that I did.
Now, I know what you're thinking: It's in Delaware. But depending on where you are in the Northeast, it's only a car ride away, and I swear to you, it will be worth it. Plus, their headliners are diverse and each night provides a different vibe for the crowd. Basically, you're going to jam to Mumford & Sons and dance to Deadmau5 in the same weekend.
4. Mountain Jam (Hunter Mountain, New York)
To my fellow indie, folk and rock lovers: Mountain Jam is the festival for you. In fact, if you're going, know in the back of your musical little minds that I am extremely jealous. The bands who are playing this festival are some of the most passionate players I have ever heard and seen live.
With headliners like The Avett Brothers, Beck, Wilco and Gov't Mule, you won't be disappointed. In fact, you'll be dancing and singing. You'll be smiling so much that your mouth will probably start to hurt (in a good way, I promise).
5. Boston Calling (Boston, Massachusetts)
This festival is perfect for the music lover who wants to take a weekend trip that's not too far and not too close and of course, not too expensive. Although the lineup isn't as broad as some of the other festivals on the east coast, Boston Calling is short but sweet. The artists on the roster are well worth the road trip, and the talent is diverse. From Sia to Sufjan Stevens, and ODESZA to City and Colour, there's something for everyone.
After reading about all of your alternative festival options, I hope you pick your favorite one, plan a weekend with your friends, hop in the car and go. Maybe next year you'll plan for Coachella, but in the meantime, experience your local options and make it happen.
Happy music festival season.