What goes with the summer temperatures better than hot music festivals? Music festivals, once created with a hippie posterchild in mind, have evolved throughout the years into a welcoming opportunity for all music lovers to enjoy their favorite celebrities or local entertainment. You may already know about Cochella, where the A-listers come out to play under the sun every April in California. There’s also the Essence Music Festival; New Orleans’ showcase of the best and brightest in R & B. In fact, there are countless US-based festivals and you may not have heard of several of them. Many of them are happening right under your nose, and right under the Mason-Dixon line. Read on to learn about four Southern music festivals in Tuscaloosa, Gainesville and other Southern cities.
Pack your bags and don’t forget the sunblock and comfy shoes! Ready to explore our favorite four Southern under the radar music festivals?
Four Under The Radar Southern Music Festivals
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Tuscaloosa is home to the Druid City Arts Festival (DCAF) and our first Southern Music Festivals. This is an event featuring all types of art, including music. When student from the University of Alabama wanted to come up with a way to expose the arts to the residents of Tuscaloosa, they probably had no idea that the weekend would celebrate its 8th anniversary this year! The DCAF is free to attend, and with wallet-friendly accommodations at the Masters Inn Tuscaloosa, your visit to Tuscaloosa for the weekend is sure to be an affordable one. The Masters Inn is a no-frills property — with a pool — that is perfect for festival attendees who plan to spend most of their weekend taking in the DCAF.
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There is no better name for Gainesville’s emerging festival, than The Fest, a five-day-long festival highlighting underground musicians. The 15-year anniversary is almost here and Fest organizers expect over 10,000 underground music lovers will dance the night away. Because of this, The Fest had no choice but to expand beyond Gainesville; October 26th and 27th the event will take place in Ybor City, leaving the remaining and three days in Gainesville (October 28th, 29th, and 30th). Book your hotel stay right away. The host hotel, Holiday Inn Gainesville — University Center, may sell out faster than a summer concert starring you favorite artist!
Marco Island, Florida
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Another Florida-based festival comes to music lovers by way of charitable efforts of three Marco Island organizations: the Sunrise Rotary Club, the Noontime Rotary Club and the Kiwanis Club. Make plans to attend the 2017 Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival in March, when the weather is perfect there — and still chilly everywhere else on the Eastcoast! Bring an appetite as this event features seafood for all, from crab cakes to stone crab to chowder. In between shrimp and song, stay at the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort Golf Club & Spa. For the perfect room with a view, request an ocean-view suite. (But, with Marco Island’s Gulf of Mexico location, all scenery surrounding the hotel is simply perfect!)
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About 20 minutes from Dallas is Irving, and the Irving Main Street festival, where the Heritage District turns into a full-on block party each September. The festival is a family-friendly event offering free rides and games for the kids, free admission, and live music. Stop by the car show or dip into a vendor shop to make your weekend complete. Stay at NYLO Irving/Las Colinas where trendsetting style meets southern comfort. (Tip: Part of Irving is nestled near Dallas/Fort Worth International, in case you are trying to pick which Dallas airport to fly into.)
Bonus: Fajardo, Puerto Rico
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Why not travel even further south, to Puerto Rico? In case you need a reason to visit this U.S. paradise, Fajardo, located on the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, is host to Fiestas Patronales Y Carnaval Fajardeno (Festivies and Carnival Fajardo). To celebrate the Patron Saint James the Apostle, (otherwise known as Saint James the Moor-slayer) the Public Square Fajardo transforms into a Caribbean fiesta annually in July. Keep the party going at Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, nestled on the beach and near a rainforest! With a spa, a poolside bar and waterfall shower, an extended Fajardo stay is highly recommended. However, the city views aren’t too shabby; Fajardo has blue waters for miles — snorkeling is highly recommended! — along with peaceful beach escapes, for those looking for the quintessential alternative to the hustle and bustle of San Juan. Looking for more Caribbean life than citylife? Then Fajardo is a must.
Years ago, I stumbled across a free music festival in Virginia. Learning about this event made me want to find more Southern Music Festivals that are hidden jewels because you just can’t beat free music playing in the great outdoors. If you’re looking for something to do this summer, make your way to one of the above-listed Southern Music Festivals. With Hipmunk, you’ll sing praises of live music and more, all year long.
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Tyjuana Wilson is a freelance writer, copywriter and budget travel whisperer. Her hotel choices for the travel site Hipmunk are usually found here. More importantly, she also watches her 18-year-old princess, Tyra, grow before her eyes.