Back view of a crowd at a concert.
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Metros with the most music festivals within a one-hour drive

Written by:
April 18, 2023
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This story originally appeared on Vivid Seats and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.

Metros with the most music festivals within a one-hour drive

Fifty-odd years ago, Michael Lang, Artie Kornfeld, Joel Rosenman, and John P. Roberts put on what has come to be arguably the best-known music festival of all time: the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. Advertised as three days of peace and music, the event attracted some 400,000 attendees (twice the expected 200,000 maximum) who were entertained by 32 acts. While Woodstock certainly wasn't the first music festival to be held in the U.S., it changed the course of the industry from community-run and just-for-fun to commercial and competitive.

About 32 million Americans attend music festivals each year, according to Billboard. Almost half of these are millennials, who place a lot of value on experiences and travel. Organizers, recognizing the generation's priorities and massive spending power, have started making their events not just parties but destinations. Rather than running festivals in rural areas like Bethel, New York, many of the country's biggest events are now held within a few hours of the biggest cities.

In light of that, Vivid Seats compiled data on which metros are the closest to the most music events. More than 500 U.S. music festivals in 2023 were considered that have the highest ticket sales on Vivid Seats or are among the events that have the highest past attendance. Metros are ranked by the most music festivals within a one-hour drive. Any ties were broken by festivals within a four-hour drive. Drive times were acquired from the location platform Here.

Read on to see where your home base should be if you plan to hit up a festival or two this year.

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Vivid Seats

Where musical festivals in the US are held

Before we get down to the nitty-gritty of which metros have the most music festivals, we should note that most of these events are held on the country's coasts. There are two possible reasons why. First, states like California and New York have huge entertainment industries, and many artists already call these places home. It would be an easier ask for them to take part in festivals closer to home, as it requires less travel on their end.

Second, these states tend to have higher populations (aka larger built-in audiences) and are easy to get to (big, centrally located airports are more attractive to travelers than those that are harder to fly into). Additionally, states with plenty of open space (like Texas and Georgia) where festivals can spread out without the constraints of urbanization are also popular with festival organizers because of the increased audience capacity.

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Vivid Seats

Metros within an hour's drive of music festivals

When looking at cities with the most music festivals within an hour's drive, Los Angeles tops the list with events like Smokin Grooves and the Primavera Sound festival. Chicago, home to Lollapalooza and the ARC Music Festival, is next, followed by Atlantic City, New Jersey, with its wealth of country events.

There are diverse locales on the list—from large- to mid-sized cities spanning the climate spectrum. The options are great for planning around a bigger vacation or a quick solo or family trip.

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Vivid Seats

Metros within a 4-hour drive of a festival

If you're willing to drive a little further, California and the mid-Atlantic region are hands down the way to go. California alone has five cities with a combined 318 music festivals within a four-hour drive. One reason is the year-round warm weather lends itself well to large-scale outdoor events throughout the year rather than a shortened season.

Meanwhile, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey rely on their population and talent densities, as well as major tourism industries, to attract big events like the Governors Ball Music Festival and Made in America Festival. It also helps that about 14% of the millennial millionaire population lives in New York.

All that being said, let's go ahead and take a closer look at the top 10 metros with the best music festival access.

General view of the main stage during Rolling Loud Miami at Hard Rock Stadium.
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Jason Koerner // Getty Images

#10. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 12
- Within 2-hour drive: 15
- Within 4-hour drive: 30
- Within 8-hour drive: 36
- Closest festivals:
--- Miramar Jazz Festival (0.3 hours)
--- Stars and Strings (0.4 hours)
--- Rolling Loud (0.5 hours)
--- Tortuga Music Festival (0.6 hours)
--- Audacy Beach Festival (0.6 hours)

Beyond clubs with deejayed music spinning all night, the Miami metro area boasts a vibrant music scene—not surprising to anyone who regularly attends music festivals. From Rolling Loud to the Ultra Music Festival to Ill Points, there are many well-known events in the area and dozens of choices for fans of every genre. Plenty of cruise-based festivals, like Outlaw Country Cruise and Sail Across the Sun, depart from Miami's ports.

If smaller events are more your thing, there are also many community-based music festivals scheduled year-round that might interest you. Perfect weather and tons of accommodation options round out all that this beachy destination has to offer.

Zhu performs onstage during Austin City Limits Music Festival.
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Rick Kern // Getty Images

#9. Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 12
- Within 2-hour drive: 14
- Within 4-hour drive: 37
- Within 8-hour drive: 50
- Closest festivals:
--- Austin Psych Fest (0.3 hours)
--- iHeartCountry Festival (0.3 hours)
--- Austin Food & Wine Festival (0.3 hours)
--- International Anime Music Festival (0.3 hours)
--- Austin City Limits Music Festival (0.3 hours)

Home to two beloved festivals—SXSW and the Austin City Limits Music Festival—the Austin-Round Rock area is the place to go if you're looking for huge parties with tons to see and do. Held at two completely different times of the year (SXSW is in the spring; ACL is in the fall), these festivals alone make a trip during any season well worth it. If you're lucky, you'll also be able to catch smaller, but still excellent, events like the Austin Area Jazz Fest or Levitation simultaneously.

Many fests here allow for on-site camping, which can appeal to those on a budget or those who just love that sort of experience. Do note, though, because these festivals are bigger and more corporate events, ticket prices can vary, and could be more expensive than others on this list.

Confetti drops on an crowd watching an outdoor concert.
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#8. Trenton-Princeton, NJ Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 12
- Within 2-hour drive: 34
- Within 4-hour drive: 61
- Within 8-hour drive: 107
- Closest festivals:
--- The Sounds of Philadelphia (0.5 hours)
--- Adult Swim Festival (0.7 hours)
--- Wunderworld Fest (0.7 hours)
--- Decibel Magazine Metal & Beer Fest (0.7 hours)
--- Made in America Festival (0.8 hours)

There's no shortage of festivals on the East Coast, and dedicated festival followers know they should never count Jersey out. There's an eclectic mix of festivals here—from pure hip-hop to the crunchiest, grittiest metal—so there's something for everyone. That balance also translates to the mix of high-profile, mid-level, and underground lineups, which is helpful to keep your budget balanced as you plan your festival route.

With a ton of standouts, it's hard to choose from, but the highly publicized and expertly curated Made in America Festival (Jay-Z's brainchild) has consistently proven to be worth the ticket price. For a more whimsical and one-of-a-kind experience, the Adult Swim Festival mashes a little music, comedy, art, and performance into the weekend.

Lorraine Lewis of Femme Fatale performs during the 2014 M3 Rock Festival.
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Mark Weiss // Getty Images

#7. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 13
- Within 2-hour drive: 29
- Within 4-hour drive: 56
- Within 8-hour drive: 112
- Closest festivals:
--- Downtown Hoedown (0.2 hours)
--- Charm City Music Festival (0.4 hours)
--- Moonrise Festival (0.4 hours)
--- Preakness Stakes InfieldFest (0.4 hours)
--- Hot August Music Festival (0.5 hours)

Despite its small size, Maryland manages to pack a ton of music festivals within its borders. Unlike some of the other areas on our list, there's no overarching theme to the kinds of shows you can see here—they range from '80s rock (M3 Rock Festival) to EDM (Moonrise Festival) to bluegrass (Charm City)—which perfectly reflects the city's diverse nature.

Visiting the Baltimore metro area is fairly affordable for out-of-towners, making this a choice destination for the budget-conscious music lover. It's also easy to access, having both an Amtrak station for East Coast dwellers and a major airport for those coming from farther away. Summer and early fall are the best times of year to visit, especially if you plan on spending a good chunk of time outdoors.

MC Solaar performs at the Capitol One City Parks Foundation SummerStage in New York
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ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

#6. New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 13
- Within 2-hour drive: 26
- Within 4-hour drive: 62
- Within 8-hour drive: 95
- Closest festivals:
--- Governors Ball Music Festival (0.2 hours)
--- The Greatest Day Ever! Music Festival (0.2 hours)
--- Cityfox Halloween Festival (0.3 hours)
--- LadyLand Festival (0.3 hours)
--- Electric Zoo (0.3 hours)

How could the New York area not be on this list? With NYC being one of the largest hubs of music, arts, and culture in the United States, it's no wonder festivals began taking root. Mimicking the original predecessor, Woodstock, the suburban sprawl and upstate farm areas have also become home to various festivals.

The festivals in New York are all over the place in terms of the size of the crowds, the genres of music, and the style of the event. On the more intimate end, you can catch smaller festivals that explode with energy and life tucked away in Brooklyn, such as the LadyLand Festival. On a grander scale, you can spend your weekend at the Governors Ball Music Festival with headliners like Kendrick Lamar and Lizzo.

There are many hotels between these three areas, and you can easily find a centrally located Airbnb that would put you smack in the middle of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, giving you the opportunity to ping-pong between as many festivals as you can.

A view of the crowd during the Daytime Village at the iHeartRadio Music Festival.
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Isaac Brekken // Getty Images

#5. Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 14
- Within 2-hour drive: 14
- Within 4-hour drive: 16
- Within 8-hour drive: 109
- Closest festivals:
--- Electric Daisy Carnival (0.3 hours)
--- Life Is Beautiful Festival (0.4 hours)
--- Punk Rock Bowling & Music Fest (0.5 hours)
--- Lost In Dreams (0.5 hours)
--- Stardust NYE (0.5 hours)

It's no surprise that the party capital of the U.S., Las Vegas, ranks in the top five. Sin City hosts many massive music festivals annually, including EDC Las Vegas, the iHeartRadio Music Festival, and When We Were Young. Many of the events in this area offer more than just live music. Life is Beautiful, for example, has four key experiences—art, music, culinary, and comedy and ideas—making it an ideal destination for folks who want more than just a concert experience.

Given Vegas' massive tourism industry, finding the perfect place to stay for every budget is a breeze, as is getting to and from the city proper and the festival sites (many offer shuttle busses from the various resorts). If you plan to attend a festival here, come prepared to party—these aren't the relaxed events you'd find somewhere like Columbus.

Keith Urban performs at the AT&T Block Party during the NCAA March Madness Festival in Phoenix, Arizona.
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Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images for Turner Sports

#4. Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 15
- Within 2-hour drive: 17
- Within 4-hour drive: 17
- Within 8-hour drive: 94
- Closest festivals:
--- Crush Arizona (0.3 hours)
--- Ostrich Festival (0.4 hours)
--- Innings Festival (0.5 hours)
--- Canacopia (0.5 hours)
--- M3F - McDowell Mountain Music Festival (0.5 hours)

Arizona, maybe surprisingly, gives a strong show of force, with nearly 100 festivals within an eight-hour drive of the region. Arizona's festivals offer quite a variety of entertainment.

The perception of festivals is that they are solely, or mostly, music-based; Arizona breaks that stereotype. While you can absolutely find large-scale events like Innings, the weekendlong rock festival centered around spring training, the region has a plethora of smaller-scale and smaller-budget festivals that have something for everyone. The Ostrich Festival, for example, combines fair rides, music, food, and ostriches for the whole family to enjoy.

Arizona weather is fairly predictable during the festival season too—it's hot! So come prepared and invest in some linen.

Hey Monday performs at the Bamboozle Festival.
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Noel Vasquez // Getty Images

#3. Atlantic City-Hammonton, NJ Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 15
- Within 2-hour drive: 20
- Within 4-hour drive: 59
- Within 8-hour drive: 104
- Closest festivals:
--- Mother's Day Music Fest (0.3 hours)
--- Mother's Day Up Close and Personal (0.3 hours)
--- Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival (0.3 hours)
--- TidalWave Music Festival (0.3 hours)
--- Adjacent Festival (0.3 hours)

Like Orlando, Florida, Atlantic City, New Jersey, is best known as a resort town with plenty of hotels, casinos, and nightclubs to entertain even the most energetic visitors. Because of its large tourism industry, the area has become a prime destination for music festivals in recent years.

TidalWave, a country music weekend fest, and the Atlantic City Beer & Music Festival are among the most popular events in the region. For folks looking for a more laid-back festival experience, several jazz and punk rock options offer fun without being overwhelming. Note, though, that festivals in the early spring and late fall may be chilly.

Festival-goers attend Lollapalooza at Grant Park in Chicago.
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Scott Legato // Getty Images

#2. Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 17
- Within 2-hour drive: 22
- Within 4-hour drive: 34
- Within 8-hour drive: 104
- Closest festivals:
--- North Coast Music Festival (0.2 hours)
--- Sacred Rose (0.2 hours)
--- Heatwave Music Festival (0.3 hours)
--- Riot Fest (0.3 hours)
--- JAMfest (0.3 hours)

Chicago is known for three things: wind, deep-dish pizza, and its music scene. A seminal place for the blues, house music, and EDM, there's something for everyone here. Lollapalooza, held in Grant Park, is undoubtedly the biggest festival in the area; but events like ARC Music Festival and the Heatwave Music Festival are growing in popularity.

Unlike other metros on this list, very few music fests in Chicago allow on-site camping, so booking a hotel or vacation rental will be necessary for out-of-towners. Also, the Windy City can be quite cool year-round, even at the height of summer when hot temperatures turn chilly at night. To prepare, come with extra layers if you plan to attend one of these events.

Festivalgoers at the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival.
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Christopher Polk // Getty Images

#1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metro Area

- Number of festivals within 1-hour drive: 29
- Within 2-hour drive: 47
- Within 4-hour drive: 63
- Within 8-hour drive: 119
- Closest festivals:
--- Keinemusik Showcase (0.2 hours)
--- Smokin Grooves Festival (0.2 hours)
--- Zedd in the Park (0.2 hours)
--- Primavera Sound (0.2 hours)
--- LA3C (0.2 hours)

When it comes to music festivals, Los Angeles has certainly earned its top spot. Coachella—one of the largest music festivals in the country, attracting over 250,000 attendees in 2019—is located just a two-hour drive from the city. In addition to Coachella, Stagecoach, a massive country music event, and Just Like Heaven, a '00s-themed music festival, are among the most popular fests in the area.

Attendees looking for hotels to stay in are certain to find something within their budget. Visitors looking to camp will be delighted to find that inclement weather isn't often an issue in this region of Southern California. Also, partygoers looking to rub elbows with celebrities while listening to sets from their favorite bands are more likely to get that experience here than anywhere else in the country.

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