Your 2017 Spring Break Music Destinations
By Kristi Kates | Feb. 25, 2017
Every year, spring break offers a welcome escape for students and an equally good excuse for everyone else to abandon their regular winter routines and take a vacation. For many music fans, the very best vacations include plenty of live tunes. Thanks to some savvy festival organizers, many of those tunes can be heard each year at major music festivals specially timed to coincide with the season. Let’s break down what’s happening for 2017 so you can choose where to rock your spring break.
Big Ears: March 23–26
Bringing together several generations of musicians and artists for a wide view of music and entertainment, Big Ears starts with live music performances and sifts in a vast array of other entertaining presentations from art installations and interactive workshops to talks and lectures, film screenings and surprise collaborations between performers. It all takes place in the relatively close environs of Knoxville, Tenn., about a day’s road trip from northern Michigan.
Performing: Tortoise, The Quavers, Nils Økland, Supersilent Theater of Voices, Matmos, Joan Shelley, Glenn Kotche, Horse Lords, The Magnetic Fields, Colin Stetson
For tickets and more information: bigearsfestival.com
Savannah Music Festival: March 23–April 8
This is a great choice if your spring break lasts a little longer than most. A two-week celebration of the musical arts, this lengthy festival crosses genres and venues to allow for days of wandering through Savannah, Ga., with music around every corner. If you prefer your tunes on the more refined side, this is a good choice. Amidst the edgy, modern rock sounds of the Avetts and the Watsons, you’ll also find world music, blues, Cajun, classical and ballet performances.
Performing: The Avett Brothers, Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Richard Thompson, Kolachi, Hiss Golden Messenger, Travelin’ McCourys, Jeff Austin, Parker Millsap, Lurrie Bell, Patrick Watson
For tickets and more information: savannahmusicfestival.org
Beyond Wonderland: March 24–25
Taking over San Bernadino, Cal’s., NOS Events Center with a vibrant and unique cast of characters is this heavily themed festival that works to take attendees to a completely different visual world through musical performances, costumed guides and endless art installations. Everything takes on a mystical twist at this fest, including stage names such as The Aquarium, Upside-Down House and The Outer Realm, and there’s no shortage of dance floor space at this electronica-focused event, either.
Performing: Diplo, Astrix, Dieselboy, Martin Solveig, Redlight, Paul Van Dyk, Markus Schulz, Liquid Soul, MC Dino, Craig Williams
For tickets and more information: beyondwonderland.com
Ultra Miami: March 24–26
Already a favorite destination of northern Michigan spring breakers, Ultra Miami also plays host to a massive EDM/electronica festival this time of year that attracts a wildly international crowd. This fest always delivers stacks of memorable dance floor moments and major label EDM performers, all presented beneath the hot Florida sun and in trendy late-night venues that crank up the volume until dawn. If your biggest goal for spring break (other than the music, of course) is to get away from the cold weather, this is your spot.
Performing: Justice, Major Lazer, David Guetta, The Prodigy, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Tiesto, Carl Cox, Afrojack, Underworld
For tickets and more information: ultramusicfestival.com
Fool’s Paradise: March 31–April 1
Also in Florida but a little further north in St. Augustine is this fest that’s anything but foolish for fans of roots music, funk rock and jam bands. Just steps from the water, you’ll find plenty of long-form concert performances, musical workshops and local excursions led by musicians and other guides. Additional activities include yoga and late-night parties hosted by some of the fest’s main stage artists and other special guests.
Performing: Lettuce, Joe Russo, Manic Science, Antwaun Stanley, The Main Squeeze, Dumpstaphunk, Fools for Funk, The Motet, The Floozies, Oteil Burbridge
For tickets and more information: foolsparadisefl.com
Winter Wondergrass: March 31–April 2
Those who are perfectly fine with winter’s snow and ice but just want a little change of scenery might want to head to Lake Tahoe in Squaw Valley, Cal., for this bluegrass-heavy fest that features some of the best-known names of the genre. Many performers will be familiar to northern Michiganians, thanks to their repeat performances at Michigan’s own Electric Forest Festival. A plethora of jam bands rounds out the offerings along with a focus on sustainability and ample support of local arts, food vendors and California craft brews and wines.
Performing: Greensky Bluegrass, Peter Rowan, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Dustbowl Revival, Brad Parsons, Grant Farm, The Good Bad, Everyone Orchestra
For tickets and more information: winterwondergrasstahoe.com