Just because everything that’s going on in the world right now is a bit crazy, doesn’t mean that 2021 can’t still be an incredible year for your music career. At Spinnup we want your music to reach the highest of heights and one of the best ways to boost your chances of discovery is to play a festival.
Every year we put together a list of some European Festival opportunities for you to apply to. This year we’re branching out further and going bigger – introducing you to our brand-new guide on how to apply to American festivals! Naturally some festivals aren’t going ahead this year, and the situation is constantly changing, so make sure to check back in on the festival websites for the latest information.
Here’s what we’re covering in our guide to applying for music festivals
– What to do before applying to play at a music festival
– Things to consider when finding music festivals to play at
– The best American music festivals across several states that have open submissions
You may be reading this thinking that the idea of playing at a music festival is a bit crazy right now – we get it. But 2020 taught us that life is super unpredictable and that it can surprise us at any given moment, so you’ve got nothing to lose by giving it a shot. Right?
Before getting into those festival opportunities, we thought we’d remind you of a few points to consider.
Read each application carefully.
We say it every year in our European festivals guide, but we can’t stress how important it is to read each and every application form and its instructions, carefully. This is your chance to make an impression, so there’s no room for error. Make sure you provide all of the information that the application requires from you, and also make sure that you fit the requirements of the festival.
We’ve provided a list of American festival application opportunities below, but don’t feel like you have to apply to all of them for the sake of applying. We advise you to carefully think about which festivals you’d like to apply to. Do some of your own research to really get a feel of each festival to see you’d fit the bill or not.
It’s essential to consider the logistical side of playing a festival, just as you would a gig.
Things to consider are:
- – Making sure you can play the dates of the festival
- – What the outgoing costs might be
- – Making sure you can get there
- – Sorting out accommodation if needed
- – Checking the visa requirements, if you’re coming from another country
- – Transportation of equipment
- – What to bring etc.
Get your socials looking pro.
Now is the time to get your social presence up to date and looking good. We have plenty of articles about promoting your music on our blog which can help you with this. If a festival booker can see that you’re actively engaging with your fans and consistently posting online, you might have a better chance of getting on the bill. More promotion from you = more ticket sales for them.
Shine like a star.
Make sure you have a killer bio at the ready as well as an EPK and showcase your best achievements to date. Perhaps you’ve already got a great track record of live shows, or you’ve been playlisted or maybe you’ve been interviewed on a podcast. Whatever makes you stand out amongst the crowd – show it!
As we always say – fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Ask yourself, is your music rehearsed to a standard you feel is good enough to play a festival? If you get a lucky slot it could be a real game-changer for your music career, therefore, it’s vital to put your best foot forward – and we truly believe that you will.
Good luck and let us know if you get a slot.
SunFest – Downtown West Palm Beach, FL (April 28th – 1st May 2022)
SunFest is Florida’s largest waterfront music and art festival. This massive non-profit festival takes place in Downtown West Palm Beach and dates back to 1982. SunFest curates a multi-genre lineup, featuring everything from rock, country and pop, to hip-hop, electronic and R&B, hosting acts such as Rae Sremmurd, Snoop Dogg and Blink 182. As well as a stellar lineup, the festival features aptly named SunFestivities; immerse yourself in visual arts and floating bars, take part in the famous TGi5K marathon and see off the festival in style with a magical fireworks show.
Unfortunately, SunFest 2021 will not go ahead as planned this year, however, submissions for 2022 will open late this year. Be sure to keep a lookout on the website for any updates.
Joshua Tree Music Festival – Joshua Tree, CA (Spring 13th – 16th May 2021 & Fall 7th – 10th October 2021)
Situated in the magnificent Mojave desert, this bi-annual festival promises a family-friendly global musical experience. Joshua Tree showcases up-and-coming artists the festival has described as “white hot, have-to-see-them-now-before-they-get-big type of roster, with artists that are still hungry, honing their craft, and creating unique, original sounds.” As well as its diverse and eclectic lineup, Joshua Tree offers a variety of other activities such as yoga, art installations and even a world market!
To apply, fill out this form.
Summer Camp Music Festival – Chillicothe, IL (28th – 30th May 2021)
Summer Camp Music Festival at Three Sisters Park, comes from humble roots, bringing about 1,000 festival-goers and 15 bands over two stages in 2001. Since then it has grown to welcome more fans and much more music – becoming the biggest event in the Midwest every Memorial Day Weekend. The festival now hosts a variety of performances on multiple stages with a lineup over the past two decades that has featured artists such as The Wailers, Tycho and Cypress Hill.
To apply, please visit the site’s contact page and submit your band under “Booking” from the dropdown menu.
LAUNCH Music Conference & Festival – Lancaster, PA (June 2021, date TBA)
LAUNCH Music Conference brings together musicians, music industry professionals and music lovers from all over the world to historic downtown Lancaster, for a unique opportunity of networking and entertainment. The festival showcases artists of a variety of genres from Grammy-nominees to high school upstarts, whilst the conference allows artists to further their careers through panels, one-on-one mentoring, seminars and also the opportunity to make long-lasting connections. This festival and conference is a MUST for the up-and-coming artist who is serious about their career.
Please submit here by 11th April 2021 at 11:59 pm.
(When submitting for LAUNCH, you will be automatically submitted for LAUNCH Digital 2021 – an opportunity to showcase and attend panels online.)
Summerfest is known as the ‘The World’s Largest Music Festival’, attracting around 800,000 people per year. Dating back to 1968, it is also one of the oldest festivals in North America. Held in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this must-see music festival hosts performances over 11 days with over 1000 performers. Its lineup features local and national artists from various genres as well as emerging talent. Throughout the decades it has been host to stars such as Lady Gaga, The Rolling Stones and Stevie Wonder.
Submit here via Reverbnation.
BottleRock Napa Valley – Napa Valley, CA (3rd – 5th Sept 2021)
BottleRock Napa Valley is a music, wine, food and brew festival taking place in California’s famous Napa Valley wine country. The festival features the world’s top musicians on five stages, as well as unique culinary and celebrity mashups on its BottleRock Culinary Stage. Over the years it’s seen bands such as The Killers, Imagine Dragons and The Cure.
Fun fact: At the 2018 edition of the festival, Snoop Dogg became a Guinness World Record holder after creating the world’s largest gin and juice!
To submit, email email@example.com.
Elements Music & Arts Festival – Lakewood, PA (3rd – 6th September 2021)
Elements Music & Arts Festival combines music, visual arts, and wellness to create a truly immersive retreat with captivating experiences of all kinds. Taking place in Lakewood, Northeastern Pennsylvania, this electronic music festival has gained a reputation as being one of America’s best hidden gems. Each of the festival’s stages is curated with a genre based on each element – Earth, Water, Air and Fire. There’s something for everyone at Elements, from deep house to disco/funk. The festival has hosted artists and DJ’s such as Disclosure, Chris Lake, Seth Troxler and Big Gigantic.
Apply via the talent submission form.
Same Same But Different – Lake Perris, CA (9th – 11th September 2021)
Same Same But Different Festival is a multi-genre music and arts festival in Perris, California and has been named ‘Best Emerging Music Festival in the US’ by USA TODAY. The festival is about stepping away from the daily grind and coming together to celebrate life. It’s eclectic lineup features music that you can groove to with artists combining everything from bass to funk and reggae to acoustic, to create something fresh. As well as incredible music, immerse yourself in art installations, yoga and wellness workshops.
Treefort Music Fest – Downtown Boise, ID (22nd – 26th September 2021)
Treefort Music Fest is a five-day indie rock festival, taking place across numerous venues in downtown Boise, Idaho. The festival was born as an extension of the current momentum in the Boise music scene – one that has been growing into a hot-spot for young up-and-coming artists. Treefort has been dubbed “the west’s best SXSW alternative” and “Boise’s preeminent artistic, cultural and musical happening.”
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
AFROPUNK Brooklyn – Brooklyn, NY (Date TBA)
AFROPUNK Atlanta – Atlanta, GA (Date TBA)
AFROPUNK Brooklyn started in 2005 and was born out of Afro-Punk, a documentary which explores black punk artists within a white punk subculture across America. The festival was created as a safe community for blank punks and has grown into a global movement which celebrates the art, music and identity of black culture. From its alternative roots, it grew to include artists from a wide range of genres that reflect African-American culture, from soul to hip-hop. As well as expanding its music variety, it also expanded globally, to include festivals in Atlanta, Paris, London and Johannesburg.
There are a tonne of other festivals that take place across North America, and below you can find a list of other festivals that you could apple for, but they haven’t posted info regarding artist applications for this year. So be sure to check on their websites from time to time and you can always check out Sonicbids for the latest gig and festival opportunities.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival – Manchester, TN
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – Indio, CA
Pitchfork Music Festival – Chicago, IL
EDC Las Vegas – Las Vegas, NV
Electric Zoo – NYC, NY
Electric Forest Festival – Rothbury, MI
Hot 97 Summer Jam – East Rutherford, NJ
III Points Music Festival – Miami, FL
Firefly Music Festival – Dover, DE
Outside Lands – San Francisco, CA
Hangout Music Fest – Gulf Shores, AL
Life Is Beautiful Music & Arts Festival – Las Vegas, NV
Imagine Festival – Atlanta, GA
Rolling Loud – Miami, FL
Fortress Festival – Fort Worth, TX
FORM – Arcosanti, AZ