It’s music festival season, y’all! Grab your flower crowns and tribal face paint. Just kidding, you’re not basic or headed to Coachella because you attend music festivals to actually enjoy the music. Luckily, the headliners look pretty bangin’ this summer. Even the unknown artists that play at 12 p.m. on those random, tiny stages will make your $400 ticket worth every penny. Whether you heard of them before they were cool or you don’t know anything past the Top 40 hits, we’ve got you covered.
1. Florence and the Machine
Everyone knows the 2009 hit song, “Dog Days Are Over” that appeared in the Eat, Pray, Love movie trailer. More recently, Florence and the Machine paired up with Calvin Harris in the radio hit, “Sweet Nothing.” Catch the indie rock band headlining this summer at festivals like Firefly, Sasquatch and Bottle Rock. Rumor has it that they put on a phenomenal live show (like Beyoncé-level good). “They were amazing,” University of Maryland sophomore Conor Hollingsworth said. “In their finale they played Dog Days Are Over and everybody went insane and were so happy.”
2. Lana del Rey
Not Queen Bey, but Queen Rey. Lana shocked everyone with her haunting “Young and Beautiful,” featured in the newest The Great Gatsby movie. She also took radio stations by storm with her song, “Summertime Sadness.” But she’ll make sure you won’t feel sad this summer when you see her perform at festivals like Outside Lands and Lollapalooza. “I really want to see Lana Del Rey,” University of Tennessee sophomore Kaitlyn Golding said. “She was at Sweetlife in 2014 and I saw 2 Chainz instead which I regretted.” Prepare yourself for an interesting show—she once performed at Sweetlife while simultaneously sipping a Frappuccino and smoking a cigarette.
M83 in a nutshell: a psychedelic trip that feels like a dream where you want to burst into tears from happiness. Listen to the song “Wait” and you’ll understand, though a lot of people only know the song “Midnight City.” “It was very surreal, the lights were beautiful and they sounded even better live than recorded…even if the audience only knew one song,” Montgomery College sophomore Abbie Wikner said. Join the ride at festivals like Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball and Austin City Limits.
4. J. Cole
First thing’s first…you don’t want to be a bad role model and miss J. Cole this summer. Note to Self, the rapper has a reputation for putting on a killer live show. Apparently he’ll perform at Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza. Sorry, I’ll stop with the puns. “I really want to go see him,” UMD sophomore Austin Kleber said. “I love him [and] he does amazing live shows.” J. Cole seems to top everyone’s lists of favorite rappers these days, which makes him a must-see this summer.
#Tbt to the 90s. Maybe you can bring your parents along to this one, since most of us are too young to really appreciate 90s rock (I guess we’re not true 90s kids after all). Most of us only know their infamous song, “Creep,” but their style embodies your typical alternative rock sounds. Lollapalooza, Outside Lands and Austin City Limits will host Radiohead and all their hardcore rocker fans.
6. LCD Soundsystem
This rock band broke through in the early 2000s, the brink of the millennial era, while America transitioned away from choker necklaces (awk because I think those made a comeback). Thank God this transition phase didn’t put a damper on LCD Soundsystem’s music. Their sound combines alternative rock with electronic dance tunes. After a break from touring, LCD Soundstem will reunite at festivals like Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo and Outside Lands.
These three sisters achieved fame not only for their music, but also for their close friendship with T-Swift—she even invited them to open up for her on tour. Their music style reflects 80s pop and when you listen to them, you can’t help but feel like dancing. “From that first listen I fell in love with the band and their music. They have this amazing 70s vibe and they just have this cool and like able persona,” UMD sophomore Hannah Borison said. “Plus, I get to live vicariously through them and pretend I am a part of their insanely talented and cool family…like getting invited to Taylor Swift’s Fourth of July parties.” Me too, Hannah, me too. Spot them jamming out at Lollapalooza, Governor’s Ball and Austin City Limits.
8. Chet Faker
Most people don’t know his name, but you would recognize his cover of the song “No Diggity,” which Ed Sheeran also famously covered. His music style combines alternative, indie vibes with electronic beats, which will remind you of Flume or ODESZA. He’s making his rounds this summer, so check him out at Sasquatch and Governor’s Ball and tell your friends you saw him before he went mainstream.
9. Death Cab for Cutie
Another old-timer, DCFC has blown people away with their music since 1997, so basically since we were born. They continued producing hits up until their most recent album released in 2015. Their alternative sounds create a mellow vibe, like “I Will Follow You Into the Dark,” which will chill you out at the Bottle Rock music festival.
10. Red Hot Chili Peppers
Remember when they performed at the Superbowl? Now they hit up music festivals across the country. They may have started in the 80s, but their timeless, alternative hits still crush radio stations today. Don’t miss them headlining at Lollapalooza and Bottle Rock this summer.