Summer is just around the corner and that means festival season is nearly upon us. It’s never too soon to start planning for some of the best music festivals and events. With acts like Kanye West, Drake, Tame Impala, Sia, Charli XCX, and so much more, it can be overwhelming for music lovers and enthusiasts to stay up-to-date on every artist’s latest hit. Festival season adds even more dynamics to the musical equation. Pop tents, rock tents, EDM tents—overlapping set times can be overwhelming if you don’t make an itinerary in advance, especially if your two faves are playing at the same time.
From the biggest to the smallest festivals, however, there are some major and indie sounds to be heard at all festivals this summer, and you can’t really go wrong with any of them. With Rock in Rio USA, Wango Tango, Governors Ball, and more, it might seem hard to keep up with the wide range of artists taking the stage, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back. This playlist breaks down the best of pop, underground, hip-hop, and rock music making the festival circuit in the coming weeks. Download or stream these tracks for the most energetic, fun music experience this year.
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“Rollercoaster,” Bleachers’ last hit off their album Strange Desire is a busy, upbeat indie track perfect for a summer BBQ vibe. The video features the band riding on the roof of an ice cream van while being chased around by a bunch of girls in the middle of the desert. Straight summer feel-good music.
Charli XCX, “Doing It”
“Doing It” is the party hit of 2015. With a catchy chorus, heavy synths, sharp lyrics, a killer video and a feature from Rita Ora, “Doing It” will spice up any playlist, even if pop isn’t “your thing.” The video’s theme mirrors a Thelma and Louise homage—Ora and XCX-like outlaws in the California desert. Rock in Rio USA will be in Vegas this year with Charli XCX headlining!
Tame Impala, “‘Cause I’m A Man”
Tame Impala has brought back psychedelic rock, making it one of the top bands to check out at any festival of venue. Their track “Cause I’m A Man” is the perfect late spring/early summer track to ease you into the forthcoming sweltering months. You can just imagine listening to it while cruising with the windows down. Lead singer Kevin Walker can do no wrong. Check out Tame Impala at Governor’s Ball this year.
Courtney Barnett, “Elevator Operator”
Melbourne, Australia’s Courtney Barnett is a fresh voice in the folk music space. Bringing a sense of humor to her quippy lyrics, she reps her roots by plugging vegemite and the Great Barrier Reef in songs throughout her excellent sophomore album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit. “Elevator Operator,” the album opener, is a light-hearted midday song. Learn the words by playing on repeat during your road trip to The Gorge and you’ll be ready for her Sasquatch set.
Calvin Harris ft. HAIM, “Pray to God”
Calvin Harris teamed up with the laid-back, all-girls trio HAIM for this incredibly catchy hit. Honestly, it’s an interesting combination—three rock sisters and an EDM producer—but this track is simply harmonious. Harris’ uplifting chorus mixed with passionate vocals from HAIM create the perfect pop-infused EDM track for summer. Calvin Harris will also be headlining Wango Tango this year!
Vic Mensa ft. Kanye West, “U Mad”
Perfect for blasting on the way to a festival, Chicago rapper Vic Mensa’s latest “U Mad,” comes with an assist from Kanye that will have the whole squad going up. Both hailing from the same city, the pairing of a young, energetic newcomer to the hip-hop scene with one of the greatest to ever do it makes this a song to remember. Click play and hope the Yeezy gods will bless more crowds with the festival magic he bestowed on Coachella attendees when he made a surprise appearance alongside The Weeknd.
Odesza ft. Shy Girls “All We Need” (Dzeko & Torres Remix)
It’s lit. Odesza’s Shy Girls-assisted single, “All We Need,” received an essential summer 2015 remix from Dzeko & Torres. With enough spark to keep festivalgoers dancing into the wee hours of the night, this song will make Odesza’s Sasquatch set a sweaty one. As far as we’re concerned, sweat is a surefire sign of festival success.
Kiesza “Hideaway” (Gorgon City Remix)
This one is a bit of a double-score. Kiesza caught major attention for “Hideaway,” her breakout single with a one-take music video shot in Brooklyn that displayed her impressive dance moves. While you can catch her performing the original at Sasquatch, we’re equally interested in catching Gorgon City spin their club-ready remix when they take the stage at Governor’s Ball.
Alison Wonderland, “Run”
In preparation for Electric Forest, light up your headphones with Alison Wonderland’s “Run.” While her music is atmospheric electronic dance, she’s a classically-trained cellist. Armed with a technical knowledge for composition, Wonderland brings a refreshing musicality to the club music space. Don’t sleep on this girl, we have a feeling she’s going to be keeping festival goers up all night.