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Top 5 Indie Music Festivals in the US in 2024

While indie nowadays is a very loosely defined term that could subcategorize under either rock or pop, the term originally originated in the UK. It referred to “independent music”, as in music produced and/or distributed independently from commercial labels. Anyway, indie music is good music, and these top 5 indie music festivals in the us in 2024 are the big hotspots for these golden sounds.

Boston Calling (Fri, 24 May – Sun, 26 May ; Massachusetts)

This annual 3-day music fest draws upwards of 40,000 people to the Charles River each year. It’s a New England favorite and features live acts on 4 outdoor stages. Moreover, there’s also over 30 local food vendor options, visual art installations, life-sized games, and a 100 ft Ferris wheel!

Boston calling has cemented a good name for itself by consistently booking a wide variety of indie, rock, hip hop and pop names. The headlining slots of 2024 will be filled by Ed Sheeran, Tyler Childers, The Killers, Leon Bridges, and Hozier, with many other excellent performers also making an appearance.

Capitol Hill Block Party (Fri, 19 Jul – Sun, 21 Jul ; Washington)

This annual three-day bash transforms Seattle’s musical neighborhood into a massive block party, and it’s been rocking since 1997. Known for its vibrant music and arts scenes, the festival draws a young and energetic crowd. This makes it a must-attend event for music lovers of all stripes.

While the 2024 lineup is still TBA, past notable artists have included the likes of Father John Misty, Louis the Child, Denzel Curry, Lizzo, Phantogram, and many more. So mark your calendars and get ready for another unforgettable weekend of music, art, and good vibes at Capitol Hill Block Party!

Pitchfork Music Festival (Fri, 19 Jul – Sun, 21 Jul ; Illinois)

This event features a diverse music scene with word like “alternative”, “cutting edge”, and “indie” dominating it’s genres. A mishmash of excellent established and emerging artists has garnered Pitchfork a reputation of being the fishing pond for music enthusiasts fishing for new talent.

Aside from live music, the event offers a range of food vendors, art installations, and record fairs. With its focus on vibrant and lively music and cultural experiences, Pitchfork is a Chicago summer music scene must-do. To stay in the loop, sign up to receive the inside scoop on ticket sales and lineup announcements.

Pickathon (Pending ; Oregon)

Possibly and subjectively the best music festival experience out there, Pickathon skips the crowd mauling and commercial partnerships and is all about discovery, sustainability, and pure musical passion.  Attendees leave feeling connected to the soul of music, and come back each year craving more.

Everything here is done in rhythm with nature and sonic waves, and people are steered out of the sun as activities rotate through the “Neighborhoods” of music, arts and culture. Pickathon features an eclectic musical array, including indie, R&B, rap, rock, and folk. It was deemed “The best Indie Festival in the Country” by Paste Magazine:

”… that collective “power of music festivals” that people talk about when trying to sell you on the experience? It was all totally there at Pickathon. An intentional festival community, yet one without the hokey-ness common at transformational fests…”

Your to-keep stainless steel Pickathon cup becomes your best friend for craft beer and water refills, contributing to the eco-friendly undercurrent of the event. Aside from incredibly diverse artists that truly bleed passion on the nature-embedded stages, there’s also daily yoga and wellness workshops around the campsites.

Note: Pickathon is fighting to continue in 2024 and future years as they struggle to renew their permit to perform at the Pendarvis Farm. You can help by sending an email to the City of Happy Valley’s Planning Commission. Let them know that Pickathon is an essential cultural event connecting you to Happy Valley and Pendarvis Farm.

Shaky Knees Music Festival (Fri, 3 May – Sun, 5 May ; Georgia)

Nicole Kibert, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via flickr

Tim Sweetwood founded this event in 2013 to bring a “proper indie music festival” to Atlanta. And so it is, with over 60 artists from mainly indie, country, and alternative rock genres. The event remains primarily focused on music, sans other art installations or workshops. This could distract from what Rolling Stones magazine listed under “50 Must-See Music Festivals” in 2015.

The 2024 line-up is headlined by Noah Kahan, Queens of the Stone Age, Weezer, The Offspring, and Foo Fighters. Additionally, other well-known and upswing artists will also do the founder’s ideal proud.

Curious to know more?

Inge Strauss