Being the most populated city in the United States, you know there are going to be some fantastic music festivals in New York City. And there will be a diverse array of music genres with so many different cultures and people in the city. From Avant-Garde classical to Zydeco, there is literally something from A to Z in New York.
Although most of these festivals are summer concerts, there are also some in September and October as well. Some of the events are combinations of genres like American pop with world music and up-and-coming artists, world-class performers, and indie rock. But some of these festivals celebrate just one such as the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival.
No matter what you enjoy listening to, you will probably find it among these 15 music festivals we have listed here. We also listed a few that are in other parts of New York like the Great Blue Heron Festival in Sherman and The Circus of Life Festival in northeastern New York. Learn how to get around New York by reading this guide, compiled by Bounce.
Before you head out for the fun, make sure you find a place where you can leave your bags safely in New York. You cannot bring them with you, and why would you want to? You are going to be dancing and having a blast, so you don't want to be worried about where your suitcases are.
The best music festivals in New York City in 2022
Desertfest New York
Located at the Knockdown Center on Flushing Avenue, this is one of the most popular New York music festivals. Although it does not officially start until May 13th, there are pre-party events on the 12th at Saint Vitus Bar on Manhattan Avenue featuring Druid, Fatso Jetson, and Planet of Zeus.
The festival itself goes from May 13th until the 15th on two different stages at the Knockdown Center. The official lineup includes Leather Lung, High Reeper, Sasquatch, Torche, and John Garcia as well as Yatra, Telekentic Yeti, and Baroness. Tickets start at $45.
SummerStage Music Festival
Starting on June 4th and going all the way through September, this is the largest free outdoor music festival in the state. SummerStage features hundreds of artists in every genre at various locations in New York City with more than 90 shows. From dance and theater to Latin and pop music, you can see a little of everything.
Central Park is the place for live music including Aurora on June 4th, Modest Mouse on June 8th, and George Clinton on June 15th as well as Summer of Soul on June 17th, Lucy Dacus on July 21st, Barenaked Ladies on July 6th, and The Decemberists on August 23rd. All concerts are held at the Rumsey Playfield except for Summer of Soul, which is in Marcus Garvey Park. Most are free but the larger ones may cost so check before you go. Whether you are going to spend 3 days in New York or a few weeks, put this on your list of things to do!
Governors Ball Music Festival
Who says Citi Field is just for baseball? This huge stadium holds over 40, 000 fans, and from June 10th through the 12th, it will be packed full, so you better get your tickets soon! With four stages and more than 70 different acts, tons of food and drinks, and art installations like towers, statues, and inflatables, this is a serious party.
This is a star-studded New York music festival with highlighters including Kud Cudi, Jack Harlow, and Louis the Child on Friday; Halsey, Flume, and Electric Zoo on Saturday; and J. Cole, Glass Animals, and Soccer Mommy Sunday. You even get to hear Shaquille O' Neal rap! This is a live music event for everyone. Tickets go fast and start at $129 and VIP tickets start at $269.
The Circus of Life Festival 2022
This music festival is a little different than others. First of all, it is held in the Magic Forest Farm in Coeyman's Hollow, which is in northeastern New York. The farm is a tourist attraction that is actually a working farm as well with animals and campsites to boot.
From June 16th to the 19th, you will hear a variety of artists from Alchemy to Yung Abner. some of the greats include Necromancer, Wubson, Coyote Cat, American Grime, and 5AM Trio. Tickets start at $111 which includes general admission, camping, and other events. VIP tickets start at $260.
Great Blue Heron Festival 2022
If you like bluegrass, folk, or blues music, mark your calendar for the first weekend in July to get to the Great Blue Heron Festival in Sherman, New York. Located in the southwest corner of New York along Lake Erie, the performances at the event this year are outstanding.
On the main stage, you can see Dr. Bacon, The Probables, and Stewed Mulligan on Friday, New Planets, Donna the Buffalo, and The Town Parts on Saturday, and Driftwood and Julia on Sunday. The Dance Tent also features some greats like Buffalo Zydeco, PA Line, and New Planets. Tickets start at just $29 but they go fast so you better hurry!
Great South Bay Music Festival
On Patchogue Bay in Long Island, Blue Point Brewing presents the Great South Bay Music Festival featuring funk, country music, rock, and jazz at Shorefront Park. Start planning now because it is happening from July 7th through July 10th.
Some of the great music includes Los Lobos, Rebelution, Grouplove, and Galactic. There is even a kids tent and Kidzone stage with Squonk, an amazing group that features two giant hands. There is also face painting, activities, art, and food the entire event weekend. General admission tickets start at just $61.99.
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival 2022
In upstate New York, at Oak Hill Walsh Farm, is one of the best music festivals in the state. From July 14th to the 17th, you can see greats like the Sam Bush Band, Donna the Buffalo, and the Hillbenders. You may also see Sierra Hull, Alison Brown, and Serene Green.
The festival offers dance, music, art, and exclusive content from surprise acts on Friday and Saturday. This is the best summer event in the Catskills, so you don't want to miss this one. Tickets begin at $275, which covers the whole weekend.
Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival
From July 21st until the 24th at Tompkins County Fairgrounds in Trumansburg, just a few hours from NYC, the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival is one of the best music festivals in the area. But it is more than just a music festival. It is a cultural camp the whole family can enjoy.
Whether you want to come one day for the workshops, food, and drinks or the entire weekend to dance, enjoy the music, try some healing arts and yoga, and join the Happiness Parade, the events and arts are there all weekend. They have over 75 bands like Ruthie Foster, Joshua Redman Quartet, and Bubba George to name a few. Tickets start at just $38!
Rock the Bells
For one night only on August 6th, New York City will hold a star-studded music festival at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. Some of the major performances include LL Cool J, Ice Cube, and Lil Kim with famous DJs Scratch and Mister Cee.
If you can only do one festival this year, this is the one to choose if you enjoy hip hop or just music in general. There will also be food, art exhibits, and special events all day long. The venue at Forest Hills Stadium is next to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park with tickets starting at $99.
Outlaw Music Festival 2022
Country music fans cannot miss the Outlaw Music Festival on August 13th because Willie Nelson is going to be there! But rockers will be there as well since ZZ Top is going to be performing too. Besides these top names, you can also see Chris Stapleton, the Avett Brothers, and 3x Grammy-nominated Allison Russell.
Live music, refreshments, and fun people, this is one of the New York music festivals that you may have to drive a bit to get to Bethel Woods, but it is worth it. Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is the place to be in mid-August, which is the site of the 1969 Woodstock festival. Tickets start at only $30 for the nosebleed seats so all festival-goers can afford this one.
Let's Get Fr.ee Carnaval
Missy Elliott's big party starts on August 20th and runs until August 22nd at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The event is not just for music and concerts but also represents the underrepresented people in the entertainment industry.
See performances by Missy Elliott, Wizkid, and El Alfa to name a few. The food is another big part of the party as it features food from all over the country. The main venue for concerts will be the Unisphere Stage but the party stretches all over the park. Tickets start at $69.
Every year on Labor Day weekend, thousands of people head to Randall's Island Park in NYC for every genre of electric music you can think of including top DJs and live concerts. With nine miles of waterfront along the East River, you can enjoy some water fun as well.
This year, the festival goes from September 2nd until the 4th with a lineup of over 50 artists, winning awards for being one of the best festivals in the eastern US as well as one of the best events. See stars Luna Mar, AC Slater, Rossy, and Space Wizard as well as many others. Tickets are on sale now starting at $179.
Adirondack Independence Music Festival
At Lake George in the Adirondacks just a few hours from NYC, this is Lake George's biggest party of the year. For three days from September 2nd to the 4th, Lake George hosts one of the best events in New York at Charles R. Wood Park Festival Commons.
Known as one of the best festivals of the summer, there will be several stages and many concert events that locals have waited all summer long for. Some of the most popular include Twiddle, Lucid, and Baked Shrimp as well as Marble Eyes and Roots of Creation. Tickets start at just $50.
Borderland Festival at Knox Farm State Park is a bit of a drive from NYC but if you are coming from the west or north, it will not be a big deal. The venue at Knox Farm State Park is splendid, right next to Lake Erie on 633 acres and it is the perfect setting for any kind of festival or venue.
From September 17th until the 18th, you can experience a little of each music genre from bluegrass, folk, and jazz to country and rock. Besides all that, the festival also features a diverse array of foods in all cuisines and awesome artisans selling their unique wares. This is one of the best festivals of the summer and tickets start at just $119 for the whole weekend.
Planning to stay some more days in New York City?
We could not list all of the music festivals in New York here, but we shared the most popular ones. Others not on our list that we want to mention include the Clearwater Festival at Croton Point Park along the Hudson River and the Bric Celebrate Brooklyn Festival at Prospect Park. We've got a guide on 3 days in New York; be sure to add a few places we mention to your day.
But if you are staying longer in New York and are looking for other entertainment besides festivals, you are in the right city. Some of the attractions you can find here include Times Square, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Hudson River Valley, and Central Park. Meander the streets and enjoy delicious street food. And why not try a little shopping while here?