5 Music Festivals In The South You Can Actually Afford To Go To This Summer

Mahogany Bullock
Writer. NYC. ECU Grad.

Summer’s right around the corner, which means an increase in allergies, maxi dresses, trips to get frozen yogurt and, of course, music festivals. For those who enviously watch as people attend festivals in California, Texas, and New York, there may be hope for you yet. I, too, know the struggle of only tapping through Snapchat stories filled with flowered headbands because a flight across the country is slightly out of my budget.

So, I went on a hunt to find some dope music fests that are just a bit more local. Luckily, it wasn’t too intense of a search. Apparently the south is home to a variety of music festivals for the bright-eyed millennial with hopes of crowd surfing on a budget.


1. Beale Street Music Festival

April 29th  May 1st

Memphis, TN

What to Expect – Acts such as Wiz Khalifa, Evanescence, Pitbull, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Lupe Fiasco, Iggy Pop, My Chemical Romance, and more perform during the last weekend in April as the kick off weekend to Memphis’s “Memphis in May International Festival.”


This year marks the 40th anniversary of the popular music festival, which will undoubtedly attract an overwhelmingly eclectic crowd of music enthusiasts.

With a varied collection of artists, ranging from rhythm and blues and hip hop, to foreign delicacies and classic rock, this festival dominates the multistage musical experience for any music fan.


2. Essence Festival

June 30th – July 3rd

New Orleans, LA

What to Expect – Essence hosts one of the biggest R&B festivals in America, with over 30 of the most popular artists to ever belt out a tune.


This year’s line-up includes Mariah Carey, Charlie Wilson, Jerimih, Maxwell, and more. With both daytime and nighttime showcases across NOLA, the festival provides something for everybody. Kick off your July 4th weekend right with a New Orleans-style music extravaganza filled with quality R&B and hip-hop artists.


3. Jazz Fest

April 22nd – May 1st

New Orleans, LA

What to Expect – New Orleans is known for its bold culture, well-seasoned food, and jazz music. (And that vibrant Popeyes lady.) Therefore, it’s only right that they host one of the biggest jazz-centered music festivals in the country. As one of the only music festivals that attracts crowds of such varied ages, Jazz Fest is a great place to both relax and let loose.


Artists set to perform include Stevie Wonder, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Snoop Dogg, Beck, Nick Jonas, J.Cole, Elvis Costello & The Imposters, Maxwell, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Janelle Monáe, and more.


4. ONE Musicfest

September 10th

Atlanta, GA

What to Expect – Found in the hip hop music capitol of Atlanta, Georgia, One Musicfest proudly hosts some of the biggest names in hip hop. It embraces the culture that this musical mecca is known for, with stages filled with huge names as well as up and coming artists searching for the spotlight.


Artists such as Janelle Monae, Jidenna and Ryan Leslie have graced the legendary stages. This year’s line up may not have been announced yet, but the people are ready and expecting the usual phenomenal showcase of extraordinary talent.


5. Bonnaroo

June 9th-12th

Manchester, TN

What to Expect – This four day festival far surpasses that of any other music festival. It hosts dozens of comedians and over 150 musical acts. On top of this, there are exciting activities for festivalgoers including classic movies at dawn and games with strangers.


Spend your nights sleeping under the stars, in a tent or rent a trailer – completely up to you. However, Bonnaroo allows you to embrace nature and all its under-appreciated wonders while enjoying music, food, and flashing lights. Pack your sleeping bag and prepare for an adventure.




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