Country Festivals to See in 2017
With approximately 30 U.S. country music festivals happening this year, there are plenty of opportunities to discover new artists while savoring the hits of superstar acts.
Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Blake Shelton and Chris Stapleton will headline many of the summer festivals. This year, Thomas Rhett graduates to headliner at many of the fests.
The country festival season kicks off this weekend with the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Country Thunder Festival in Florence, Arizona.
Alan Jackson, who just learned of his upcoming induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, will play Tortuga on Sunday (April 9). The three-day event starts Friday (April 7) and features more than 30 hours of live country, rock and pop by 36 acts, including headliners Bryan, Stapleton and Kenny Chesney. A portion of Tortuga's ticket proceeds will support the conservation of the world's oceans through the nonprofit Rock the Ocean Foundation.
Arizona's Country Thunder Festival in Florence will have four days of live music starting Thursday (April 6) with headlining performances by Bentley, Rhett, Shelton and Chris Young. Bentley's local Whiskey Row will also offer more than 46 hours of live music throughout the event starting Thursday (April 6) at 2:30 p.m.
Wisconsin's Country Thunder Festival in Twin Lakes starts July 20 with headliners Rhett, Billy Currington, Keith Urban and Jason Aldean. Canadian events are also set in Craven, Saskatchewan and Calgary, Alberta in July and August.
An announcement for Farm Aid 2017 will be announced in the coming weeks.
Here is a comprehensive list of other country music fests happening through December:
Music & Miracles Superfest (April 22, Auburn, Alabama): The second annual event returns Jordan-Hare Stadium for a day of live music by Shelton, Rhett, Kelsea Ballerini and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Proceeds will support cancer research and food banks throughout the south through the Auburn-based non-profit the Chicken Salad Chick Foundation.
Merlefest (April 27-30, Wilkesboro, North Carolina): Held on campus at Wilkes Community College, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest offers a unique blend of live acts representing the roots-oriented sounds of Appalachia and the music of the world. The four-day event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs at the college. The 2017 festival lineup includes performances by the Zac Brown Band, the Avett Brothers and Jerry Douglas and Aly Bain's Transatlantic Sessions with special guests James Taylor, Sarah Jarosz and John Doyle.
Stagecoach (April 28-30, Indio, California): Bentley, Chesney, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson and Shania Twain are among the more than 70 country, Southern rock and Americana acts playing the three-day event in the California desert. The lineup includes Tucker Beathard, the Cadillac Three, Cam, Brent Cobb, Brett Eldredge, Brooke Eden, Cole Swindell, Dan + Shay, Ryan Hurd, Jamey Johnson, Elle King, Jerry Lee Lewis, Cyndi Lauper, Maddie & Tae, Kip Moore, Maren Morris, Willie Nelson, Jon Pardi, Margo Price, Travis Tritt and Wynonna and the Big Noise. The annual event is in its 11th year and is hosted by the same organizers behind the all-genre Coachella music festival.
Tree Town Music Festival (May 25-28, Forest City, Iowa): Aldean, Jackson, Rhett and Bret Michaels will spend Memorial Day weekend headlining the Tree Town Music Festival. Pure Prairie League, Dwight Yoakam, Chris Young, Big & Rich, Love & Theft and High Valley are among the more than 20 acts scheduled to perform during the four-day event.
Bayou Country Superfest (May 26-28, New Orleans): Because of renovations at LSU's Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, the annual Bayou Country Superfest moves to New Orleans' Mercedes-Benz Superdome for 2017. The eighth annual event will feature performances by headliners Shelton and Miranda Lambert, plus live sets by Brooks & Dunn, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Rascal Flatts and Hank Williams Jr.
Country 500 (May 26-28, Daytona, Florida): The Daytona International Speedway will host the second Country 500, offering fans a unique opportunity to camp out in the infield at the motorsports venue. Lambert, Shelton, Kid Rock, Keith Urban, Jake Owen, Kip Moore and others will be perform during the Memorial Day weekend event.
Rock the South (June 2-3, Cullman, Alabama): Rock the South started in 2012 as a charity event to support those affected by the deadly tornado outbreaks that hit Cullman and the surrounding areas in April, 2011. Since its inception, Rock the South has raised more than $400,000 for local charities including The Link, Alabama Forever and the Children's Hospital of Alabama. The 2017 event will feature sets by Bryan, Sam Hunt, Chris Janson, Cody Jinks, Dustin Lynch, Maren Morris and more.
CMA Music Festival (June 8-12, Nashville): The four-day event kicks off June 8 with hours of free live music downtown at the Chevrolet Riverfront Stage, the Chevrolet Park Stage and the Gildan Broadway Stage at Hard Rock Café. The nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium will feature live sets by Bentley, Bryan, Lambert, Rhett, Shelton, Stapleton, Brad Paisley, Brett Eldredge, Chris Young, Cole Swindell, Darius Rucker, Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line, John Anderson, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Kenny Rogers, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, Rascal Flatts, Sam Hunt, Trace Adkins and Tracy Lawrence.
Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (June 8-12, Manchester, Tennessee): Cam, Luke Combs, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real and Aaron Lee Tasjan will represent country and Americana at the 2017 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. They join more than 130 acts scheduled to perform during the all-genre event with headliners U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Weeknd and Chance the Rapper.
Winstock (June 8-10, Winsted, Minnesota): Winstock will feature two stages of live music with performances by Urban, Brantley Gilbert, Little Big Town, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Drake White & the Big Fire, Locash, Lindsay Ell, Brooke Eden and more.
Country Fest (June 22-25, Cadott, Wisconsin): The annual event will celebrate its 31st anniversary with more than 40 performing acts including Shelton, Brothers Osborne, the Oak Ridge Boys and Brandy Clark. The event is held on the largest campground in Wisconsin, with one permanent main stage and four permanent side stages.
Hodag Country Festival (July 13-16, Rhineland, Wisconsin): Hodag ccelebrates its 40th anniversary with headlining sets by Frankie Ballard, Billy Currington, Little Big Town and Neal McCoy. Randy Houser, Collin Raye, RaeLynn, Steve Moakler and William Michael Morgan are among the other acts performing at the four-day event.
Summerfest (June 28-July 9, Milwaukee): The annual music festival will feature more than 800 acts and more than 1,000 performances over 11 days of live music. The rest of the 2017 lineup will be announced by the second week of April, but already on the bill are Bryan, the Zac Brown Band, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers with Chris Stapleton, Red Hot Chili Peppers and P!nk.
Country Jam U.S.A. (July 20-22, Eau Claire, Wisconsin): Bentley, Bryan, Lambert, Gary Allan, Cody Johnson and Carly Pearce are among the acts scheduled to perform at the 2017 Country Jam U.S.A. The event will feature a main stage, two side stages and an Electric Rodeo.
Cheyenne Frontier Days (July 21-30, Cheyenne, Wyoming): Founded in 1897, this Cheyenne festival is home to the world's largest outdoor rodeo, which draws rodeo pros who compete for more than $1 million in cash and prizes. The 2017 nightly concert lineup includes Aldean, Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, Tyler Farr, Little Big Town, David Nail, Sawyer Brown, Joe Diffie, Luke Bryan and Chris Janson. Complementing all the action are behind-the-chutes tours, trick riding, a wild-horse race, a Native American village, an old frontier town, a saloon, dancing, a chuck wagon cook-off and pancake breakfasts.
Kicker Country Stampede (July 22-24, Manhattan, Kansas): Jackson, Stapleton and Rhett are the headliners for the 22nd annual Kicker Country Stampede. Additional performers include Big & Rich, Old Dominion, A Thousand Horses, Brothers Osborne and Maddie & Tae.
Faster Horses (July 21-23, Brooklyn, Michigan): Located next to the Michigan International Speedway, the annual Faster Horses festival celebrates its fifth year with performances by Bentley, Bryan, Lambert, Darius Rucker, Randy Rogers Band, Charlie Daniels Band and more. Activities during the event include the Faster Humans Fun Run, the Hustle and Muscle Classic Car and Truck Show, Dee Jay Silver's Pancake Party and Sober Horses, for those who want to experience the event alcohol-free.
LakeShake (June 23-25, Chicago): The annual LakeShake music festival takes over Chicago's Northerly Island this June with performances by Houser, Lambert, Little Big Town, Rhett, Rascal Flatts, Brothers Osborne, the Cadillac Three, Natalie Stovall and more. Onsite amenities include a silent disco line dancing, a kid zone, a wine lounge and a vertigo swing.
Watershed (July 28-30, George, Washington): The initial 2017 Watershed lineup at the Gorge Amphitheatre includes performances by Bryan Rucker, Stapleton, High Valley, Eric Paslay, Lauren Alaina, Wiliam Michael Morgan, Maddie & Tae, Michael Ray, Old Dominion and more. Additional acts will be announced in the coming months.
WE Fest (Aug. 3-5, Detroit Lakes, Michigan): 2017 marks the 35th anniversary of WE Fest on the shores of Michigan's Lake Sallie. The three-day event will feature performances by Bryan, Jackson, the Zac Brown Band, Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum, Brett Young, Eli Young Band, Logan Brill and more.
Oregon Jamboree (Aug. 4-6, Sweet Home, Oregon): The three-day Oregon Jamboree offers two stages, 22 shows and one sweet weekend in picturesque Sweet Home, Oregon. The 2017 lineup will include performances by Aldean, Alaina, Janson, Home Free, John King, Little Big Town, Paslay, Kenny Rogers and Drake White & the Big Fire.
Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam (Sept. 1-3, Panama City Beach, Florida): Jason Aldean, Little Big Town and Luke Bryan will headline an electric Labor Day weekend 2017 at the fifth annual Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam in Panama City Beach, Florida. Frank Brown Park will host the three-day event starting Sept. 1. Lineup additions will be announced in the coming weeks.
Pilgrimage Music Festival (Sept. 23-24, Franklin, Tennessee): Justin Timberlake, Eddie Vedder, Ryan Adams, the Avett Brothers, Mavis Staples, Marty Stuart &his Fabulous Superlatives, Valerie June and Nikki Lane are among the performers playing the 2017 Pilgrimage Music Festival at Franklin's Harlinsdale Farm. The two-day, all-genre event brings together music's top headliners and the best local performers for a one-of-a-kind experience that is one part-neighborhood barbecue and one-part fall festival. Year three will feature four stages of live music, local artisans and food vendors, plus plenty of entertainment for the kids at the Little Pilgrims stage.
Route 91 Harvest Festival (Sept. 29-Oct. 1, Las Vegas): Aldean, Hunt and Eric Church will headline the annual Route 91 music festival in Las Vegas this fall. Additional performers include Brothers Osborne, Morris, Josh Abbott Band, Lee Brice, Kane Brown, High Valley and Jake Owen.
Beach Town Music Festival (Dec. 8-9, Vero Beach, Florida): After being postponed in 2016 due to Hurricane Matthew, the Beach Town Music Festival returns to Owen's hometown of Vero Beach, Florida in December with performances by Owen, Clare Dunn, Edwin McCain, Scotty Emerick, Gin Blossoms and more.