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While music festival season has already begun for some of us, the rest are enthusiastically waiting to make it to their first festival of the year. Festivals like Coachella, Austin City Limits, SXSW, Bonnaroo, EDC, Ultra, and Lollapalooza definitely take the cake when it comes to highest number of attendees.

“According to a report released by Nielson in 2014, 32 million people on average attended a music festival in the U.S. per year.”

To put this into perspective, the amount of people who die each year in the U.S. according to a recent report by the CDC is 12 times less than the amount of people who attend music festivals. As morbid of a fact as that might sound, it really allows for an understanding as to how huge this industry really is and how many festival options there really are.

While of course we still love the biggest lineups coupled with the largest crowds, there’s a plethora of other options for festival lovers to explore that are produced on a smaller scale.

The Life Backstage crew has put together an awesome list of music festivals that aren’t as widely known, but they provide a heart-warming community like atmosphere that truly cannot be replicated at some of the bigger scale events.

Nelsonville Music Festival


Nelsonville’s four-day festival (June 2-5) is family-friendly with activities for children, loads of craft tents featuring local vendors showcasing their work, local food options for meals, and cheap vinyl records for sale (what more could a hipster want?!). The genres at Nelsonville are geared more toward folk, country, indie and alternative fans. Previous headliners for Nelsonville include: the Flaming Lips, Merle Haggard, St. Vincent, the Head and the Heart, and the Avett Brothers. Headlining the 2016 Nelsonville Music Festival are: Gary Clark Jr., Randy Newman, and Best New Artist GRAMMY nominee Courtney Barnett.

Farm On Fire Music and Arts Festival


FOF is back for its 3rd year in a row at Frontier Ranch in Pataskala, OH and we couldn’t be more excited about it. While the lineup hasn’t been announced yet, I can promise it won’t disappoint this time around. The headliners alone last year were Herobust, Minnesota b2b G Jones, and Daft Punk tribute group One More Time.The venue is by far one of the best things about the festival. It’s small so walking to each stage is a breeze and you can even just chill at your camp site and still hear the music from the main stage. The festival also offers a VIP option that includes camping next to your car, VIP only section with plenty of shade, and delicious catered food through out the weekend. All in all, FOF is a combination of 3 days of great music, inspiring art, and most importantly beautiful people. You can plan on attending FOF from August 18th – 20th.

What The Festival

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While we have mad love for all the Ohio Festivals, there’s something special about traveling a little further to reach your destination. Located in Dufur, Oregon, What The Festival has a ton of awesome extra features including a pool stage. Yes, you did read that right. Escape the heat of the day by jumping in the pool and listening to performers? We’re all in. What The festival will be taking place from June 17th – 20th. A few of this years artists are Mr. Carmack, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, Jai Wolf, Louis The Child, and so many more.

Farm Fest


If you’re more of a fan of the underground bass scene, Farm Fest at Paradise Lake Campground in New Jersey should definitely be a fest on your list this year. Right now tickets are only priced at $135 for three days of a huge lineup. Headliners include Emancipator, The Floozies, Savoy, Boombox, and Liquid Stranger. From July 22nd – 24th come get weird by a lake with your favorite festi crew.

Dirtybird Campout


Last but definitely not least on our short and sweet list of underground festivals is Dirtybird campout in Silverado, CA. From October 7th-9th you’ll find the best house and techno beats money can buy. The fact that this event is 21+ is part of what makes the crowd and vibes so unique. If this sounds like your cup of tea don’t miss the flash sale for discounted tickets on Sunday, June 26th at 10 a.m. You won’t regret spending a fall weekend making camp fires among the beautiful California venue.

Below you can find links to each mentioned festival. We hope to see you out at some of these this year!

Nelsonville / FOF / WTF / Farm Fest / DirtyBird Campout




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