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Top 10 Music Festivals: Spring 2016 Power Rankings

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05. Panorama

panorama16 web1800x1350 v16 Top 10 Music Festivals: Spring 2016 Power Rankings

Previously No. 5: Levitation

In their first year, Panorama has come out the gates strong with a lineup that earned them a spot in our top-five heading into the summer. LCD Soundsystem headlining a New York fest isn’t much of a shocker, but having them headlining alongside Arcade Fire and Kendrick Lamar feels right. It feels like this is how festivals would look if LCD had never left; they’ve reclaimed their rightful place atop the lineups of our favorite fests. Worth noting about Panorama is how quickly it has made a name for itself; having acts like Madlib, Ex Hex, and White Lung populating your bottom lines certainly helps to stake your claim as a legitimate contender, and Panorama appears to be here to stay. –Pat Levy


04. Coachella

coachella 2016

Previously No. 4: Boston Calling: Spring

Coachella being stacked isn’t exactly news. The granddaddy of North American music festivals has become so popular that it needs two weekends to get its point across, and that’s largely because organizers keep bringing it with a healthy mix of legacy acts (Guns N’ Roses and Ice Cube), modern indie A-listers (Sufjan Stevens and Beach House), and stuff nobody else managed to book (Death Grips). All the hype might be going to LCD Soundsystem at the top of the bill, but don’t sleep on the bands playing earlier in the day. With underground heavyweights like Sheer Mag and Anderson .Paak buried amid the small print, this one is impressive no matter how closely you look at it. –Collin Brennan


03. Glastonbury

glastonbury 2016

Previously No. 3: Governors Ball

Europe is really representing in 2016, with two of our top three festivals taking place across the pond. While Primavera still tops the list, Glastonbury shot to the forefront of the festival discussion with a killer lineup chock-full of upper tier indie fare (Beck, PJ Harvey), legacy acts (New Order, Earth, Wind, & Fire), populist bands (Muse, Coldplay), and Adele. Yes, that’s right, Adele will be there. As the UK’s preeminent pop star, it shouldn’t be shocking that she’s headlining the fest, but it’s the exclusivity of Glasto being the only festival appearance on her docket that is so exciting. Other highlights include the current top dogs in grime, Skepta and Stormzy, British electronic legends Underworld, and some American flavor like Mac DeMarco, Vince Staples, and Kamasi Washington. –Pat Levy


02. FYF

fyf fest 2016 lineup

Previously No. 2: Coachella

If any festival came remotely close to challenging Primavera’s juggernaut lineup, it’s this dazzling slice of life by FYF Fest. We’ve expected nothing less than exceptional from Sean Carlson’s two-day soiree over the years, but man did they outdo themselves this year. Not only did they add two quality headliners each night, but they also opted for inventive fare way, way left of the dial. Grace Jones? Grace Jones?! Was she on anyone’s radar? Very smart move and one that pairs well with their ever-eclectic undercard, which consists of this year’s oft-ignored reunion (Wolf Parade) and other sizzling names (Air, Explosions in the Sky, and Young Thug). Oh, there’s also Grimes and Beach House, two in-demand acts that could arguably headline either night of the festival, and you know, Kendrick, Tame, and LCD — banner acts who look more like delicious cherries on the top. While not quite as expansive as Coachella, who was previously slotted here, FYF is a lesson in quality over quantity. –Michael Roffman


01. Primavera Sound Festival

primavera sound

FYF really gave it a run for its money, but there’s a reason why Primavera remained at the top of our rankings three months later. Sure, other festivals have managed to recreate pieces of the biggest draws of this fest, as Radiohead, LCD, PJ Harvey, Air, and Brian Wilson are all featured on other lineups around the world this summer. However, none of them are as expertly distilled as Primavera, where over 100 acts are brought together with remarkably little filler. Primavera has built up such goodwill over the years that it could easily get by on coasting, but it doesn’t. It’s so stacked that you could look deep at artists buried in the lineup and build your own genre-focused festivals that people would be clamoring over, whether it’s noisy ‘90s rock (Shellac, Drive Like Jehu, Mudhoney), cutting-edge electronic producers (Evian Christ, Holly Herndon, Hudson Mohawke), or psych powerhouses (Loop, Deerhunter, Animal Collective). Primavera is so stacked that you have to strain to see legends like Boredoms or Venom casually mentioned alongside acts that more routinely tour the festival circuit. With expert curation and something for everyone, Primavera remains peerless in the festival game.  –David Sackllah

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