2020 East Coast music festival roundup

It’s nearly that time of year: music festival season.

Though you’ll now have to join a waitlist for Coachella passes, you don’t need to travel that far to get that essential festival experience you want. In fact, forget the West Coast. There are plenty of festivals up and down the East Coast to fit into your summer plans.

And, if you’re in D.C., there’s even a great festival experience within the Beltway.

Here’s a roundup of music festivals that are a road trip, train ride, bus journey or short flight from D.C.

(Some festivals, such as Moogfest (April 16-19) in Durham and Made In America Festival (late August) in Philly, have tickets available but no lineup announced. You can bookmark this post and check back for updates.)

High Water Festival — Saturday, April 18 to Sunday, April 19
Charleston, South Carolina

High Water Festival is curated by South Carolina-based duo Shovels & Rope. As you listen to a lineup of folk, country, rock and jazz, you can catch a plethora of refreshing drinks and Southern cuisine.

The lineup: Brittany Howard, Wilco, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Mavis Staples and more.

Get tickets.

Something in the Water — Friday, April 24 to Sunday, April 26
Virginia Beach

Virginia Beach native Pharrell continues to bring together some of the biggest names in music with some of the most promising up-and-coming acts. But it’s not just about the music; the festival stretches the whole week to include events on health and wellness, spirituality and more.

The lineup: Rico Nasty, Kali Uchis, Trey Songz, Foo Fighters, Chad Hugo, Usher, Tierra Whack, Tyler, the Creator and more.

Buy tickets here.

Shaky Boots Festival — Friday, May 8 to Saturday, May 9

Speaking from personal experience, the 11-hour road trip from D.C. to Atlanta is doable! Just leave early, make some choice stops and you’ll be fine.

This year, there’s both a Shaky Boots and Shaky Knees Festival. What’s the difference? As Atlanta magazine lays out, Shaky Boots puts country at the forefront, while Shaky Knees is all about indie rock.

Shaky Boots lineup: Brandi Carlile, Alison Krauss, Tanya Tucker, Dierks Bentley and more.

Shaky Knees lineup: The Black Keys, The Strokes, The Smashing Pumpkins, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Snail Mail, Portugal. The Man and more.)

Buy tickets here.

Broccoli City Festival — Saturday, May 9
Washington, D.C.

Here’s a hometown music festival that’s just a short walk from the Stadium-Armory Metro station. Catch this lineup of hip-hop, R&B and pop from big southern talent and worldwide acts. There’s Nigerian superstar Burna Boy, Houston rapper Megan Thee Stallion, Charlotte rapper DaBaby, and the D.C. area’s very own Ari Lennox and IDK.

See the full lineup here.

Tickets are now sold out, but you can join a waitlist.

Boston Calling — Friday, May 22 to Sunday, May 24

Still need a Memorial Day weekend destination? Maybe a New England getaway is more your speed. In that case, Boston Calling is offering a lineup of big-name musical acts and local comedians. Some of those Boston-based comedians include Lamont Price, Emily Ruskowski and Al Park.

The (musical) lineup: Rage Against the Machine, Noname, Koffee, Banks, The 1975, Phony Ppl and more.

Buy tickets here.

Roots Picnic — Saturday, May 30

Maybe you’re not looking to spend the entire weekend somewhere. Maybe you just want to spend time in an interesting, nearby city that’s just a three-hour bus trip. Curated by Philly’s very own, the Roots Picnic showcases the new and established voices in hip-hop, soul and R&B.

The lineup: The Roots (of course) with Musiq Soulchild, SWV and Brandy; Meek Mill; Summer Walker; Thundercat and more.

Buy tickets here.

Governors Ball Music Festival — Friday, June 5 to Sunday, June 7
New York City

So, you want that summer music festival feeling, but you don’t want to camp out in the middle of a remote field? Understandable! Governors Ball is on Randall’s Island Park in New York City, so if at any point you need to escape the crush of sweaty, mud-covered festivalgoers, just hop on the ferry and head back to Manhattan. But, you might not even want to leave, because not only will there by a wide variety of food options, there’s usually different activities, art installations and booths to keep you busy.

The lineup: Missy Elliott, Tame Impala, Vampire Weekend, Stevie Nicks, Carly Rae Jepsen, Steve Lacy, Maren Morris and more.

Buy tickets here.

Firefly Music Festival — Thursday, June 18 to Sunday, June 21
Dover, Delaware

From the production company that brought you Coachella, Delaware’s Firefly Fest offers camping, glamping and RV options for festivalgoers who are looking to get their fill of nature and music. There’s also a market, a silent disco, lots of food and drink options, and more.

The lineup: Billie Eilish, Blink-182, Khalid, Cage the Elephant, Lil Tecca, Omar Apollo, Sudan Archives and more.

Buy tickets here.

Newport Folk Festival — Friday, July 31 to Sunday, Aug. 2
Newport, Rhode Island

Tickets for the storied Newport Folk Fest are almost always sold out by the time the lineup is revealed, but there’s always a ticket exchange where you can try your luck.

The lineup: Yola, Vagabon, Randy Newman, Big Thief, Black Pumas and more. Stay tuned for more artists to be added on the lineup.

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Teta Alim

Teta Alim is a Digital Editor at WTOP. Teta's interest in journalism started in music and moved to digital media.

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