No Country Guide to 2020’s Changing Music Festival Landscape

Festivals2020-620Photo by Andrew Ha.

When we first put together this guide to track changes, cancelations, and postponements for the 2020 festival season, it was back in mid-March, still in the early days of public and government response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when so much of the future seemed wholly uncertain. While we’ve maintained updates to this running list ever since, we’re bringing it back to the top of the page again, nearly three months later, as the picture for the remainder of 2020, in many ways still as uncertain as back then, begins to better come into focus, in the wake of the recent second cancelation of the Coachella, the first high-profile event to have moved to later in the year and then subsequently canceled once more.

While we don’t know if other postponed to fall events like Bonnaroo, Shaky Knees, or Beale Street might meet similar fates, the fact that the festival calendar so far has more or less been one giant rolling cancelation, coupled with rising COVID-19 cases in states who’ve begun reopening (Tennessee among them), certainly doesn’t instill a ton of confidence that we’ll see any major festivals occur in 2020. And not to be too pessimistic, especially at a moment where more significant things are happening in the world than music festival announcements, but while 2021 feels very far away, until a vaccine and contact tracing are a sure thing, there’s still no telling when mega gatherings will be safe and cleared to resume.

Still, the fact that some fests have already begun staking their claim to dates for next year, and even more have indicated that they’re hard at work (if you’re a ticketholder for a canceled event, many are offering to roll your tickets to 2021- be sure to check your e-mail), gives us a bit of hope that 2021 could become a much-needed do-over. For now, we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed that conditions could improve enough for some 2020 events to still go down (and that all that can’t will be back in full-force next year), and we’ll continue to update you on the latest developments below!

Original article, 3/18/20:

In the wake of of today’s announcement that Bonnaroo 2020 has been postponed to September, along with similar news that Atlanta’s Shaky Knees is moving to October, both coming after weeks of other festival news like the cancelation of Austin’s SXSW and Knoxville’s Big Ears, and the high-profile postponement of Coachella, we’ve decided to put together a partial guide to the 2020 music festival season, where you can more easily track cancellations, postponements, and events still scheduled to go on as planned, as well as conveniently scope out the updated calendar of dates.

It’s an unprecedented moment in American history (and a hard time for many who rely on live music for their livelihood), and as the situation with COVID-19 and the timetable necessary to combat it changes each day, it is important to be patient while each event works hard to determine what is the best decision for public safety. It’s still unclear when we can expect a return to normalcy, but at this point, the remaining spring events seem all but guaranteed to shift or cancel, as early summer begins to clear out as well. Not every festival will find a new date, and the ones that do may have slightly altered lineups, but we’re hoping that at the end of all of this, all will be in a position to return in 2021 despite the financial and logistical burden of these changes.

This is not a complete list of every American festival, but, rather, a rundown on most music fests local and regional to Nashville, along with some of our favorite national events that we watch and occasionally attend each season. Like the festivals themselves, the scope of our 2020 coverage at this point remains uncertain, but we hope, like many of you, to be back out and enjoying music festivals in a few months. We’ll do our best to keep this list updated, but for the latest information, hit the link at the end of each listing.

3/18: Originally ran this post, with spring and early summer cancelation and postponement info.

3/23: Updated information for Double Decker Arts Festival, Beale Street Music Festival, Homecoming, & Riverbend Festival.

3/24: Updated information for Firefly Music Festival, which has been canceled, and new dates for Double Decker Arts Festival.

3/26: Updated information for The Governor’s Ball, which has been canceled.

3/27: Updated postponement information for Beale Street Music Fest.

3/31: Updated cancelation information for CMA Fest and Boston Calling.

4/1: Updated cancelation, pending postponement information for Hangout Fest.

4/3: Updated cancelation info for The National’s Homecoming Festival in Cincinnati.

4/7: Updated cancelation info for Bunbury and BUKU (which had previously been postponed).

4/16: Updated cancelation info for New Orleans Jazz Fest (originally postponed), Hangout Fest (had previously explored postponement), and Forecastle Fest.

4/21: Updated cancelation info for New Orleans’ Voodoo Fest, the latest calendar cancelation we’ve seen so far.

4/24: Updated cancelation info for Hometown Rising, Louder Than Life, and Bourbon & Beyond, all in Louisville.

4/25: Updated cancelation info for Musicians Corner’s spring season.

5/6: Updated cancelation info for Pitchfork Music Festival.

5/27: Updated cancelation info for Muddy Roots Spring Weekender.

6/3: Updated cancelation info for Chattanooga’s Riverbend Festival, Alabama’s Furnace Fest.

6/9: Updated cancelation info for Lollapalooza.

6/11: Added confirmed 2021 dates for postponed and canceled events.

6/16: Updated cancelation/postponement info for Riot Fest and Atlanta’s Music Midtown.

6/19: Updated cancelation info for Shaky Knees, Beale Street, Railbird Fest, Moon River, and Double Decker Art Fest.

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CANCELED: SXSW (Austin, TX) – originally March 13-22 [more]

CANCELED: BUKU Music + Art Project (New Orleans, LA) – originally March 20-21; briefly postponed to Sept. 4-6 before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Big Ears Festival (Knoxville, TN) – originally March 26-29 [more]

CANCELED: Rites of Spring (Nashville,TN) – originally April 17-18 [more]

CANCELED: New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (New Orleans, LA) – originally April 23-May 3; briefly postponed without a date before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Sweetwater 420 Fest (Atlanta, GA) – originally April 24-26 [more]

CANCELED: Shaky Boots (Atlanta, GA) – originally May 8-9 [more]

CANCELED: Homecoming (Cincinnati, OH) – originally May 8-9 [more]

CANCELED: Musicians Corner – Spring Season (Nashville, TN) – originally May 8 – June 27 [more]

CANCELED: Hangout Music Festival (Gulf Shores, AL) – originally May 15-17 [more]

CANCELED: Riverbend Festival (Chattanooga, TN) – originally May 27-30; briefly postponed without a date before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Boston Calling (Boston, MA) – originally May 28-30 [more]

CANCELED: CMA Fest (Nashville, TN) – originally June 4-7 [more]

CANCELED: The Governor’s Ball Music Festival (New York, NY) – originally June 5-7 [more]

CANCELED: Bunbury Music Festival (Cincinnati, OH) – originally June 5-7 [more]

CANCELED: Muddy Roots Spring Weekender (Nashville, TN) – originally June 12-13 [more]

CANCELED: Firefly Music Festival (Dover, DE) – originally June 18-21 [more]

CANCELED: Forecastle Festival (Louisville, KY) – originally July 17-19 [more]

CANCELED: Pitchfork Music Festival (Chicago, IL) – originally July 17-19 [more]

CANCELED: Lollapalooza (Chicago, IL) – originally July 30-Aug. 2 [more]

CANCELED: Double Decker Arts Festival (Oxford, MS) – originally April 24-25; postponed to Aug. 14-15 before cancelation [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Live on the Green (Nashville, TN) – Aug. 20-Sept. 6 [more]

CANCELED: Railbird Festival (Lexington, KY) – originally Aug. 22-23 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Muddy Roots Music Festival (Cookeville, TN) – Sept. 3-6 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Musicians Corner – Fall Season (Nashville, TN) – Sept. 3-24 [more]

CANCELED: Riot Fest (Chicago, IL) – originally Sept. 11-13 [more]

CANCELED: Moon River Music Festival (Chattanooga, TN) – Sept. 12-13 [more]

CANCELED: Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival (Louisville, KY) – originally Sept. 12-13 [more]

CANCELED: Louder Than Life (Louisville, KY) – originally Sept. 17-20 [more]

CANCELED: Furnace Fest (Birmingham, AL) – originally Sept. 18-20; new 2021 dates of May 14-16 announced [more]

CANCELED: Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) – Sept. 19-20 [more]

POSTPONED: Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (Manchester, TN) – originally June 11-14; now Sept. 24-27 [more]

CANCELED: Bourbon & Beyond (Louisville, KY) – originally Sept. 25-27 [more]

CANCELED: Pilgrimage Music & Cultural Festival (Franklin, TN) – originally Sept. 26-27 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender (Nashville, TN) – Oct. 2-4 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: Austin City Limits Music Festival (Austin, TX) – Oct. 2-4 + 9-11 [more]

CANCELED: Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Indio, CA) – originally April 10-12 + 17-19; postponed to Oct. 9-11 + 16-18 before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Shaky Knees (Atlanta, GA) – originally May 1-3; postponed to Oct. 16-18 before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Beale Street Music Festival (Memphis, TN) – originally May 1-3; postponed to Oct. 16-18 before cancelation [more]

CANCELED: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (New Orleans, LA) – originally Oct. 30-Nov. 1 [more]

STILL SCHEDULED: The Fest (Gainesville, FL) – Oct. 30-Nov. 1 [more]

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CONFIRMED 2021 FESTIVAL DATES:

BUKU Music + Art Project (New Orleans, LA) – March 19-20, 2021; lineup announcement coming fall 2020, aiming for similar lineup [more]

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival (Indio, CA) – April 9-11 + 16-18, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets [more]

Sweetwater 420 Fest (Atlanta, GA) – April 23-25, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets and largely keeping lineup intact [more]

Beale Street Music Festival (Memphis, TN) – April 30-May 2, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets [more]

Furnace Fest (Birmingham, AL)
– May 14-16, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets and attempting to keep lineup intact [more]

Hangout Music Festival (Gulf Shores, AL) – May 21-23, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets and attempting to keep lineup intact [more]

Boston Calling (Boston, MA) –  May 28-30, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets [more]

CMA Fest (Nashville, TN) – June 10-13, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets [more]

Railbird Festival (Lexington, KY) – Aug. 21-22, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets [more]

Riot Fest (Chicago, IL) – Sept. 17-19, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets and retaining My Chemical Romance, with initial 2021 lineup already announced [more]

Music Midtown (Atlanta, GA) – Sept. 18-19, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets and retaining My Chemical Romance as headliner [more]

Voodoo Music + Arts Experience (New Orleans, LA) – Oct. 29-31, 2021; honoring 2020 tickets [more]

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