Before I ever attended EDC Las Vegas, I attended music festivals like The Hudson Project: a smaller festival located in NY that only ran for a year but had acts like Odesza, Bro Safari, Matt & Kim and Kendrick Lamar. Looking back after having traveled to attend many more festivals–including EDC & other Insomniac events–I’ve come to appreciate the art of looking into other music festivals that may not be as popular but still pack a heavy punch. I've gathered 5 hidden gem festivals that are absolutely worth looking into & adding to your bucket list!
Das Energi Festival
Location: Magna, UT
Dates: August 12 + 13, 2022
Das Energi is, without a doubt, Utah’s biggest and best EDM festival. Taking place every August, this is THE perfect fest to close out your summer with! The festival takes over the entirety of the Great Saltair, a palatial structure on the beach of the Great Salt Lake which is now surrounded by ravers from all over the US. Boasting both an indoor and an outdoor stage with overlooks of the Great Salt Lake and surrounding salt flats, it’s truly as stunning as it is well put together.
V2 Presents, the event promoter, hosts a number of other festivals throughout the year in the same location (Get Lucky, Get Funky & Get Freaky), but Das Energi truly sets itself apart with its lineup and level of production, especially with their outdoor stage: the Temple of Boom.
Get lost in the Galactic Flats where you can find amazing art put together by various local artists, vendors, great food & more. Das Energi does tend to sell out, so make sure to grab your tickets ASAP!
Location: Miami, FLA
Dates: October 21 + 22, 2022
Head over to the wonderful world of Wynwood, Miami to immerse yourself in eclectic music while losing yourself in interactive installations full of color & culture. Although the III Points lineup boasts names like Rosalía, LCD Soundsystem, Porter Robinson, Black Coffee and Flume, the festival curators made sure to gather an incredibly unique, and diverse lineup with other names like Danny Daze, Overmono, La Goony Chonga & more that are definitely worth looking into as well! In fact, the festival curated a special Spotify playlist so you can easily dive into the vibes!
Make sure to pack your roller blades (they have the coolest roller rink - definitely gives Camp EDC a run for their money!) and comfortable shoes, since there are 6 stages you’ll likely be walking back and forth from. Follow them on Instagram for more updates as they often announce shows in partnership with local clubs like Space Miami leading up to the fest!
Location: Mojave Desert
Dates: April 28 - May 2, 2022
The EDM world often tends to focus on the larger music festivals like EDC and Electric Forest because it’s true, there are really well known artists on those lineups every year. Festivals like Desert Hearts, however, manage to stand out as a movement with the annual festival that kicks off their summer-long North American tour with founder Mikey Lion & friends. Who are his friends? You can find artists like: Lubelski, Marbs, Porky, Kevin Knapp, Rybo & more.
The festival is perfect for those who want to move away from more mainstream festivals and into ones that are perhaps more intimate, more underground & just different than what we’re used to. Not to mention, it takes place in the Mojave Desert, which is absolutely stunning and a perfect place to disconnect from the norm and reconnect with yourself & that which makes you truly unique in this world!
The festival is based on the foundations of House, Techno, and Love, so if you’re into that you will love Desert Hearts festival!
Buku Music + Arts Project
Location: New Orleans, LA
Date: March 25 + 26, 2022
Buku, a New Orleans slang term that means "plenty" brings together everything you could ever love about New Orleans into one festival. From local delicacies to Mardi Gras themes, street art, and the way the festival gives back to its local community through various grassroots initiatives, Buku does the absolute most every year to bring attendees an unforgettable experience in the artsy lower garden district of the city.
As if the visual arts weren’t enough of a spectacle, you can shuffle or headbang the night away to your favorite EDM artists or shout your favorite lyrics back to your fav rappers like Tyler, The Creator’s legendary performance this past year!
Other unforgettable performances by Dom Dolla, Glass Animals, Taking Back Sunday, Kaytranada and Porter Robinson have graced the stages of Buku in previous years, some of which you can watch on their YouTube channel here. Head over to their website to check out their ticket info or their Instagram to get a feel for the vibe of the fest and stay tuned to their latest updates!
Gem & Jam
Location: Tucson, AZ
Dates: February 3 - 5, 2023
Last but not least we have Gem & Jam, a cute festival that takes place at the Pima County Fairgrounds in Tucson, right in the middle of winter. So if you hate the cold but love jam bands and electronic music, rare gems, and trippy vibes, this festival is for you.
Bringing together over 1,000 live painters, psychedelic dancers, jewelry and crystal vendors, and artists that traverse the metaphysical with their sounds (think STS9, Lotus, Liquid Stranger, Big Gigantic and Tipper), Gem & Jam draws a colorful crowd that continues to grow in size since its inception in 2005.
Gem & Jam also offers a variety of workshops for attendees to attend, including yoga, drum circles, sound baths and more. It truly is a magical experience and one of Arizona’s best music festivals outside of Relentless Beats or Insomniac events.