How To Find New Music Using Festival Lineups

How To Find New Music Using Festival Lineups

A few weeks back I did a post on the best ways to find new music, and number three on that list was a suggestion to use Festival Lineups. Since I haven’t seen anybody else make this suggestion around the web, I figured I’d expand on that method and break down for you step by step how to find chill new music using festival lineups. They really are a goldmine for discovering new artists.

Step One: Find A Festival With Artists You Already Like

This shouldn’t be very difficult. If you’re having trouble finding a good festival, go to Music Festival Wizard and look at music festivals by genre, and pick your favorite genre. For this, I’m gonna go with Indie. On each genre page, the festivals are listed in chronological order. Click one that sounds familiar, and see what bands made the lineup. If nothing catches your eye on the first festival you pick, go back and try again.

Since I have tickets to Shaky Knees Festival, I’m gonna use the lineup to find some new music. Below you will find a cropped version of the 2016 Shaky Knees Festival lineup. It has plenty of bands I already know and enjoy (i.e. My Morning Jacket, Foxing, Foals, Houndmouth, and many more), as well as quite a few bands who I’ve never heard of before. That means this lineup is perfect for me to find new bands. Also, check out High Water Festival in Charleston, SC.

Step Two: Listen To An Artist You Don’t Know

Alright, so it’s important to keep in mind some basic things about music festival posters. First of all, they are usually organized with the headliners at the top, and the rest of the bands listed in descending order according to how far removed they are from the headliner. While this isn’t always the case, it’s very common and it’s certainly the case for the Shaky Knees Lineup. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the bands at the top are going to be better, just that they are more well-known. For example, I can’t stand Florence + The Machine, yet she’s at the very top, headlining on day three.

Since there are about an equal amount of bands I like on each day (with the exception of the third headliner), I’m not going to discriminate between which day I pull a band from. I’m just gonna pick one that has a vaguely familiar name and pull some of their music up on Spotify. From there I normally start with the most popular song, and work my way through. I may end up listening to the whole album that a song I like comes from, or I’ll just listen to the band’s entire collection on shuffle, picking out songs I like one by one. If I find myself not liking a majority of their songs, I go back to the lineup and pick a new artist.

The first name that caught my eye was Crystal Fighters, but after listening to a few of their songs I decided that I didn’t like them at all, so I just moved on to a different artist. The next artist I chose was Wolf Alice, and man, am I digging their sound. I’ve pasted below a Spotify embed of their most recent album, My Love Is Cool, that I found by looking at the Shaky Knees Festival Lineup.

Wolf Alice – My Love Is Cool (Album)

Now that I’ve found one artist I can dig, I can continue this process for as long as I’d like, with any number of music festivals. The only way I can see this method not working is if you already know all the bands on all the lineups. If that’s the case, you should probably take the headphones off for a few months. Give it some time for the new bands to find their way out of obscurity and into the festival circuit, allowing you to once again feast on the fresh tunes.

If you thought this post was interesting or better yet, if this post helped you find new music, we’d love to know. Please feel free to leave a comment or tweet at us!

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