Festival Watch 2021: What's On and What's Off?

By Cassie Whitt

Ultra music festival week 1 - 2013 - Miami, FL | Photo by: Vinch

As we continue to develop digital solutions to atone for the current lack of in-person live music experiences, we’re also looking toward a future where they will exist and flourish again. We looked to some of the largest events in the world to get an idea of what top promoters like Goldenvoice are deeming potentially safe comeback dates for music festivals.

While the trend is that most festivals originally scheduled for fall 2020 are still on for fall 2021, some festivals usually held earlier in the year, like Pitchfork, for example, have attempted to reschedule for fall, anticipating conditions may not be favorable for their annual event otherwise held in July.

South By Southwest (SXSW) and AFROPUNK have opted to take their experience digital rather than to cancel altogether. AFROPUNK Festival has branded the change as a way to bring their event worldwide, having billed it as “Planet AFROPUNK.”

Of all music festivals in the U.S., those in the EDM realm are proving the most optimistic for spring with ULTRA in Miami still planned to go forward March 26-28 and Electric Daisy Las Vegas planned for May 21-23. However, spring’s usual largest festival Coachella, doesn’t share said optimism, having already canceled their annual April event earlier this year.

Summer being an active festival season has yet to be seen, with usual-July monster Lollapalooza having not been announced yet and June’s massive hip-hop celebration the Hot 97 Summer Jam continuing to hold out on details, as well. However, as of now, Firefly Music Festival in Delaware (June 18-21) and Hard Summer in California (July 31-August 1) are still on.

By August, things, by and large, are set to move as usual with the U.K.’s massive Reading & Leeds Festivals leading the way into September and October where Bonnaroo, Summerfest and Austin City Limits remain on the calendar.

As of February 15, 2021, some of the world’s largest festivals have the following statuses moving forward:


Month Festival Status
March South By Southwest Online
  ULTRA Music Festival (Miami) (Update: Canceled)
  Download Festival (AUS) Unannounced
April Coachella Canceled
May Electric Daisy Carnival (Las Vegas) Active
  Boston Calling Music Festival Active
June Download Festival (U.K.) (Update: Canceled)
  Firefly Music Festival Active
  Glastonbury (U.K.) Canceled
  Hot 97 Summer Jam Unannounced
July/August Lollapalooza Unannounced
  HARD Summer Active
August Reading Festival (U.K.) Active
  Leeds Festival (U.K.) Active
  Summer Sonic (JAP) Unannounced
September Pitchfork Music Festival Unannounced
  Bonnaroo Active
  Pitchfork Music Festival Unannounced
  Riot Fest Active
  Summerfest Active
  The Governor's Ball Active
September/October Rock In Rio (BR) Active
October Austin City Limits Active
  Planet AFROPUNK Online
November Electric Daisy Carnival (Orlando) Active


The Governor’s Ball which is currently scheduled for September 24-26 issued the following statement about the festival’s current decision to move forward as intended, “Given that vaccines are rolling out and many experts predict a return to live music events in the Fall, we are hopeful. We’re booking an amazing lineup and making sure all suggested safety protocols are followed. Rest assured that safety is our first priority and we are working closely with all city and state authorities on everything.”

Do you expect the concert industry to return to a sense of normalcy by August?