5 of the Best Country and Western Music Festivals in the South
It’s festival season in the south. The sun is out, the temperature is high, and all across the nation, country music fans are picking out their outfits and planning their itineraries. There are a variety of music festivals that cater to everyone’ tastes, but if you are specifically interested in finding the most highly rated country festivals, there are a lot of options available throughout the southern states. Whether you’re willing to travel or hoping to find something in your own backyard, there are so many festivals nowadays that you’re almost guaranteed to find something within spitting distance.
Although there are country and Western festivals in most states, it’s undeniable that the south is synonymous with good old-fashioned traditional country music—ten-gallon hats included. In addition, the weather in the south makes it a perfect place to hold overnight festivals. If camping is your thing, you can find a lot of opportunities to sleep under the stars in the rural south. If you’re hoping for the authentic Western experience, look no further than the following. Get your crop tops and cowboy boots ready—country fans know how to throw a party.
1. Dega Jam
There are few things more American than country music—except for Fourth of July parties. Deja Jam, a three-day country fest in Talladega, AL, falls on the weekend before the Fourth, and this year, features such talent as Toby Keith, Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and more. Don your stars and stripes and get ready to hear some great country music from both the past and present. With a lineup that combines classic and contemporary, this festival will appeal to young and old alike. Camping is available onsite and tickets start at only $179.
2. Riverbend Festival
With a name that calls to mind long, lazy Tennessee summers, this Chattanooga festival caters to fans of contemporary country as well as classic rock, bluegrass, indie, and urban. Ambrosia, Blackberry Smoke, Brett Eldredge, and Aunt Betty are some of the most popular acts that will make an appearance this year. The festival spans nine days in mid-June in the heart of historic, vibrant Chattanooga. You can grab tickets starting at $55, but if you’re traveling from out of town, you’ll have to work out the details of your accommodation yourself; there is no place to camp onsite.
This Owensboro, KY festival, which runs from June 22 to June 25 each year, draws in an electric mix of alt-country and bluegrass. Camping is available onsite and tickets are $125 for all four days. This year the headliners include Annabelle Watts and The Infamous Stringdusters. There aren’t as many acts performing as some other festivals with a larger variety, but what ROMP lacks in quantity, they make up for in the quality of each of their performing artists.
You can treat yourself to the sounds of old country and bluegrass at this festival, nestled in the Ozarks of Arkansas and featuring Yonder Mountain String Band as the headlining act this year. Tickets are $140, which is a good deal considering the fact that the festival runs for an entire week. If you plan to stay for the whole time, you can camp onsite. The only thing more appealing than the music is the mountain view.
5. The Basics
If you’re a country lover in the city, perhaps this festival, located in the heart of Louisville, KY, will be more your style. If you’re a local, you’ll be able to attend all three days in mid-July, but out-of-towners will have to find another place to sleep; there is unfortunately no camping available at this festival. The trip to Louisville is worth it just for the impressive lineup this year: Alabama Shakes, Brandi Carlile, Heartless Bastards, and The Avett Brothers will all be playing.