Best Music Festivals to Attend in 2023

Austin City Limits

October 6-8 & 13-15, 2023 (Zilker Metropolitan Park in Austin, Texas)

A Festival for True Music Lovers

Back for its 22nd year, Austin City Limits Music Festival (October 6-8 and October 13-15, 2023) brings the magic of the famed public TV series Austin City Limits outside the studio and into Austin’s most beloved park. ACL Festival features a diverse lineup of acts every year with 9 stages, 100+ performances – and, best of all, two weekends. It truly as all about the music … and the food isn’t too far behind.

Inspired by a concert series of the same name, the festival is an eight stage celebration of all things music, along with an art market, delicious food and drink, a dedicated family area and much more. Originally a one weekend event, the festival successfully expanded to two weekends in 2012 after the local council voted unanimously to allow it to do so.

Head to Austin Eats, the festival’s bountiful foodie area to sample some of the state’s delicacies; BBQ wings, tacos, and ice cream. Kids are welcome, with entry for under 10’s free of charge, and a dedicated ‘Austin Kiddie Limits’ festival just for little ones.

While the festival stays true to its southern origins, a progressive environmentalist culture is promoted through the resources provided. The festival only sells paper and aluminum products and encourages the use of reusable water bottles. Volunteers walk around the park picking up trash and recyclables in the hopes of winning a free tee shirt—an incentive offered by Rock & Recycle, an organization dedicated to keeping Zilker Park clean during ACL weekends. 

 Artists who have played at the festival include Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Depeche Mode, The Cure, Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses, Tame Impala, Arcade Fire, Muse, Vampire Weekend, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters, Austin native Gary Clark Jr., and more.

According to, Austin-based country band Asleep at the Wheel is the only act to book an appearance at every year of the music festival. Rock band Spoon, also from Austin, is in a distant second with nine years, and musician Gary Lee Clark Jr. has the next spot with eight years.

Tickets: Starting at $285

Suwannee Hulaween

October 26-29, 2023 (Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida)

Halloween’s Cheesiest Music Festival

Suwannee Hulaween takes place around Halloween at The Spirit of Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. It is a “Cheese Fest” headed up by The String Cheese Incident, who play several sets over the course of the weekend. For some this a deal-sealed, for others… just here us out.

Hula (as it’s fondly called) casts a wide net over multiple genres, including jam, jamtronica, EDM, reggae, bluegrass, soul, rap, hip hop, R&B, indie pop, rock, blues, funk, and bass. You’ll rack up a marathon’s worth of miles over the weekend trying to get to all the stages plus the impromptu pop-up jams and mobile stage that meanders through the park all weekend.

Promoters Silver Wrapper and Purple Hat Productions, along with input from The String Cheese Incident, work tirelessly to piece together a jigsaw puzzle of artists who bring their A-game. The result is mind-blowing and hard to take in completely because there’s so much music to sample – FOMO is sometimes a side effect. 

Past lineups have included My Morning Jacket, Bassnectar, Griz, Big Gigantic, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Ween, Kamasi Washington, Run The Jewels, Bluesky Greengrass, Lettuce, Damian Marley – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

When it comes to the production of not only the stage sets but the whole aesthetic of the festival, it is hard to put into words. It’s out of this world. There are light shows, lasers, fireworks, humongous floats, acrobats, dancers, mist machines, art installations, stage sets to rival anything on Broadway, live painting, performance artists, jet packs, fire, and live sets that yank your inner wild child out to dance like your life depends on it.

With spooky Spanish Moss draped from the trees like mystical curtains, and big swamp energy infused into every path, there truly isn’t a more fitting venue for a Halloween-themed festival. The grounds are magical. The lake itself is magically lit up with a three-dimensional laser show that runs as long as there is darkness. There’s a hidden DJ booth called Incendia that pumps late into the night and with living sculptures made of wood and metal that are big enough to crawl into all while watching glowing aliens, laser and mist installations, performance artists, fire twirlers and aerialists. 

The campgrounds at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park have a large fully-stocked general store, restaurant, indoor concert hall, bathhouses, horseback riding stables, a beach, walking trails, cabin rentals and well-appointed campsites.

Festival camping goes a little differently here than at other festivals. Unlike many festivals sites where you’re crammed with thousands of other campers into an open field to bake in the sun by staff, you have complete free range to find your own campsite within the grounds once you drive through the gates. Camping in the woods is best because you get shade in the mornings and throughout the day, which means more time spent sleeping in or taking disco naps.

Since Hula is over Halloween weekend, many people dress up in fun costumes. And each year there is a theme that is picked for the weekend vibe that correlates with Saturday night String Cheese set. Past themes have been Stringier Things, Suwannee Horror Disco Show, Night of the Loving Dead, and Ghoul Train.

Festivals, the really special ones at least, will give you moments that will be unique to the rest of your live music experience in life. In the heart of Spirit Lake where Hula happens is where these magically memories take place.

Tickets: Starting at $429

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.