Spring Music Festivals Cash In on Success

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. ( MainStreet) -- There are some who argue that if Woodstock were to happen again, it would barely register among all of today's international music festivals. Top concerts that often spread out over several days and sometimes weeks around key regions of the U.S. have become lucrative tourism models that seem to only get bigger and more expensive with each passing year.

In Miami, the music season gets its kickoff with the arrival of Winter Music Conference. Launched in 1985, the now nine-day event starts Friday and offers musicians and artists a platform of promoted events, workshops, parties and seminars that envelope South Beach. A flurry of DJ pool sessions and late-night parties include the cutting edge of dance music as well as more organized music seminars. Tickets are still available to the general public for upward of $395 per person.
The annual South by Southwest melds the world of independent film, music and interactive technology into a sexy and free-spirited festival in Austin, Texas.

Starting March 23 in Miami you'll find the Ultra Music Festival, one of the world's top electronic music events, where a series of sold-out concerts center on the downtown Bayfront Park. Some of the world's biggest names in electronic and indie-rock music are taking part in the event, including Tiesto, Fatboy Slim, Kaskade, Armin van Buuren and David Guetta. Given the recent infiltration of electronic dance music into the U.S. pop mainstream, Ultra Music Festival enjoyed its biggest year ever in 2011, with more than 150,000 attendees, and even more are expected this year.

Until Sunday in Austin, Texas, you'll find South by Southwest, which melds the world of independent film, music and interactive technology into a sexy and free-spirited festival that includes intimate to large outdoor concerts, film screenings, a proper convention and downtown street fair extravaganza. The festival is divided into segments, with interactive arts on the first four days (with tech-minded visitors mixing organized events and soirees at sponsored lounges by companies such as Microsoft ( MSFT), AT&T ( T) and Samsung) and film extending through most of the festival, overlapping with the ever-popular music portion that dominates the city for five days and remains the aspect for which SXSW is widely known.

In April, a two-hour drive from Los Angeles toward Death Valley is where you'll find the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which offers an annual lineup of some of the most famous and varied performers in the industry -- including Paul McCartney, Jay-Z and Coldplay -- for a star-studded concert event that many consider the best in the U.S. This year, to accommodate the festival's enormous success, Coachella will play out over two weekends from Friday through Sunday beginning April 13 and 20.

Coachella 2012 performers include Swedish House Mafia, The Black Keys, Bon Iver, Dr. Dre and Florence + the Machine, playing in a massive outdoor venue of stages and tents on the Empire Polo Club. It's known for its parking and entry-line chaos, so visitors should consider a taxi or private transportation (or upgrade to VIP tickets for faster access). While anyone can buy a VIP wristband, this year you can also camp like a rockstar within furnished safari-style tents with air conditioning and private showers that come with the all-access "artist" wristband passes like the actual performers get. But before you pack your guitar bag, be aware tickets cost $6,500 per two-guest tent available over each of the two weekends.

On May 19-20, electronic house aficionados move onto New Jersey's MetLife ( MET) Stadium for a weekend of techno-themed extravagance: the latest installment of the Electric Daisy Carnival. This year the two-day event is to include such performers as Afrojack, Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angello, Erick Morillo, Fatboy Slim and Calvin Harris, all enjoying a surge in Top 40 popularity that hopefully translates to stronger sales for all the "Daisy" carnivals. Hosted by Insomniac Events, the festival that got its start in Southern California culminates in a grand Las Vegas concert finale June 8. Last year it included more than 250,000 attendees.

And for those without any Memorial Day plans, the Sasquatch! Music Festival is a four-day music festival outside Seattle overlooking the Columbia River. Many festival groupies consider it one of the prettiest and best-organized events around. Similar to European destination festivals such as Glastonbury, the festival has four-day passes that include a camping spot. Those looking for a bit more glitz are offered a VIP tent option with perks such as a lounge bar and golf cart chauffeur to the main event areas. This year the festival showcases an amazing lineup of artists including Jack White, Beck, Beirut and The Shins, staying true to its indie and rock roots despite the obvious financial advantages of a more integrated pop or hip-hop lineup now favored at other large U.S. music festivals.

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Michael Martin is the managing editor of JetSetReport.com, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.

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