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The best fall music festivals in the U.S.

Here's your guide to the best fall music festivals happening around the country from Los Angeles to Miami

By Andrew Frisicano and Time Out editors |
Austin City Limits
Photograph: Courtesy Austin CVB/Andy Forde

Summer may be gone but there are still plenty of U.S. music festivals to check out this year. Places like Chicago aren't quite bracing for winter yet: Events like Riot Fest and Pygmalion Festival provide one last reason to hear music under the open sky, even if you need to bring a sweater. And in cities like Los Angeles, Austin and Miami, fall is prime music festival season (and a great time to take a trip if you're stuck up north).

Best fall music festivals in the U.S.

Frankie Cosmos
Photograph: Courtesy Matthew James-Wilson

Sept 26–29: The Pygmalion Festival, Champaign-Urbana, IL

Pretend you're majoring in music, literature or technology at this multi-faceted fest on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Sets from the likes of Mount Kimbie, Frankie Cosmos (pictured), Playboy Carti and Jpegmafia form the bulk of Pygmalion's syllabus, but you can also check out comedy sets from Kyle Kinane and Tig Notaro or attend a live Tesla coil demonstration. Just leave the Jäger bombs and toga parties to the real college kids—you don't want to be late to pop-punk duo Diet Cig.

Ohana Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Ohana Festival

Sept 28–30: Ohana Festival, Orange County, CA

Though the Ohana Festival's beachfront location is its selling point, it also has a lineup to match the view. The fest's third iteration features sets from Eric Church, Norah Jones, Eddie Vedder, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Liz Phair, Johnny Marr, Mumford & Sons and Beck. Its name, as Lilo & Stitch fans can tell you, comes from the Hawaiian concept of family, and as such the beachfront festival will give back to its own community by donating a portion of proceeds to the San Onofre Parks Foundation.

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Oct 5–7: Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, San Francisco

Gifted to the city of San Francisco by the late, great Warren Hellman, this free three-day music fest in Golden Gate Park is a Mecca for fans of Americana, playing a very close second fiddle (pun intended, and only according to some) to Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island. Hardly Strictly always boasts an eye-crossing number of high-caliber acts (with Alison Krauss, Roky Erickson and Jeff Tweedy among them), and production is minimal, which means seeing a set feels a bit like jamming with friends in the woods. The vibe is mellow, the music is spectacular and best of all, it’s BYOB.

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Austin City Limits
Photograph: David Brendan Hall

Oct 5–7, 12–14: ACL Music Festival, Austin

Now in its 17th year, Austin City Limits returns for two back-to-back weekends of hip-hop, rock, indie pop and electronic sound waves at ATX's crown jewel, Zilker Park. With the Live Musical Capital of the World's twinkling skyline as its backdrop, the festival showcases over 125 bands on eight stages—not to mention, there's a killer food truck scene to keep everyone fueled between sets (plus Barton Springs is a short jaunt away for when the heat becomes too much). Paul McCartney, Metallica and Childish Gambino sit at the top of this year's eclectic bill.

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Desert Daze
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Esoteric Sapience

Oct 12–14: Desert Daze, Lake Perris, CA

Desert Daze is your antidote to the typical desert gathering (think a noisier, more indie lineup than Coachella and less dirt than Burning Man). Though it’s close enough to L.A. to go just for the day, the fest caters to campers with easy access to hiking trails and a bazaar of mystics and wanderers. Tame Imala, My Bloody Valentine, Death Grips, Shellac, Mercury Rev, Warpaint and Ty Segall top this year’s lineup.

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Festival of Disruption
Photograph: Courtesy Festival of Disruption

Oct 13, 14: Festival of Disruption, Los Angeles

David Lynch’s Festival of Disruption is once again set to take over the Theatre at Ace Hotel. The Twin Peaks director has curated the entire fest, which includes a mind-bogglingly amazing lineup of musicians, actors and artists, including music from Vic Mensa and Mike Patton, a live score by RZA, a sound bath from Sigur Ros’s Jónsi, talks from Francis Ford Coppola, Grace Jones and Carrie Brownstein, plus a crew of Twin Peaks collaborators.

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Treasure Island Music Festival 2016
Virginia Mae Rollison

Oct 13, 14: Treasure Island Music Festival, Oakland

The festival—returning for its eleventh year (after skipping last year)brings a weekend full of music to its new home, Middle Harbor Shoreline Park in Oakland. The lineup includes headliners Tame Impala and A$AP Rocky, as well as able party-starters such as Silk City (Diplo + Mark Ronson), Lord Huron, Santigold, Courtney Barnett, Jungle and Pusha T. It's not on an island as in past years, but its harbor-side locale isn't far off.

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Voodoo Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Cambria Harkey

Oct 26–28: Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, New Orleans

Timed to land right around the end of October, this music festival invites big names like Childish Gambino, Mumford & Sons and Arcitc Monkeys to headline the ultimate Halloween party. Don't sleep on acts like R&B singer Tinashe and indie-rock up-and-comers Big Thief. This being New Orleans you can expect plentiful food offerings like shrimp Poboys and fried duck quesadillas to keep you from stuffing yourself on trick-or-treating candy.

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Tyler, The Creator at Camp Flog Gnaw
Photograph: Rozette Rago

Nov 10, 11 : Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, Los Angeles

It’s hard to say where that tongue exercise of a title came from, but the Tyler, the Creator–curated hip-hop fest returns—this time at Dodger Stadium—for two days of live tunes, carnival rides, games, food trucks and more. This year’s blindingly star-flecked lineup of headliners includes Kids See Ghosts (Kanye West and Kid Cudi), Post Malone, SZA, A$AP Rocky, Ms. Lauryn Hill (performing The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill), Raphael Saadiq, Playboi Carti, Pusha T, BROCKHAMPTON, Kali Uchis and more.

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Photograph: Neill

Nov 10, 11: House of Creatives Music Festival, Miami

The lineup for this Miami music fest's third year puts a very goofy smile on our faces. Headliners include M.I.A., Chromeo and Foster the People, playing along side Sofi Tukker, Saint Jhn, Allah-Las, Pond and more names are coming soon. This year should be a good one: M.I.A. is building some buzz thanks to a highly-anticipated documentary hitting theaters this fall and Chromeo is—if you didn’t already know—a freaking blast-and-a-half live. Foster the People should balance things out nicely.

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