According to Fest Forums, about one-fifth of the United States population attends at least one music, film or food festival in the country annually. However, it’s not just Sundance and Coachella that draw amazing crowds. North America is home to hundreds of gatherings for film and music superfans.
If you haven’t made it to a festival yet this year or you just need more, you’re in luck. The back half of 2018 is set to be a great time for festival lovers. Below are North America’s must-go fests between July and December of 2018 that will feature both movies and music.
Traverse City Film Festival, Michigan
This one is for all the film buffs who also love local music. From July 31 to August 5 in Traverse City, Michigan, the TCFF will screen great movies that celebrate the art of filmmaking and entrain all kinds of audiences.
Michael Moore, the festival’s founder, says: “We are committed to showing great movies that both entertain and enlighten the audience. We need movies that seek to enrich the human spirit and the art of filmmaking, not the bottom line.” In between films and at all parties, local bands will be playing sets, as well.
Square Lake Music & Film Festival, Minnesota
The Square Lake Music & Film Festival takes places just outside of Square Lake County Park, just northeast of Minneapolis, which is the perfect setting for music and movies to collide.
Amid the scenery, you can head to the barn for exciting new films from a variety of genres, including animated, experimental, short documentary and comedic. Between films, head to the stage from live performances from Night Moves, Erik Koskinen, Dave King, Under Violet, Lady Midnight, Pieta Brown, Flavor Crystals, Soft Topics, and Lovers on the Balcony. This one-day event happens on August 11.
Long Beach Indie Film & Music Festival, California
Head to the iconic beaches of Southern California to enjoy a festival like none other. The Long Beach Indie Film & Music Festival will wrap up the summer festival season between August 29 and September 2 this year. This festival encourages filmmakers from all walks of life and who work in all genres to submit their work. In turn, attendees get to see a variety of films that ignite and inspire.
This is the perfect event for anyone who wants to work in the entertainment industry, and it’s great fun for anyone who simply enjoys great cinema on the beach.
Sacramento Film & Music Festival, California
Though the dates are not yet set in stone, it’s already time to look forward to the Sacramento Film & Music Festival for 2018. The fest screens all genres of film from around the world, so there’s something for everyone.
Bonus: Some screenings take place inside Sacramento’s historic Little Theater, which first opened in 1927. In this intimate setting, you can revel in both film and local music.
Queen Mary Film Fest, California
The Queen Mary Film Fest takes everything you love about movies and music, then puts it all on one of the most iconic ships in the world. The fest’s namesake will be home to themed parties, live music and incredible films September 21–23. The organizers promise the best hospitality, incredible views and a great time for each attendee.
Hamilton Music and Film Festival, Ontario
On September 22 and 23, more than 500 film and music fans will descend on Hamilton, Canada, for this cool event. The Hamilton Music and Film Festival organizers carefully screen both the films in the contest and the bands who play in between to curate a perfect weekend. Check out acts like Thrifty Kids, Luke Nicholson, Sun K and Phantom Atlantic.
Jerome Indie Film Festival, Arizona
The organizers for the Jerome Indie Film Festival describe the films as both heartfelt and defiantly raw. That independent spirit carries throughout every nook and cranny of this festival.
The event also offers plenty of networking opportunities for film industry professionals. Additionally, this festival will treat you to local music, food and wine from September 27 to 30. If you love supporting independent artists of all kinds, this one is a must.
The Experimental Film, Dance and Music Festival, Ontario and California
The Experimental Film, Dance and Music Festival invites attendees to try new ways of self expression. Treat yourself to thought-provoking films and groundbreaking music videos at this festival. Screenings include positive and informative conversations following each film. Events will take place in both Toronto and Los Angeles.
Hell’s Half Mile, Michigan
Hell’s Half Mile is truly equal parts music and film. Named after an infamous stretch of Bay City’s riverfront, the festival is known for being one of the more wild events in Michigan. The films in this festival are from all kinds of genres. You may laugh until you cry in one screening and then think seriously about your life’s goals after a hard-hitting documentary in the next screening.
In the past, musical artists have included Electric Six, Queen Qwong, LXL and Valley Hush. You can see and hear the fun for yourself September 27–30 this year.
Hosted in Atlanta, A3C is a hip-hop fan’s dream-come-true. This five-day event will take place October 3–7, and for this year the whole Wu-Tang Clan will get together for an exclusive headlining performance this year.
The festival also features a contest for emerging hip-hop artists. Anyone can vote online for the best artist. In addition to the music, A3C will feature hip-hop-inspired art, including films.
New Orleans Film Festival, Louisiana
This is a film festival done in the way that only The Big Easy can do. The New Orleans Film Festival is a celebration of everything that makes movies enjoyable. From October 17 to 25, you can be one of the 25,000 people to enjoy this event.
In between showings, make sure to hit up some of the festival’s fun events. From the opening party to the Diva Dance Fever party, there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy local musicians.
Desert Rocks F.A.M.E., California
In late October in Hesperia, fans of film and fun will meet to celebrate independent films, emerging musical artists and inventive music videos. Desert Rocks F.A.M.E. takes places in an intimate theater that many fans love. Last year featured musical acts including DJ Thomas Whitlock, Kings Trio and Leon Blue. Films include variety shorts and full-length feature films.
National Film Festival for Talented Youth, Washington
Today’s young filmmakers will influence generations to come with their art. That’s why the National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY) showcases incredible films with directors who are 24 years old or younger. October 25–28 in Seattle, you can revel in the art that tomorrow’s top filmmakers are creating today.
Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, Illinois
Each year since 2008, the Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMM Fest) has brought together the best of both the music and film industries. Over the past decade, the festival has become one of the biggest cultural events in Chicago. Films in the festival come from all genres and from filmmakers around the world.
The 10-year anniversary festival will also feature a stunning lineup of live musicians from a variety of genres (last year’s headliners included Silversun Pickups and Minus the Bear playing a show at the century-old Riviera Theatre).
Austin Music Video Fest, Texas
Austin is well-known for its music, film and festival scenes. All of these come together for the Austin Music Video Fest, which will take place December 4–8. While this year’s lineup is still pending, it’s safe to say it will be weird in all the right ways. Attendees will be treated to live concerts, exciting music video premieres and awesome parties all weekend long.
Whether you’re a hardcore film buff who likes music too or a music junkie who likes a good flick, there are plenty of festivals for you in the remainder of 2018. If you like jazz, hip-hop, folk, rock, or any other music, there is still a festival for you this year. Likewise, fans of any film genre can delight in discovering emerging film talents.
Each of these events offers unique flare, inspiring filmmakers, talented artists and the promise of a good time.
Images by: Samuel Zeller, Connor Limbocker, Jeremy Yap