When you think of music festivals in Massachusetts, your mind most likely goes to Boston Calling, which takes place next month. However, the Bay State is filled with various other music and arts events throughout the Spring, Summer, and Fall. The most unique music festivals in Massachusetts happen all over the Bay State.

Although Boston Calling over Memorial Day weekend is the largest, it’s not the first festival weekend to kickoff the season. There’s the Grass is Greener this coming weekend. It’s followed by Town and City Fest taking place in Lowell at the end of next week.

Music Festival Wizard calculates that there are 11 music festivals alone in Massachusetts between now and the end of 2023. Jambase shows 13. With the ever-popular festival format, it had become more challenging to determine what actually qualifies as a music festival now.

For the sake of our list, we will focus on the arts specifically in the state of Massachusetts. However, our New England neighbors host some incredible and longstanding events like Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, and Sound on Sound Festival in Connecticut.

Festivals Off All Kinds

Then there’s also celebratory festival events outside of the arts space throughout the year. The Tulip Festival in Holland, MA can draw up to 600,000 visitors per year during their May weekend. It’s the largest of its kind in the country. The Castleberry Fair Arts and Crafts Festival is always a holiday hit, and the Boston Book Fair averages 30,000 attendees each year. Furthermore, although the theme of these wide range of festivals vary, most are do feature live music.

Looking specifically at Massachusetts’s most unique music festivals, you will notice almost every genre is accounted for. It’s very rare that an act will be aligned to more than one here per season. Whether it’s a renowned local artist like Bill Janovitz (Buaffalo Tom) playing in Lowell or a national act like Foo Fighters playing Boston Calling, Massachusetts has become quite the festival destination for both fans and artists.

  • The Grass is Greener Gathering - Hadley, MA. April 21-22

    Action Bronson and Wyclef Jean headline this two-day event in Hadley. It’s billed as New England’s premier 4/20 festival. It features four stages with music starting at noon each day. A two-day pass is in the $130 range (plus fees).

  • The Town and City Festival - Lowell, MA. April 28-29

    This weekend is one of a kind in the area. Town and City is 2-day music and arts festival takes place in various event spaces, bars, cafes, and galleries throughout downtown Lowell. It features an eclectic lineup this year that includes Buffalo Tom, Dalton and the Sheriffs, Rhett Miller, John Doe Folk Trio, and Ted Leo. It is completely walkable. Single show tickets are offered in addition to wristbands that allow you to hop from venue to venue.

  • Boston Calling - Cambridge, MA. May 26-28

    By name and lineup, it’s fair to say this is the main event on the card. The twelfth edition of Boston Calling proves to be one of the largest – with Foo Fighters, The Lumineers, and Paramore headlining the three nights. It has grown to be an interactive experience since its launch in 2013. The three main stages and one local stage are spread throughout the Harvard athletic grounds. Local food from lobster rolls to gourmet grilled cheese is also onsite.

  • Green River Festival - Greenfield, MA. June 23-25

    Three days of camping and music at western Massachusetts’s Green River Fest. There’s a strong focus on the handmade craft fair portion, in addition to the family games and activities on the grounds. Little Feat, Wood Brothers, and St. Paul and The Broken Bones are just some of the musical acts you’ll hear this year as well.

  • Levitate Music and Arts Festival - Marshfield, MA. July 7-9.

    2023 marks the tenth edition of this south shore weekend. The Levitate Fest literally grew out of a surf shop. Levitate surf store is around the corner from the Marshfield fair grounds where Brandi Carlile and Trey Anastasio will perform this year. This is one of the more kid-friendly affairs that includes tents to learn instruments, art walls, and surf style activities.

  • Terptown Throwdown - Spencer, MA. August 18-19

    Terptown describes themselves as an event, “centered around the legal cannabis industry in the Northeast region.” Dub-rock acts, Pepper, The Movement and Tropidelic are a few of the names you’ll see rocking the Spencer stage this summer.

  • In Between Days Festival - Quincy, MA. August 19-20

    Veterans Memorial Stadium, the former home of the Boston Cannons, is the place to be to see the likes of Modest Mouse, Lord Huron, and Sunny Day Real Estate on the same summer weekend this year. Known as a premier indie music scene, In Between Days also features vintage record stores and an arcade onsite. This is second year of this festival that also shares a name with a song by The Cure.

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  • Beach Road Weekend - Martha's Vineyard. August 25-27

    A setting on-island like nothing else. You have to take a boat or puddle jumper plane to see Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, and Leon Bridges headline this island party. New England’s destination event of the summer is full of craft beer. In addition to tickets, they offer hotel packages to help you make this an unforgettable weekend experience.

  • FreshGrass Festival - North Adams, MA. September 22-24

    With a particular focus on grassroots music, FreshGrass is produced by the nonprofit FreshGrass Foundation. Hometown heroes Dropkick Murphys will perform acoustically. Lukas Nelson and Allison Russell are also on the bill. 3-day GA or 3-day VIP are the ticket options.

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