Festival Forecast - Staff Picks for Must-Attend Fests in 2024

Festival Forecast - Staff Picks for Must-Attend Fests in 2024

- By Ramon Gonzales

Spanning genre, location and size, the Knotfest team narrowed down a killer shortlist of festivals that should be your radar for all the best reasons.

Photo by Steve Thrasher

Looking ahead towards the festival slate for 2024, it can get pretty overwhelming trying to figure out which destinations are worth the time and energy. Taking into consideration things like line-up strength, the appeal of the the location and overall experience curated by organizers, the Knotfest editorial team has pieced together a shortlist must-attend festivals that deliver on the more than just spectacle. 

Check your intinerary below.  

Welcome To Rockville / Daytona Beach, FL / May 9-12
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Welcome To Rockville is a destination for more than just the music, its location is one-of-a -kind. Fans of NASCAR will have their minds blown upon entering the venue, which is smack dab in the middle of the Daytona International Speedway. The lineup is stacked with rock legends and newcomers alike including Limp Bizkit, Slipknot, Evanescence, and Foo Fighters all the way to Dying Wish, Wage War, Militarie Gun, and Nita Strauss. While you rock out to “Psychosocial,” you can see the awe-inspiring speedway right next to the stage. Not to mention that you’re just a few miles away from one of Florida’s most famous beaches! It’s a proud event for my beautiful home state. - Tori Kravtiz

Desertfest London / Camden Town, London / May 17-19

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Spread across multiple venues in North London's Camden Town area, Desertfest has been assembling the best in fuzzed-out heavy rock, doom, and adjacent genres, for years now. 2024 sees something of a left turn, with thrashers Suicidal Tendencies headlining one of the nights. Otherwise, it's low-and-slow business as usual with Acid King, Ufomammut, Bongripper and Monolord all rolling up. Godflesh adds some welcome grinding bounce to proceedings. Punters, as ever, can drift in and out as they please – sampling the gastronomic delights of Camden between headbanging sessions. - Dan Franklin

 

Milwaukee Metal Fest / Milwaukee, WI / May 16 - 19

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Milwaukee Metal Fest, which was resurrected last year, promises an even more diverse lineup for 2024, including genres like power metal, black metal, and death metal. A bastion for underground and up-and-coming bands, as well as long standing favorites, it is the place to go to find something new. The event is expected to feature bigger headliners, a wide range of vendors, live podcasts, and other surprises. - Cori Westbrook

Hellfest / Crimson, France / June 27-30

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Hellfest? More like how-the-Hellfest do they keep assembling these incredible line-ups… With American festivals really upping the ante in terms of mega-bills, Hellfest just keeps on trucking, stacking band upon band. This year's intrigue sees a rockier Sunday night with Foo Fighters supported by Queens of the Stone Age. Machine Head topping the mainstage on Friday is a pleasant surprise for a band that professes not to enjoy playing festivals. But Hellfest's strength is in its (considerable) depth. A stroll down the bill reveals everyone from Mr Bungle to Nile to Satyricon to Body Count – an embarrassment of riches. - Dan Franklin

Roadburn Festival / Tilburg, Netherlands / April 18 - 21

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Roadburn  is expected to be a standout event in the underground music scene. It features a diverse lineup including The Jesus And Mary Chain, Chelsea Wolfe, Lankum, clipping., and Khanate. Notably, Clipping is set to debut with two unique sets, and several artists like Birds In Row, Body Void, and Cult Leader will perform entire albums. The festival also includes commissioned projects like Mat McNerney's "Music for Gloaming: A Nocturne by the Hexvessel Folk Assembly" and Hexvessel performing "Polar Veil." Other artists such as Agriculture, Fluisteraars, Cloakroom, Dödsrit, and Devil Master add to the eclectic mix, making Roadburn 2024 a promising destination for fans of experimental and heavy music​. - Cori Westbrook

Bloodstock / Catton Park, Derbyshire, UK / August 8 - 11 

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Bloodstock is a must-attend event for its diverse lineup featuring headliners like Amon Amarth and Architects, alongside a range of genres from black metal to folk metal. It offers exclusive performances, including UK-exclusive shows, and showcases emerging talent on the Sophie Lancaster Stage. Known for its friendly community atmosphere, the festival provides an immersive metal experience beyond music, with art exhibitions, workshops, and more. - Cori Westbrook

 

Headbanger’s Boat/Miami, Florida to Dominican Republic/October 28 -November 1

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This heavy metal themed cruise from Florida to The Dominican Republic will be a ship full of headbangers, the bands they love and  four days of mosh pits, booze fueled mayhem, gourmet culinary options, gambling, pool parties and even stand up comedy. Curated and launched last year by Lamb of God, who doubles as the voyage's headlining, the heavy metal festival at sea will feature  a variety of metal subgenres; from hardcore, death metal,  grindcore and even thrash and nu metal. 

Expect to see sets from bands like Poison the Well, Dethklok, Eyehategod, Corrosion of Conformity, Chimaira,  Currents, Unearth Bleeding Through,  At the Gates, Soulfly, Exodus, and Napalm Death, among many others.  This will be one hell of a heavy metal  party that will please fans of all genres.- Alex Distefano

 

Cruel World Fest / Pasadena, CA May 11

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For fans of the new wave's golden era and classic alternative, this festival is one not to miss. If you are into artists such as headliners, Duran Duran, Blondie, Adam Ant, Soft Cell or Simple Minds, this is YOUR fest. Plus there are some special exclusive sets that will be sure to go down in the books, including Gary Numan performing The Pleasure Principle in its entirety, as well as Al Journgensen with Ministry, which will perform songs from the band’s first two albums, Twitch and With Sympathy. Jourgensen has hinted this could be the band’s final career ending performance making this one especially significant. - Alex Distefano

 

Levitation / Austin, TX / October 31 - November 4

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Functioning like a dive deep into a well-versed record collection, Levitation has spent the last decade delivering some of the most dynamic line-ups that span psych, punk, shoegaze, dreampop, avant garde metal, synthwave and beyond. For reference, 2023's installment featured Twin Tribes, Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats, DJ Shadow, High On Fire, Uniform, King Woman, Unknown Moral Orchestra, Pallbearer, The Church, BadBadNotGood, Flying Lotus and Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs - how's that for diversity? What's even more impressive than the attention to detail with the visual production and the charm of the host city itself, is how seamless the wide-ranging line-up plays out. Every set seems to compliment the next, with fans packing in, sticking around and getting involved. - Ramon Gonzales

 

Coachella Valley Music and Art Festival / Indio, CA / April 12-14 + 19-21
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Hate to indulge this kind of hyperbole, but having Deftones so highly positioned on this kind of bill feels like an incredible win for guitar-driven music. Paired with the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, Lana Del Ray, Justice and Peso Pluma would normally make Deftones the rock music novelty, but given the band's current stock, their slot is more as contemporaries among trendsetters - a massive win for heavy music. Sweetened by sets from Militarie Gun, Clown Core, Upchuck, Narrow Head and Boy Harsher, in addition to the spectacle of a reunited No Doubt, and headlining sets from the likes of Tyler, The Creator and Doja Cat - there's plenty of reason to spend three days in the California desert this spring. - Ramon Gonzales

 

Sick New World / Las Vegas, NV / April 27
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Returning for the second year and roaring back with a massive line-up that spans the spectrum of heavy music and alternative culture, Sick New World was initially championed for its nu-metal lean, but in just its second year has already evolved into something much more than a nostalgia fest. Headed by the tandem of Slipknot and System of A Down, additions like Sleep Token, Bad Omens, Spiritbox, Loathe, Jinjer, Lorna Shore, Kim Dracula and Knocked Loose underscore the generational reach of the line up. Sourcing classic industrial, emerging hardcore, deathcore, nu-metal, shoegaze and more - Sick New World can have a VNV Nation, Drain, Slowdive, Danny Elfman, Lamb of God and Combichrist and make it cohesive. - Ramon Gonzales

Outbreak Festival / Manchester, UK / June 28-30

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Arguably hardcore music's most respected international destination, Outbreak has been a fixture within the culture for more than a decade. Responsible for some of the genre's most legendary line-ups, Outbreak now finds themselves forward-thinking, fully embracing artists that are hardcore adjacent to better evolve the brand. With headlining sets last year from Denzel Curry and Death Grips, now this year with Action Bronson and JPEGMafia, Outbreak organizers show the kind of nuanced understanding of their audience with their brilliant assembly. Pooling Poison the Well, Basement, Thursday, Show Me the Body, Higher Power, Incendiary, Chat Pile, Harms Way and Ceremony just to include a few, Manchester as truly become a haven for hardcore with global implications. - Ramon Gonzales 

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