Festival Squad’s Favorite Festivals of 2016

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written by the awesome members of Festival Squad

While most people are taking to Facebook to declare their pure hatred for 2016, we are here to remind you of all the super stellar events that took place. We’ve seen festivals come and go, add an additional weekend, bring Aphex Twin out of a 7 year long hiatus, and inspire the most amazing art pieces.

In 2016 we expanded to a team of 30 members and those members were granted media access to almost 80 of best festivals in the world including Lightning In A Bottle, Sziget Festival in Hungary, and Electric Forest. Want to know what everyones favorite was? Check us out below!

Name: Stephanie Rosa

Position: Founder in Berkeley, CA

How Long With Festival Squad?: Since birth ūüôā

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 17 after SnowGlobe!

Favorite Festival of 2016: Lightning In A Bottle

Why?: ¬†Lightning in a Bottle has incredible amount of interactive art installations, creating a stunning landscape for all attendees. It is also considered a medium festival by industry standards but is probably one of the largest transformational festivals to date due to its speakers and handful of activities one can experience there. Every stage is built like an art piece, the fashion is out of this world and its a festival I wouldn’t miss in 2017.

Name: Ariana Assaf

Position: Editor In Chief in Los Angeles

How Long With Festival Squad?: A couple months after inception!

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 13

Favorite Festival of 2016: Electric Forest

Why?: Because I’m a sap & its an easy place to fall in love with everything.

Name: Don Idio

Position: Creative Director in Chicago, IL

How Long With Festival Squad?: 8 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 14

Favorite Festival of 2016: Electric Forest

Why?: A festival that makes you happy by just mentioning its name. If there was a checklist to a perfect festival it would be a beautiful location, countless activities, wide array of music, numerous stages, creative art installations, amazing production, well organized, and community of wonderful people.

Name: Mara Mannella

Position: Contributing Writer in Las Vegas

How Long With Festival Squad?: 5 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 6

Favorite Festival of 2016: EDC Las Vegas

Why?: Hometown festival – I love that the entire dance music descends upon the city I call home. The anticipation of everyone’s arrival and the vibe of the city leading up to and during EDC is, well, electrifying! Discovery – no matter how many years you go to EDC Las Vegas there’s always something or someone new to see Rave Family affair – there’s no better place to reunite with friends you haven’t seen all year than under the electric sky.

Name: Andrea Hnatievych

Position: Arizona Editor

How Long With Festival Squad?: 4 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 10

Favorite Festival of 2016: Vertex Festival

Why?: Beautiful location surrounded by mountains and near a lake (Coloroado is awesome). The organization of the festival was also awesome (no lines, picked up trash every morning). The lineup had a lot of variety and I fell in love with new types of music! So sad that its cancelled for 2017.

Name: Connor McAuliffe

Position: South Editor in Florida

How Long With Festival Squad?: 8 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 6 (12 if you count artist large currated events)

Favorite Festival of 2016: Bonnaroo

Why?: First camping festival I ever attended. The large crowd drawn brought many different types of people who were attracted to the diverse lineup of artists. Aside from the music, there was a wide selection of vendors of food and miscellaneous trinkets. The art accommodations across the farm are all unique and the overall setup of the stages and tents for the musical/comedian performances are perfected from sound to light setup.

Name: Mia Nissen

Position: Fashion Editor in Colorado

How Long With Festival Squad?: 7 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 4

Favorite Festival of 2016: Vertex 

Why?: The festival symbolized everything to love about Colorado culture- the laidback people, the wonderful selection of beer, and the unpredictable yet beautiful weather.  It was my first solo festival adventure and definitely proved to me that the festy life can be thoroughly enjoyed alone (and you will never leave alone). I danced/cried my heart out to Odesza, and, only a 3 hour drive from my house.

Name: Jennifer Fall Alexander

Position: Contributing Writer in Indianapolis

How Long With Festival Squad?: 7 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 6

Favorite Festival of 2016: Forecastle

Why?: Wonderful sense of community filled with local artists and activism. Extremely clean festival. Beautiful setting on the waterfront of Louisville. Excellent after parties available for all attendees. Diverse lineup and many art installations to enjoy while bouncing around the festival grounds!

Name: Hayden Fischer

Position: Contributing Writer in Tucson

How Long With Festival Squad?: 1 month

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 8

Favorite Festival of 2016: EDC Las Vegas

Why?: The energy and fun of Las Vegas makes the location a great one. The work that goes into all the stages at EDC, visuals, and art is incredible. The crowd at EDC is what make it too, just all happy people and good vibes. They also have a killer lineup of djs.

Name: Danny McColl Smith

Position: Contributing Writer Atlanta

How Long With Festival Squad?: 2 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 7

Favorite Festival of 2016: Okeechobee 

Why?: 1) It was the farthest I’ve traveled (8-9 hour drive) for a music festival. 2) Arguably one of the best lineups I’ve been to for a festival. So much diversity. Day Two though..wow. We also went to Jungle 51 every night. 3) The energy. It was my first time going with a larger group, I think there was like 11 of us. I did Yogachobee Saturday morning, probably the best decision to start the day. But the vibes were amazing. During Kendrick Lamar and for sure Skrillex. Just so much good energy at Okeechobee for those few days.

Name: Austin Eames

Position: Health Editor in Berkeley, CA

How Long With Festival Squad?: 6 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 6

Favorite Festival of 2016: Symbiosis

Why?: Symbiosis was had incredible location. It was placed among lakes in the central valley that were clean enough to swim in. Spotted throughout the festival was a copious amount of art that words could not describe. The music was consistently different and the energy of the audience made for an exceptionally fun festival.

Name: Hatim Hafid

Position: Contributing Writer in Cali

How Long With Festival Squad?: 3 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 3

Favorite Festival of 2016: Soulstice

Why?:¬†Although you could barely call it a festival, Soulstice had an amazing lineup. It wasn’t too packed and everyone was extremely nice. I can’t wait to go back next year!

Name: Alyssa DiCaterino

Position: Contributing Writer in Florida

How Long With Festival Squad?: 6 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 8

Favorite Festival of 2016: Okeechobee

Why?: 1) First time I ever experienced the whole “transformational” thing 2) One last little adventure with my friends before we all moved away to different colleges after going to school together for 10+ years 3) Cool to be apart of a brand new festival that was such a big success.

Name: Connor Hayes

Position: Photographer in Florida

How Long With Festival Squad?: 7 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 4

Favorite Festival of 2016: Hulaween

Why?: The weirdest little camping festival south of the Mason Dixon Line, with some of the best jam, funk, soul, and electronica artists for the last 5 years running at Spirit of Suwannee Music Park. Conscientious campers and festies, taking care of the grounds, one another, and just generally being goofy (its also a Halloween festival).

Name: Nate Manuel

Position: Contributing Writer in Detroit

How Long With Festival Squad?: 4 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 4

Favorite Festival of 2016: Summer Camp 

Why?: My first festival experience, and a truly wonderful experience. Made some great friends and better memories!

Name: Chase Stephenson

Position: Contributing Photographer in Arizona

How Long With Festival Squad?: 2 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 1

Favorite Festival of 2016: Global Dance Arizona

Why?: My first festival in 3 years and to be there as a photographer capturing moments for people was amazing. The Lineup was great. Meeting tons of new people and making friends which most of the time I don’t get to do. From the moment I left I was already thinking about the next one.

Name: Alex Rowland

Position: Contributing Writer

How Long With Festival Squad?: 1 month

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 2

Favorite Festival of 2016: What The Festival

Why?: What The Fest was the most beautiful festival that I’ve ever been to and¬†I met some even better people. The festival was tucked away in the mountains in the beautiful state of Oregon. The Illuminated Forest had amazing interactive art installations and the performances were great. Everyone had a smile on their face and welcomed new comers with open arms. Definitely one of the best festivals in Oregon.

Name: Sage Thomas

Position: Photographer in Arizona

How Long With Festival Squad?: 6 months

# Of Festivals In 2016?: 7

Favorite Festival of 2016: Symbiosis 

Why?: The vibes were unreal! I really liked how grounded the whole fest was.. there was somewhat of a nudest community going on there too… I wasn’t really exposed to much new music because I was too busy kickin it with all the awesome peeps who attended this year. If I could go to one fest and only one fest next year it would be Oregon Eclipse which is the Symbiosis for 2017.

Tell us what your favorite festival was in the comments below!

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