The Summer Music Festival industry is an extremely competitive and growing market as festival organizers battle every year to get the best superstar, iconic and up and coming artists to headline and perform at the music festivals happening across North America this summer on both sides of the border. We have researched the artists, venues, perks, and reviews both personally from our team and from festivalgoers to find what we think are the best of the best and worthy of your hard-earned money to attend with our Big Venue Music Festival Bucket List for 2023.
We reviewed over fifty-five large venue festivals that are looking to capture your dollars this summer, whether that’s for ticket sales or your corporate sponsorship. We have selected the following for our must-attend for 2023. Other than by date, there is no particular order for these festivals as we believe they all offer amazing venues and spectacular superstar artist line-ups for this Summer. We are confident that you, our readers, will find that perfect festival that is just right for you, but we do recommend you do not take too long to decide as these events are selling out fast!
CMA Fest 2023
When: June 8th – 11th, 2023
Where: Nashville, TN, United States
Why: Well simply put this is Country Music’s equivalent to the NFL’s Super Bowl or NASCAR’s Daytona 500 and it only seems right that is would happen in Music City to kick off the summer music festival season.
I know that we said in the opening comments that these festivals were not in any particular order, other than by date. Well, it is purely by coincidence that the festival at the top of our must-attended Big Venue Music Festival Bucket List for 2023, would also be the first we put on our list, but these things happen. They did in 2022 and again for 2023 and most likely for 2024 as well.
To be honest it would be easier to list who is not performing at this year’s CMA Fest than who is, as the whose who of Country’s Music Artists take to the stage to kick off the largest event of the summer. The CMA Fest features literally the A to Z of Country Music superstars with Ashley McBryde, Brothers Osborne, Brett Kissel, Carly Pearce, Dan + Shay, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, HARDY, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Alaina, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, MacKenzie Porter, Maddie & Tae, Madeline Merlo, Miranda Lambert, Old Dominion, Pam Tillis, RaeLynn, Tim McGraw, Tyler Hubbard and many others performing at Nissan Stadium, Chevy Riverfront Stage and other stages over the 4-day event.
Ascend Amphitheater returns to CMA Fest on Friday, June 9 with “The Cadillac Three & Friends” featuring headliner The Cadillac Three and additional performances by Boy Named Banjo, Randy Rogers Band, Elvie Shane, Tenille Townes, and Special Guests!
Their inaugural event in 2015 brought in over 20,000 attendees and has grown every year, with their most recent edition welcoming over 35,000 music fans and festival goers. At the time of this article, there were only 4 of the Four-Night Stadium Pass tickets available for this year’s festival, showing that this is one festival that you need to strongly consider for your own bucket list.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://cmafest.com/
The Country Fest
When: June 14th – 17th, 2023
Where: North Lawrence, OH, United States
Why: What we like about this festival is that it was started by two guys that just loved music. Aaron Green and Joel Beichler started The Country Fest back in the summer of 2009, with little to no connections or knowledge about music festivals.
With some luck, a lot of hard work and the constant drive to improve the festival and the venue, they have grown to be one of the largest privately family-owned and operated festivals in the U.S.A.
The Country Fest alumni include Luke Combs, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Morgan Wallen, Ashley McBryde, Dierks Bentley, HARDY, Jimmie Allen, Chris Young, Jake Owen, Miranda Lambert, Trace Adkins, Travis Tritt Thomas Rhett and many others taking the stage over the past 12 years.
So, we recommend that you get this on your bucket list and join Aaron and Joel, their families, and music fans as they celebrate Country Music with a kick-off party with headliner Riley Green and Ernest kicking off for this 4-day festival in Ohio.
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s headliners are Kane Brown, Jon Pardi, and Sam Hunt. Joining them on stage are Dustin Lynch, Chase Rice, Tyler Hubbard, Lauren Alaina along with other up-and-coming artists.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://www.thecountryfest.com/
Barefoot Country Music Fest 2023
When: June 15th – 18th, 2023
Where: Wildwood, NJ, United States
Why: BCMF 2023 will feature the Country’s hottest artists across 5 unique stages on the shores of Wildwood, NJ, over 4 amazing days of music and fun.
This year’s festival brings a unique blend of today’s best country and county rock headliners like Blake Shelton, Kid Rock, Darius Rucker, and Jon Pardi. Joining the stage will also be Lady A, Lainey Wilson, Maddie & Tae, and The Cadillac Three along with 50+ plus regional stars, up-and-comers, and locals artist favorites performing on stage for festivalgoers over the 4-days of the event.
The combination of country music and the scenic Wildwood’s backdrop, make this family-friendly, four-day music fest worthy of anyone’s summer music bucket list.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://barefootcountrymusicfest.com/
Cavendish Beach Music Festival
When: July 6th – 8th, 2023
Where: Cavendish, PE, Canada
Why: There are many reasons to head to the birthplace of Canada this Summer, it could be the golf courses, Anne of Green Gables, the amazing seafood or the majestic shoreline of Prince Edward Island. However, this year, we are going to put the Cavendish Beach Music Festival to see Country Music Superstar Chris Stapleton as the main reason to head to PEI this Summer.
For more than a decade now, CBMF has welcomed the whose who of Country Music and other genres to Cavendish which have included Taylor Swift, Luke Combs, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Rascal Flatts, Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band, Old Dominion, Tim McGraw, Big & Rich, and Reba McEntire and even pop superstar Shawn Mendes just to name a few of the amazing artist that taken the stage.
The 2023 edition of the CBMF offers a full deck of new and old faces with over 35 artists taking to the Bell Main and Colliding Tides Kitchen Stages for this year’s 3-day festival. Headlining the Bell Main Stage and returning to the CBMF are Country Music Superstars and multi-award-winning artists Kane Brown and Jake Owen with Chris Stapleton making his first appearance at the CBMF and Eastern Canada this year in PEI. Joining them on the Bell Main Stage are Locash, Mitchell Tenpenny, Tenille Townes, Ashley Cooke, The Reklaws, Chayce Beckham, Megan Moroney, Madeline Merlo, and many more. With close to two dozen local and up-and-coming artists performing on the Colliding Tides Kitchen Stage.
As partnerships go, the people of Prince Edward Island have a win-win with the CBMF as communities across PEI welcome tens of thousands of festivalgoers along with artists into their backyards for this event and promoters take pride in making the CBMF the best festival experience possible for all that attend while contributing millions of dollars in revenue for local Island businesses.
The CBMF is the complete package with 70,000 festivalgoers making it their Summer destination for over a decade now it is an easy selection for our Big Venue Music Festival Bucket List for 2023. It is an amazing and safe venue that has it all, great location, amazing artists, awesome vendors, and an energic team of volunteers all working together to make the CBMF the best experience of your Summer.
We look forward to you in Cavendish this Summer.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://cavendishbeachmusic.com/
Faster Horses Festival
When: July 14th – 16th, 2023
Where: Brooklyn, MI, United States
Why: Well, when you think of country music who doesn’t think of Southeastern Michigan, right, that is what they are famous for correct… that was a joke. But in all seriousness, Faster Horses is not just another music festival, those who attend are solely there for the music and a good time as artists and fans happily indulge in a three-day country music bash that throws aside old ideas about musical genres.
The Faster Horse Festival is quickly becoming one of the biggest of its kind in the United States as it heads into its 10th year next to the Michigan International Speedway in an area behind the backstretch of the track and set among the rolling Irish Hills of Brooklyn, MI.
Faster Horses expects to draw 40,000-plus fans to kick off a weekend of camping, music, and fun.
This year’s headliners for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are Country Music Superstars Luke Bryan, Zac Brown Band, and the iconic Shania Twain. Joining them on stage are Dustin Lynch, Dwight Yoakam, Billy Currington, Blanco Brown, Tenille Townes, Megan Moroney, Mackenzie Carpenter, Madeline Edwards, and Mackenzie Porter plus 20 other amazing up-and-coming country music artists to complete the lineup for this fantastic festival.
So, if you’re looking to enjoy some country music and be immersed in the culture of a true country town, get the Faster Horses festival on your bucket list and giddy up to Brooklyn, Michigan this summer.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://fasterhorsesfestival.com/
Big Valley Jamboree
When: August 3rd – 6th, 2023
Where: Camrose, AB, Canada
Why: Well, the Big Valley Jamboree has grown from an inaugural event in 1993 to a country music institution in Alberta for approximately 75,000 country music fans each year.
2023 is a big year for BVJ as Camrose will come alive again with the sounds of music as its loyal fanbase celebrates its 30th Anniversary as one of Canada’s best-loved and longest-running country music festivals this summer. Get settled in for four days of hard partying with 75,000 other country music festies – and make sure to stay in the campgrounds where the real show is happening.
Parker McCollum get this year’s BVJ started with a Kick-off Party on Thursday night. But that is just the start as this musical extravaganza is packed with superstar headliners Dallas Smith, Morgan Wallen, and Dierks Bentley for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday’s shows.
Joining them on stage are High Valley, Chase Rice, and Ashley McBryde plus the hottest up-and-comers, Canada’s biggest country stars and classic country acts who have stood the test of time, like Lonestar, Bailey Zimmerman, Hailey Whitters, MacKenzie Carpenter and many more taking to the stage.
I would not wait too long to get in on this 30th Anniversary celebration as we have a feeling that this one is on more than just our bucket list for this summer and tickets are going to go fast.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://www.bigvalleyjamboree.com/
WE Fest 2023
When: August 2nd – 5th, 2023
Where: Detroit Lake, MN, United States
Why: Well, it is simple, We Fest has been offering an amazing experience to festival goers for since 1983 when Alabama took the stage with the inaugural event for the 9,000 in attendance and they never looked back and don’t plan on now that they are celebrating 40 years in 2023!
Now able to accommodate 50,000 people, including 7,000 reserved seats, the concert bowl contains 50+ concession stands along with 10 separate campgrounds with a total camping capacity of 35,000 people.
The WE Fest has been at the pinnacle of country music festivals for four decades. Held at Soo Pass Ranch in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota the WE Fest has hosted hundreds of thousands of fans every August with countless country icons and legends have taken the stage, this year’s 40th Anniversary Celebration will be no different, as they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!
This year’s lineup will not disappoint with close to 20 artists in total taking the stage, starting off on Thursday, August 2nd, with a 40th Birthday Party Celebration with DJ B-Rock will be playing the WE Fest 40th Birthday playlist featuring 40 years of WE Fest performers plus those attending can win WE Fest 40th Swag and other cool prices as part of the celebration.
Then Friday, Saturday and Sunday the live actions take place as superstar headliners Morgan Wallen, Brad Paisley, Kane Brown along with other amazing artists such as Chase Rice, Brothers Osborne, Gabby Barrett, Blackberry Smoke, Jo Dee Messina, Ashley Cooke, and many others taking the stage for this 4-day festival and celebration it is easy to see why WE Fest is widely regarded as one of the most outstanding events of its kind.
Be sure to add this to your festival bucket list and join many other country music fans in small-town Minnesota for this amazing event this Summer.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://wefest.com/
Boots and Hearts Music Festival
When: August 10th – 13th, 2023
Where: Oro-Medonte, ON, Canada
Why: The Boots and Hearts Music Festival is a multi-day country music and camping festival produced by Republic Live Inc. and founded by Stan and Eva Dunford. It is held annually at the custom-designed festival grounds, Burl’s Creek Event Grounds in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada. Since its inception in 2012, Boots and Hearts has quickly grown to become Canada’s largest country music festival and is considered the second-largest music festival in North America behind only the CMA Music Festival with is considered the Super Bowl of Music Festivals or it is in good company.
The festival offers; multiple stages meet and greets with artists, VIP offerings, an on-site farmers market, and more than 45,000 festivalgoers making the road trip to the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds which has the capacity for more than 100,000 people and 45,000 campers. Spread over nearly 600 acres of pristinely landscaped grounds, featuring multiple natural amphitheatres and forested performance areas making it the perfect venue for this Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Burl’s Creek and why it has played host to many of the biggest names in entertainment over the years.
Boots and Hearts has seen the acts of world-renowned artists such as Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Eric Church, Cole Swindell, Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett, Miranda Lambert, Alabama, Alan Jackson, Big & Rich, Kid Rock, Lionel Richie, Sheryl Crow, Brett Young, and many other amazing music stars take the stage at the Burl’s Creek Event Grounds.
Celebrating the best in live entertainment and the ultimate festival experience, this year’s line-up features a number of Boots and Hearts firsts, including the introduction of rock artists Big Wreck and JJ Wilde to compliment global rockstars Nickelback as they make their first #BootsLife appearance. Boots alumni and fan favourite Keith Urban and country music superstar Tim McGraw round out the list of main stage headliners, while Breland, and Tyler Joe Miller are headlining the Front Porch Stage for the very first time.
Other artists for this year’s Boots and Hearts include Riley Green who will make his Boots and Hearts debut along with Lauren Alaina and Blanco Brown, alongside Dallas Smith who returns to the main stage for 2023. Canada’s very own Tim Hicks kicks off the weekend, headlining the Thursday night Kick-Off Party with rising star Josh Ross.
From global superstars to rising singer-songwriters to the latest hitmakers and trendsetters, Boots and Hearts prides itself on showcasing the leading artists in all areas of music while providing the ultimate festival experience – offering fans the very best of the best. But it must be said that this festival is more tailored to a much younger crowd but saying that it is still well deserving of being recognized as one the best music festivals not only in Canada but North America.
Make sure you get your tickets and start living the #BOOTSLIFE this Summer.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://bootsandhearts.com/
TidalWave Music Festival
When: August 11th – 13th, 2023
Where: Atlantic City, NJ, United States
Why: Well, we can’t think of a better way to end summer than spending 3 days with a few of our country music friends with our toes in the sand on Atlantic City Beach as country music superstar headliners Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and the iconic country music legends Brooks & Dunn take to the stage.
Join these superstar headliners are over 30 of the hottest up-and-coming country stars and country icons like Cole Swindell, Jelly Roll, Dustin Lynch, Lindsay Ell, Nate Smith, Priscilla Block, Cooper Alan, Pillbox Patti, Lauren Watkins, Peytan Porter and many more perform on 2 stages for this end of summer event.
We don’t know what you are doing the second weekend in August, but we know what event we will be checking off on our bucket list for 2023.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://tidalwavefest.com/
YQM Country Fest
When: August 24th – 26th, 2023
Where: Dieppe, NB, Canada
Why: There is a buzz among country music fans after the success of the inaugural YQM Country Fest as 25,000 festivalgoers look to herd to the MusiquArt site venue which is directly in the heart of the City of Dieppe, New Brunswick for their sophomore year.
Obviously, there were a couple of minor hiccups for the festival in their inaugural years and a couple of issues going into their sophomore year, but when speaking with county music fans and festival goers they were very pleased and excited as they looked forward to this year’s YQM Country Fest.
Last year’s YQM Countryfest saw headliners Blake Shelton and Florida Georgia. Fans were thrilled with a surprise appearance by Gwen Stefani who took to the stage with her husband Blake Shelton on Saturday night along with Brett Young, Jordan Davis, Scott McCreery and five other supporting artists that took to the stage over the two days of the festival to the delight of festivalgoers and putting them on the radar for our Big Venue Music Festival Bucket List for 2023.
YQM Countryfest’s sophomore year sees Country Music Superstars Morgan Wallen, Keith Urban and Thomas Rhett headlining the stage each of the three nights of the festival. They will be joined by Ernest, Dustin Lynch, Cole Swindell, Gabby Barrett, Eli Young Band, The Washboard Union, and Canadian Country artists Brett Kissel, and MacKenzie Porter along with other amazing local and international artists getting the crowds ready for what should be an amazing three night of the best performances in country music today.
As for most of these festivals, fans you are able to bring your own chair, and one sealed one-litre bottle of water, but don’t worry there are a number of food vendors on-site during the festival to keep you fed and hydrated. Plus, the event is located in the heart of the City of Dieppe, just outside of Moncton, New Brunswick which makes it the perfect location for festival goers that are looking for accommodation during the three days of the event, plus easy access in and out of the MusiquArt site venue.
With these high-demand artists, we are confident that this is a festival that needs to be on everyone’s bucket list as the supporting artists would be considered headliners for other festivals across North America and things are only getting started for this festival and we can’t of a better way to end our summer and bucket list for 2023.
For more information on this event or for tickets go to: https://www.yqmcountryfest.ca/
We have said this before and we will say it time and time again, before going to any festival you need to find the one that is right for you, know all the costs and what is and what is not included. The prices that we have shown are for tickets only as many will have additional costs for parking, camping or shuttles so be aware of this before filling out your bucket list and heading out to any festivals, so you do not have any unwanted surprises.
As you can see there are many amazing festivals to choose from, we did our selection from over 55 that are happening on both sides of the border this summer, so do your own research, so you don’t end up somewhere you don’t enjoy. Remember the atmosphere and festival venue are just as important if not more than a spectacular line-up of artists.
When attending the festival on your bucket list this summer, remember to tag us on social media (Twitter @spotlightbizmag / Facebook @spotlightbizmag / Instagram @spotlightonbizmag) so that we can share your experience with our readers.
by Karlee Atwater