New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon isn’t your ordinary music festival. There is no festival ground or campsite, no parking lot headache, no throwback headliners, no risk of sunburn or heatstroke and, for the most part, no crowds of sweaty teens going on their third day without sleep or showers. CMJ is the music festival done the New York way-diverse, sophisticated, and grown up. This five-day festival of hundreds of emerging artists spans the entirety of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and occupies more than 50 venues scattered around the city. CMJ features an astounding variety of music ranging from A$AP Mob to Tanlines to Savages; there’s something here for everyone. Though festival-goers be warned: this is a week built for serious music discovery beyond the comfortable realm of popular headliners.

Part of what makes this festival so unique is its vast number of small, up-and-coming artists whose names may not be recognizable upon first glance. However, CMJ‘s enormous schedule allows for attendees to experience and discover little tastes of all of these new sounds and names.┬áThe festival also features dozens of conferences and panel discussions about producing, promoting, and distributing music. CMJ is truly a music festival of, by, and for the emerging independent artist.

Highlights of the festival so far:




Pool Cosby

Artists you do not want to miss:


Real Magic






If you still haven’t picked up your festival badge, you can do so at Judson Memorial Church between 9am and 8pm Thursday and Friday or between 9am and 2pm on Saturday. If you’re in the New York Area but don’t have a festival badge and want one, they are still available on the CMJ Music Marathon website.