Test your music festival savvy: Who’s the bigger name on the poster?

The design of a music festival poster is a time-honored tradition: a wall of artist names, starting with headliners in huge fonts and ending with supporting acts in teeny letters. The logic seems straightforward, but the art of font sizes is actually a delicate juggling act.

“This is a hotly contested, negotiated thing [with artists]. They want to know: ‘Where are we on the bill? What line are we going to be on? Who’s above us?’ ” said Seth Hurwitz, owner of D.C.’s 9:30 Club and the Anthem and chairman of I.M.P., a concert promotion and production company. “You can’t blame them, but we have to manage that among 30, 40 acts.”

So how do they decide who gets a bigger font? Metrics like charting or sales can factor in, but more important are festival identities, cultural knowledge and a little diplomacy.

We’ve listed artists from four real festival lineups and a brief description of each event’s concept. Quiz yourself and see if you can figure out which act is “bigger,” both literally and metaphorically.

All Things Go (2023)

Started in 2014, Maryland festival All Things Go has evolved from initial rap-heavy bookings to a tightly curated identity, purposefully featuring more women and emerging artists. Will Suter, co-founder of All Things Go, describes the festival’s audience as people deeply invested in music.

“They know the headliner or the top-line artist, but they’re also as interested in those middle and developing artists too,” Suter said.

Which of these two acts do you think was “bigger” for 2023?

Festival 1 of 4

Carly Rae Jepsen or Maggie Rogers

Coachella (2024)

Coachella started in 1999 focused on alternative and indie rock and has steadily evolved into a cultural juggernaut known not only for its musical acts but also for its fashion, social media influence and iconic Ferris wheel.

Festival 2 of 4

Blur or Tyler, the Creator

Bonnaroo (2024)

Tennessee festival Bonnaroo started in 2002 and originally focused on the jam band scene. Though it’s since diversified from its jam roots, Bonnaroo still has a reputation as being more free-spirited and hippie than its cohorts. Festival-goers typically spend all four days camped out on the concert site.

Festival 3 of 4

Fred again.. or Megan Thee Stallion

The Governors Ball (2024)

Founded in 2011, Governors Ball calls itself New York’s “biggest party.” The festival tends to attract a younger crowd and has previously featured headliners such as Chance the Rapper, electronic duo Odesza and indie-rock band Vampire Weekend.

Festival 4 of 4

Post Malone or Rauw Alejandro


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