POP MUSIC FESTIVALS IN MARCH

POP MUSIC FESTIVALS IN MARCH

March is set to become the month of pop music festivals after a number of festivals are being organised in the coming few weeks. Pop music festivals in 2011 face the same challenge as always: branding new dishes from the communal stew of touring bands and soloists like Michael Buble. But through social media the tastemaking classes keep expanding, along with every alternative subculture; the festivals, in turn, keep swelling and diversifying, despite the economy.

The Ultra Music Festival, in Miami, has grown to three days (from two) of electronic dance beats. This year's edition, March 25-27 at Bicentennial Park, encompasses the mainstream names in trance and house - Tiesto, David Guetta and the ubiquitous Will.i.am - as well as weird dubstep hybrids like Rusko, and live bands, including Holy Ghost!, from New York, and, gulp, Duran Duran.

As for metal: Scion Rockfest, the excellent one-day free festival on March 5 in Pomona, Calif., is a done deal. All tickets are claimed. But the longer-running Maryland Deathfest, at Club Sonar in Baltimore, presents a similar collection of underground metal subgenres, in one club across four days, May 26-29. The Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival takes place April 15-17 at the Empire Polo Club, in Indio, Calif. Twelve years in, it's the major outdoor crucible of the mainstream alternative. Curious fact: An unusually large number of the bands in 2011 have had a Billboard Top 10 album over the last two years - Kanye West, Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, the Black Keys, Mumford and Sons and the National.