Summer and music seem to go hand in hand. Maybe it’s that feeling of freedom that comes with the summer months that makes everything feel lighter and puts us all in the mood to groove to our own soundtrack. Maybe it’s the way music makes us all flash back to slightly younger, more carefree days. Whatever that tie is between summer and music, it’s fantastic and totally worthy of a celebration. Lucky for us, we get to celebrate in the coolest way possible since some of the best music festivals in the nation just happen to take place either in our great state or just a hop, skip and a jump away. Whether it’s jazz that gets you moving or the endless beat of dance and electronic, there is definitely a California-area music fest in the stars for you.
Take a look at five of the most exciting music extravaganzas happening across the state this summer.
1) Northern Lights Music Festival—July 18–20
Cook’s Valley Campground
Mendocino/Humboldt County Line
Promoted as an “exercise in organic dance music,” this three-day festival is about more than just great dance music (which it will have in spades). It also celebrates art, food and culture with yoga, wellness workshops, dancing, eating and relaxing in the Redwood “Chill Zones.” The musical lineup includes Beats Antique, Justin Martin, Viceroy and The Floozies. Tickets range from $164 to $179.
2) Hard Summer Music Festival—August 2 & 3
Whittier Narrows Recreation Area
1601 Rosemead Blvd.
South El Monte, CA 91733
The Hard Summer Music fest is a huge deal for dance and electronic fans so if you’re in that boat, mark your calendars for this massive dance party. Headliners include Jack U, A$AP Mob, Flosstradamus and Axwell on Saturday and Tiësto, Disclosure, Nero and Dillon Francis on Sunday. Two-Day Passes range between $175 and $285.00.
3) Outside Lands—August 8–10
Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA
Outside Lands is a three-day celebration of great music, food, wine, beer and art in the legendary Golden Gate Park. The Taste of the Bay Area is part of the fest (so the food offerings will be spectacular), as well as beer and wine tasting, a comedy and variety tent (The Barbary) and music… lots and lots of music. The amazing musical lineup includes Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Killers, Death Cab for Cutie, The Flaming Lips and many, many more. Tickets range from $115 to $249.50 and tend to sell out quickly.
4) Burning Man—August 25–September 1
Black Rock City, NV
Yes, Burning Man is actually in Nevada, but so many Californians trek into Black Rock City for this legendary event, it’s definitely worthy of being on the summer festival list. As for music, Burning Man no longer has a “main stage” (since the festival is more about participating than spectatorship), but that doesn’t mean you won’t see some amazing performers anywhere and everywhere you turn. Check out ticket information here.
5) 57th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival—September 19–21
Monterey County Fair Grounds
What better way to wrap up your summer fun than at the iconic Monterey Jazz Festival. It was 1958 when jazz legends like Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong, Gerry Mulligan and Billie Holiday took the stage at the very first Monterey Jazz Fest. And now 57 years later, 500 artists will take over eight stages for three nights and two days of amazing music. Headliners at this year’s show include Herbie Hancock, Booker T. Jones and The Roots. Ticket prices vary.
Which summer festival is your favorite? Tell us what your festival plans are in the comments section below!