Festival season

A guide to Nor Cal’s summer music festivals

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum

The heat of summer is blowing into the valley, pushing music fans into the hills and coastal communities for those familiar marathons of music and dancing. While the exceptions to the rule—the metal heads and emo kids/skate-punks—keep things hardcore by diving into the exposed hell-heat of Sleep Train Amphitheatre for Mayhem Fest and Warped Tour, respectively, most everyone else will opt for getting away from the heat in places like Grass Valley for Cal World Fest and Santa Rosa for the Harmony Music Fest.

The regular world/American/jam-focused extravaganzas are all on the schedule and as strong as ever, but there’s a new, intriguing offering catching this writer’s imagination: Wanderlust Festival. Taking place on the grounds of Squaw Valley USA at Lake Tahoe, the festival is bringing together an impressive variety of musical acts—from the old-school R&B/funk of Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings to Austin indie popsters Spoon—and placing them in the wilderness setting alongside the world’s top yoga teachers for a really chill getaway.

Here are several suggestions for the next three months. Choose one or choose six, just choose something before the triple digits hit and you’re stuck wandering around the mall until the heat wave passes.

Bobolink Music Festival

May 29-31, Belden (Hwy 70, between Chico and Quincy)

Featuring: Hot Buttered Rum, Animal Liberation Orchestra, Garaj Mahal, Beats Antique, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, The Resonators and more. Tickets $100 before May 24 ($125 after). Info & tickets: www.bobolinkmusicfestival.com; <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,98,111,98,111,108,105,110,107,116,105,99,107,101,116,115,64,104,111,116,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109,34,62,98,111,98,111,108,105,110,107,116,105,99,107,101,116,115,64,104,111,116,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.

Harmony Music Festival

June 12-14, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa

Featuring: India.Arie, CAKE, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Balkan Beat Box, Matisyahu, Rebelution and more. Tickets range from $119-$169 for weekend passes. Day passes: $30. Info & tickets: www.harmonyfestival.com; <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,105,110,102,111,48,57,64,104,97,114,109,111,110,121,102,101,115,116,105,118,97,108,46,99,111,109,34,62,105,110,102,111,48,57,64,104,97,114,109,111,110,121,102,101,115,116,105,118,97,108,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.

Femi Kuti

Father’s Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival

June 18-21, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley

Featuring: The Grascals, Dailey & Vincent, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Claire Lynch Band, plus jamming, workshops, children’s programs and much more. Tickets range from $13-$105 for many choices of single- or multiday passes. Children 15 and younger are free with adult. Camping is available—extra charges apply. Info & tickets: www.fathersdayfestival.com.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

June 19-21, Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville

Featuring: Femi Kuti, King Sunny Adé, Sly & Robbie, Zap Mama, Gregory Isaacs, B-Side Players, The Itals and more. Tickets $145 for three-day pass; $55-$65 for single days. Kids 12 and younger are free. Camping is available (extra fees apply). For details and directions, go to www.snwmf.com.

Kate Wolf Memorial Festival

June 26-28, Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville

Featuring: Emmylou Harris, Richard Thompson, Patti Griffin, Shawn Colvin, Mavis Staples, Blind Boys of Alabama, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Joe Craven and more. Tickets for children and adults range from $25-$200 for many choices of single- or multiday passes. Children 6 and younger are free. Tickets & info: www.katewolf.com/festival; www.cumuluspresents.com/kate.

High Sierra Music Festival

July 2-July 5, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Quincy

Featuring: John Butler, Umphrey’s McGee, Ani Difranco, The Wailers, The Del McCoury Band, Dr. Dog, Devil Makes Three and more. Tickets (includes camping) for children and adults range from $35-$165 for two-, three- or four-day passes. Individual late-night show tix available too. Tickets & info: (510) 595-1115; www.highsierramusic.com.


Mayhem Festival

July 10, Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Marysville

Featuring: Marilyn Manson, Slayer, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, All That Remains, Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder and more. Tickets range from $31 for lawn to $60.50 for the pit. Info & tickets: www.livenation.com; www.sleeptrainamphitheatre.com; www.mayhemfest.com.

California World Fest

July 16-19, Grass Valley Fairgrounds, Grass Valley

Featuring: Los Lobos, Indigo Girls, Tommy Emmanuel, Jackie Greene & Tim Bluhm, Wailing Souls, Old Blind Dogs, MaMuse, Joe Craven, Gordy Ohliger and more. Tickets for children and adults range from $35-$140 for single- or multiday passes with camping, and from $15-$120 without camping. For info & tickets: (530) 891-4098; <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,105,110,102,111,64,119,111,114,108,100,102,101,115,116,46,110,101,116,34,62,105,110,102,111,64,119,111,114,108,100,102,101,115,116,46,110,101,116,60,47,97,62)) } </script>, http://worldfest.net.

Reggae on the River

July 18, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Garberville

Featuring: The Mighty Diamonds, Tanya Stephens, The Abyssinians, Et Ana, Soul Majestic and more. Tickets are $45-$55. Info & tickets: (707) 923-ROTR; www.reggaeontheriver.com; www.inticketing.com.

Mates of State

Wanderlust Festival (music and yoga)

July 24-26, Squaw Valley USA, Lake Tahoe

Featuring: Music by Spoon, Andrew Bird, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Mates of State, Rogue Wave, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Gillian Welch, Broken Social Scene and more, plus yogis John Friend, Shiva Rea, Annie Carpenter and many more. Cost is $124.50 for just music, and $169.50 for music plus yoga. VIP packages also available. Info & tickets: www.wanderlustfestival.com; www.mindbodyonline.com; <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,105,110,102,111,64,119,97,110,100,101,114,108,117,115,116,102,101,115,116,105,118,97,108,46,99,111,109,34,62,105,110,102,111,64,119,97,110,100,101,114,108,117,115,116,102,101,115,116,105,118,97,108,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.

Vans Warped Tour

Aug. 21, Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Marysville

Featuring: NOFX, Thrice, Fishbone, Less Than Jake, Silverstein, Saosin and tons more. Tickets: $33-$38 (general admission). www.livenation.com; www.sleeptrainamphitheatre.com; www.warpedtour.com.