Stage hopping

A guide to Nor Cal’s season of music festivals

Inside the Vaudville Tent at High Sierra Music Festival.

Inside the Vaudville Tent at High Sierra Music Festival.

photo courtesy of high sierra music fest

It’s late May in Northern California and the forecast calls for four months of sunny skies and a music festival nearly every week between now and the end of summer. It’s going to be hot and dry and you’re going to need some respite, so head to the hills for some shade and a marathon party with several thousand of your closest friends.

A couple of the big ones are celebrating birthdays this year—20 for the Kate Wolf Music Festival and 25 for High Sierra—and our two locally grown fests, Sacred Movement and For the Funk of It, are back after successful debuts in 2014.


May 29-31, Napa. Featuring: Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant, No Doubt, Snoop Dogg, Public Enemy, Avett Brothers, Courtney Barnett and more. Tickets: $139-$149 (one-day passes—multiday passes sold out). Camping included.

Huichica Music Festival

June 12-13, Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma. Featuring: Atlas Sound, Sonny and the Sunsets, The Fresh and Onlys, Shannon and the Clams and more. Tickets: $40-$55 (single day) to $85-$120 (two days).

Reggae in the Hills

June 12-14, Calaveras County Fairgrounds, Angels Camp. Featuring: Ky-Mani Marley, Don Carlos, Bushman, Mystic Roots and more. Tickets: $35-$50 (one day) to $130 (three days). Free camping.

Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival

June 18-21, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley. Featuring: David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Molly Tuttle and Friends, and more. Tickets: $35-$55 (one day) to $150 (four days). Camping included.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival

June 19-21, Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville. Featuring: Jimmy Cliff, Luciano, Third World, Hempress Sativa and more. Tickets: $60-$75 (one day) to $175 (three days). Camping: $75.

Vans Warped Tour

June 20, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View. Featuring: Silverstein, BoyMeetsWorld, Motion City Soundtrack, Senses Fail, and tons more. Tickets $39.50 (general admission).

Sacred Movement

June 26-28, Lake Concow Campground, Concow. Featuring: Healing artists, plus music by The Bumptet, Dead Winter Carpenters, B Side Players, GravyBrain, Dylan’s Dharma, Bogg and more. Tickets: $35 (single day) and $85 (three-day).

Kate Wolf Music Festival

June 25-28, Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville. Featuring: Smokey Robinson, Iron and Wine, Angelique Kidjo, Steve Earle & The Dukes and more. Tickets: $200-$275 (two-four days, with camping). Parking extra.

Rockstar Mayhem Festival

June 28, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View. Featuring: Slayer, King Diamond, Hellyeah, The Devil Wears Prada and more. Tickets: $25-$75.

High Sierra Music Festival

July 2-5, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Quincy. Featuring: The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, The John Butler Trio, Lake Street Drive and more. Tickets: $85.50-$95 (one day) to $195.50-$260.50 (two- to four-day passes, with camping). Parking extra.

California WorldFest

July 16-19, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley. Featuring: Lucinda Williams Band, King Sunny Ade & His African Beats, Dengue Fever, Richard Thompson, more. Tickets: From $55 (one day) to $205 (four days with camping).

Wanderlust Festival

July 16-19, Squaw Valley USA, Lake Tahoe. Music and yoga festival featuring: Michael Franti, Thievery Corporation, MC Yogi, more. Plus, yoga, meditation, and other activities. A variety of music, food and yoga packages are available. Visit site for details.

Northern Nights

July 17-19, Cook’s Valley Campground, Mendocino/Humboldt. Featuring: Gold Panda, Monophonics, Gallant, more. Tickets: $195 (three days, with camping).

Reggae on the River

July 30-Aug. 2, French’s Camp, Piercy. Featuring: Stephen Marley, Cham, Collie Budz, The Congos, Reggae Angels, more. Tickets: $200 (three days with camping) to $250 (four days with camping).

Guitarfish Music Festival

July 30-Aug. 2, Cisco Grove Campground, Cisco Grove. Featuring: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Dumpstaphunk, Kinky, Afrolicious, more. Tickets: $179 (three days) and $180 (four days). Camping included; parking extra.

Outside Lands

Aug. 7-9, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. Featuring: Elton John, The Black Keys, Kendrik Lamar, Wilco, Tame Impala, more. Tickets: Multiday and most single-day passes (except Friday VIP for $295) are sold out (try for resale).

For the Funk of It

Aug. 14-16, Highway 70, Belden. Featuring: The Motet, Polyrythmics, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Moksha, Swamp Zen, more. Tickets: $95 (three days). Camping free; parking extra.

Strawberry Music Festival

Sept. 3-7, Toulumne (outside Yosemite). Performers TBA. Check website for updates.

Chico World Music Festival

Sept. 12: Chico State, Chico. Performers TBA. Check website for updates.

American River Music Festival

Sept. 18-21, Lotus Park, Colma-Lotus. Featuring: Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Shook Twins, more. Tickets: $40 (one day) and $60 (two day); $129-$169 (all-music pass, plus three days camping).