Summer sounds

Get a lot of music without extraneous driving at Northstate music festivals

Heat waves come and heat waves go, but no matter what the actual temperature is, you can count on sweating all day in any of the twirling crowds of thousands gathered around various main stages and side stages during festival season.

Though there are miles to trek (and gallons of gas to buy) for any of these events, the beauty of the festival format is you get a lot of bang for your buck once you get there.

What’s your summer soundtrack going to be? African rhythms echoing through the Sierra Nevada? Banjos on the lawn? Irie reverberations in the redwoods? The angry whirl of a giant mosh pit spinning wildly in the afternoon sun?

California World Fest has it all.

Photo By Stephanie Bird

Read on and choose your own tunes. And don’t forget your sunscreen.

Music That Matters Festival
June 2-4, Mervyn’s Feather River Pavilion, Marysville (driving distance from Chico: 50 miles)

Featuring: Elvin Bishop, Jerry Garcia Band (w/Melvin Seals), Leon Russell, Leo Nocentelli, David Gans, Clan Dyken and more. Tickets range $30-$60 for single- or three-day passes. Info & tickets:; (530) 346-2763;;

Father’s Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival
June 15-18, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley (75 miles)

Elvin Bishop matters.

Featuring: The Larry Sparks Show, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Lonesome River Band, Uncle Earl and more. Tickets range from $13-$115 for many choices of single- or multi-day passes. Children 12 and under are free. Camping is available. For more info on tickets and to get directions:;; (209) 473-1616.

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
June 23-25, Mendocino County Fair, Boonville (170 miles)

Featuring: Baaba Maal, Culture, Vusi Mahlasela, Mad Professor, The Robotiks and more. Tickets are $110 for a three-day pass (available through Ticketmaster outlets:; (916) 649-TIXS). Kids 12 and under are free. Camping is available. For details and directions, go to

Kate Wolf Memorial Festival
June 23-25, Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville (180 miles)

See Nickel Creek high in the Sierras.

Featuring: Steve Earle, Bruce Cockburn, Arlo Guthrie & family, Greg Brown w/the Campbell Brothers, Utah Phillips, The Roches, Railroad Earth, The Wailin’ Jennys, Wavy Gravy and more. Tickets for children and adults range from $15-$150 for many choices of single- or multi-day passes. Children 6 and under are free. Info: (707) 823-1511;; Tickets: (707) 829-7067.

High Sierra Music Festival
June 29-July 2, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Quincy (90 miles)

Featuring: Son Volt, Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, Nickel Creek, Greyboy Allstars, Mother Hips, My Morning Jacket, Hot Buttered Rum, Joe Craven and more. Tickets (includes camping and off-site parking) for children and adults range from $35-$167 for two-, three- or four-day passes. Individual late-night show tix available too. For tix and more info: (510)-595-1115;

July 2, Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Marysville (55 miles)

Catch Unearth at Ozzfest

Featuring: Ozzy Osbourne, System of a Down, Disturbed, Hatebreed, Lacuna Coil and more. Tickets: $35-$95.;;

Vans Warped Tour
July 13, Sleep Train Amphitheatre, Marysville (55 miles)

Featuring: NOFX, Motion City Soundtrack, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, A.F.I., Helmet, Thursday, Anti Flag and more. Tickets: $29.75 (general admission). (530) 528-TIXS.;;;

California World Fest
July 13-16, Grass Valley Fairgrounds, Grass Valley (75 miles)

Featuring: Michael Franti, Nickel Creek, Jake Shimabukuro, Joe Craven, Banana Slug String Band, Peking Acrobats and more. Tickets for children and adults range from $10-$135 for single- or multi-day passes. Camping available. For info & tickets: (530) 891-4098;,

Reggae on the River
August 4-6, Dimmick Ranch/ French’s Camp, Piercy (210 miles)

Featuring: Ziggy Marley, Don Carlos, Ozomatli, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Sean Paul and more. Tickets are $165 for three days. Camping is available, but limited. Info & tickets: (707) 923-4583;