All the fest
SN&R kicks off the summer-festival season with a roundup of all the region’s heavy hitters
What makes a memorable music festival?
Killer headliners? Short lines? Overnight camping? Greasy-ass funnel cake?
For SN&R’s staff, the best thing about hitting up a fest is that chance to get lost, bump into crazy folk and experience a band that changes your summer. And so SN&R’s compiled 17 summer-festival-season options. Choose wisely—and bring sunscreen.
Healdsburg Jazz Festival
June 3-12, Healdsburg
The skinny: In its 13th year, this small burg, known mostly as a wine destination, goes jazzy for 10 days in June. Think pinot, pentatonics and plenty of bass players wearing shades.
Featuring: Charlie Haden, Sangam, Brazilian Jazz All-Stars. Prices of admission vary day to day.
June 10-12, Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa
The skinny: Three days of bro, psych and hippie jamming—and a campsite scene that surely puts Coachella to shame.
Featuring: the Flaming Lips, Primus, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Railroad Earth, Quixotic, SOJA and more. Tickets are $120-$180 for three-day pass ($160-$210 with camping). Day or night shows only: $45. Kids $15 single day; $60 all days with camping (6 and under free).
Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival
June 16-19, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley
The skinny: Local Grass Valley bluegrass talent meets touring favorites—and a whole lotta red dirt on yer shoes.
Featuring: the Travelin’ McCourys, Gibson Brothers, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and the Freight Hoppers, plus jamming, workshops, children’s programs and many more performers. Tickets range from $15 to $130 for many choices of single- or multi-day passes. Children 15 and younger are free with adult. Camping is available—extra charges may apply.
The Bounce Festival
June 17-20, Belden
The skinny: Three-day campout featuring all sorts of high- and low-end electronic beats. BYO psychedelics.
Featuring: Tipper Sound Experience, Emancipator, Lowriderz, Justin Martin, Black Rock City Allstars and many more. Tickets are $141-$175, plus $100 parking (carpooling encouraged).
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
June 17-19, Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville
The skinny: Three days of roots reggae, world music, hemp, patchouli, bare feet—and absolutely no showering, no way!
Featuring: Ozomatli, Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Rebelution, New Kingston and more. Tickets are $150 for three-day pass, $60-$70 for single days. Camping is available (extra fees apply).
Wild Mountain Faire
June 24-26, Lake Concow Campground, Concow
The skinny: East of Paradise in the Plumas National Forest, this reggae and jam festival includes late-night deejay tents.
Featuring: Prezident Brown, Delhi 2 Dublin, Spark n Cinder, Swamp Zen, Alli Battaglia & the Musical Brewing Co., Soul Union, Twisted Strategies and more. Tickets are $50 for a three-day pass (includes camping), $20 for a single-day; children 10 and under are free.
Kate Wolf Memorial Music Festival
June 24-26, Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville
The skinny: Celebrating the music of Kate Wolf since 1996, this festival brings together the best of blues, Latin, jazz and jam.
Featuring: Los Lobos, Bruce Cockburn, Taj Mahal, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Mavis Staples, the Wailin’ Jennys, MaMuse, Hot Buttered Rum and more. Tickets for children and adults range from $35 to $170 for many choices of single- or multiday passes (some with camping, some without). Children 6 and under are free.
High Sierra Music Festival
June 30-July 3, Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Quincy
The skinny: High Sierra’s annual campout rock-out ups the ante this year with blue-chip headliners.
Featuring: Gillian Welch, My Morning Jacket, Neko Case, Ween, Yonder Mountain String Band, Dr. Dog, MaMuse and more. Tickets are $155-$205 for two-, three-, or four-day passes (includes camping); $30-$99 for several options of teen (13-16) and kid (5-12) passes (4 and under are, free).
July 10, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View
The skinny: An entire day of crunchy power chords, mind-melting solos and more screams than a trailer-park dispute.
Featuring: Disturbed, Godsmack, Megadeth, Machine Head, In Flames, Trivium. Tickets are $31-$61.
July 14-17, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley
The skinny: More jamming and more red dirt just an hour and a click up the hill from Sacramento.
Featuring: India.Arie with Idan Raichel, David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Nanci Griffith, Plena Libre, the Greencards and the Railflowers, plus kids’ games and programs and many more performers. Tickets for children and adults range from $35 to $140 for single- or multi-day passes with camping, and from $15-$120 without camping (children 5 and under are free).
Reggae on the River
July 16-17, Benbow Lake State Recreation Area, Benbow
The skinny: Groovy goodness just a jump away from the cool water, irie for sure.
Featuring: Ky-Mani Marley with Gramps Morgan, Seun Anikulapo Kuti & Egypt 80, Tony Rebel, Queen Ifrica, Rootz Underground, Mystic Roots Band and more. Tickets: $95 for two-day pass.
July 28-31, Squaw Valley USA, Lake Tahoe
The skinny: Yoga, yogis, gurus and Girl Talk—this festival is for the spiritual jammer in us all.
Featuring: Michael Franti & Spearhead, the Wailers, Girl Talk, Jai Uttal and more. Plus, classes with renowned yogis from around the world. Tickets are $24.50-$34.50 per day for just music, and $99.50-$450 for single-, three- or four-day yoga and music passes.
July 30-31, Big Sur, Central Coast
The skinny: All your fave low-fi garage rockers, many from the Bay Area, in California’s most lovely venue, Big Sur.
Featuring: Nodzzz, Art Museum, Ducktails, Woods, the Fresh & Onlys, Real Estate, Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, Sun Araw, White Fence.
August 12-14, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
The skinny: Three days of big-time headliners, farm-to-table eats, oyster sucking and hipsters bum-rushing the fence for free entrance.
Featuring: Arcade Fire, Phish, the Shins, Muse, MGMT, Erykah Badu, John Fogerty, Toro y Moi, Lyrics Born, Big Audio Dynamite, Old 97’s and many more, plus food, wine and art. Tickets are $199.50 for a three-day pass.
Rock the Bells Festival Series
August 27, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View
The skinny: The nation’s premiere hip-hop festival drops again in the Bay Area, but not Sacramento.
Featuring: Lauryn Hill, Nas, Erykah Badu, Cypress Hill, Black Star, Raekwon, Ghostface, Mobb Deep, Immortal Technique. Ticket details to be announced.
American River Music Festival
September 16-18, Henningsen-Lotus Park, Lotus
The skinny: It’s the fifth annual celebration of music and moving water, but more fun than listening to your iPod while on the toilet.
Featuring: James McMurtry, Truth and Salvage Co., Blame Sally, Ryan Shupe and the RubberBand, the Band of Heathens and more. Tickets and packages for camping range from $15 to $184.
Treasure Island Music Festival
October 15-16, Treasure Island, San Francisco
The skinny: Two days smack-dab in the middle of the Bay Bridge—complete with a Ferris wheel and a damn-sexy view of the San Francisco skyline.
Featuring: Performers yet to be announced, but Saturday is traditionally electronic-inspired and Sunday indie rock.