Memorial Day weekend festival madness

Memorial Day

isn’t technically the start of summer, but it definitely feels like it: The weather is already way too warm, bands are hitting the stage on their summer tours and cold drinks are a daily necessity. Additionally, Sacramento seems to be gearing up with a week full of cool events. Here are a few festivals (and one fair) that SN&R recommends to help you get into the summer state of mind.

Sacramento County Fair

This prelude of sorts to the California State Fair happens yearly at Cal Expo and features typical Sacramento activities, such as bull riding, a livestock auction and a demolition derby. There’s also a hypnotist show, clowns, live music and kid-friendly entertainment. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Thursday, May 23, to Sunday, May 26; and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 27. General admission is $5, and kids under 12 get in free. Cal Expo is located at 1600 Exposition Boulevard. For more information, visit

Sacramento Electronic Music Festival

This festival kicks off the day after Memorial Day, with the Le Twist event on Tuesday, May 28, at LowBrau at 1050 20th Street (featuring Blue Foundation and Bichi). It continues at Assembly at 1000 K Street (Thursday, May 30, and Friday, May 31) and at a to-be-determined location on Saturday, June 1, that will be announced on Facebook. The lineup for the shows include local standouts Paper Pistols, Tel Cairo, Sister Crayon, D.A.M.B. and many more. Head to for more info and to purchase tickets.

Sacramento Music Festival

A Memorial Day tradition formerly known as the Sacramento Jazz Festival & Jubilee and before that, the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, the Sacramento Music Festival has expanded to include a larger variety of music: rock, bluegrass, jazz and mariachi, among others. This year, highlights include Los Lobos, the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band, Wanda Jackson and Ben Taylor. It happens Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27, in venues throughout Old Sacramento. Visit to check out multiple ticket options (including day passes and all-event passes).

International Kids Festival

The ninth annual installment of this festival, hosted by Russian American Media Inc., offers a magic show, face painting and kids’ performances of many cultural backgrounds. The free event happens in William Land Park at 3800 Land Park Drive, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 25. More information is at

Nevada City Gospel Music Festival

The inaugural Nevada City Gospel Music Festival will happen Saturday, May 25, at the Nevada City United Methodist Church at 433 Broad Street in Nevada City. Performers at the all-day event include the Gospel Motivators, Karen Westbrooks, Zamar and Scott Hickman. Tickets are $10 to $15, with proceeds “providing fresh water for villages in Zimbabwe.” Details can be found at