Oh come, festivus
Ten don’t-miss summertime music festivals
When we’re at festivals, we get a good laugh out of the donkeys on sticks, neon flags and other identifiers people carry so friends can see them from far away. At first, we were like, “Why is that dude waving that Lindsay Lohan banner in the air?” But it makes sense, now: When you’re riding hard on ecstasy, you need some kind of randomness on a stick to snap you out of being so based.
This year’s SN&R Summer Guide has an entire section dedicated to the season’s music festivals. Yet there are more. So many, in fact, that we dug deep into the Internets to custom tailor 10 summertime outdoor jives for your jam. And so:
The Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival is so much better than bad barbecue and U.S. Open golf at Grandpa’s retirement home. Tickets are reasonable, the drive is lovely, and the party goes down this weekend: June 16-19, at the Nevada County Fairgrounds in Grass Valley; www.fathersdayfestival.com.
If outdoor, remote electronic-dance blowouts are your bag, then, uh, bounce with it: The annual Bounce Festival in Plumas County on the Feather River returns this weekend, too, June 15-18. The event is nearly sold out—but just nearly (www.thebouncefestival.com). Drink lots of water.
The Sierra Nevada World Music Fest in Boonville goes down June 22-24 (www.snwmf.com), but do not confuse this throwdown with the 16th annual California Worldfest in Grass Valley on July 12-15 (http://worldfest.net). Everyone’s favorite headliner pairing—Cake and Ani DiFranco?—lead the charge at this year’s Worldfest, plus Fishtank Ensemble, Mumbo Gumbo, dozens more—and more red dirt than you can shake a walking stick at.
Reggae on the River is one of those faraway summer jams (Humboldt) that most people don’t question making the drive for (because of weed). So goes the seductive powers of reggae and cannabis. Anyway, this year’s festival features Toots and the Maytals, Midnite and Tosh Meets Marley. And marijuana. (July 21-22, www.reggaeontheriver.com.)
Speaking of which: This summer’s 22nd annual High Sierra Festival really ups the ante. There’s Ben Harper, Built to Spill, the Devil Makes Three, Railroad Earth, Deer Tick, Gardens and Villa, the Nibblers and four days worth of rock and Americana. Single-day passes are all under $100; four-day passes a steal at $200 (July 5-8, www.highsierramusic.com).
If you can’t get enough of high-altitude yoga and Ziggy Marley, then hit up Squaw Valley for the four-day downward-facing-dog-down that is the annual Wanderlust Fest. This year’s gathering is the weekend of July 26-29 (http://squaw.wanderlustfestival.com).
Sacramento’s own Launch Music Festival grows up this year. The main event will overtake Cesar Chavez Plaza on Saturday, July 28, and the headliners include Chromeo, DJ Shadow and Chk Chk Chk. See this year’s Summer Guide for more details (page 59) or visit http://launchsacramento.com.
There’s a great video on YouTube of fans sneaking in to see Chromeo at an Outside Lands festival (don’t get any ideas, 916ers!). Anyway, this year’s Outside Lands, August 10-12, has some aged cheese (Metallica), stale pop (Stevie Wonder), French imports (Justice) and crusty bread (Neil Young). I keed, I keed: This is the region’s premier outdoor weekend of overpriced oysters and impossible parking; I wouldn’t miss it for the world (www.sfoutsidelands.com).
Rock the Bells (http://rockthebells.net) rings out the summer, as usual, on August 25-26. Kid Cudi and NAS “headline” this year’s Shoreline Amphitheatre gig—yawn?—but there is a Bone Thugs-N-Harmony 20-year reunion (still yawn?). Anyway, don’t worry, white people: Ice Cube is in the house.
OK, so that’s your summer. Save up that cheddar, because festing ain’t easy, or cheap. And you know the Republicans will be jockeying for higher gas prices, so plan to carpool.
Or just stay in the pool.