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California’s Summer Music Festivals Make a Comeback

Live music events across the state return to offer incredible experiences

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Posted 8 days agoby Tina Caputo

After more than a year of sheltering in place, music fans are eager to get together in the California sunshine and get their groove on—and event organizers are more inspired than ever to put on unforgettable shows.

“We are thrilled to be able to bring back Ohana Festival this year to Dana Point,” says Rich Best, Live Nation’s regional head of talent for California. “We have a killer lineup and fans should expect a great time. We will follow all local and health guidelines put in place at the time of the event, and fans should rest assured it will be the same Ohana Festival they've come to know and love.”

Dave Graham, partner at BottleRock Napa Valley, is equally enthusiastic about this year’s festival after a pandemic pause in 2020. “We’re happy to reward our loyal fans with a lineup that once again features a wide variety of genres combining legendary performers with up-and-coming bands, and some of the most talked about artists in the world.”

Read on for a guide to can’t-miss summer music festivals across the state, from the redwood groves of Humboldt to the beaches of Orange County.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Day Trip ☀️ (@daytripla)

July 3–4: Day Trip Festival

The debut Day Trip Festival celebrates house music on the LA Waterfront with more than three dozen artists, including Chromeo, AC Slater, Artbat, and Dombresky. After enjoying music, craft cocktails, and gourmet food truck fare, stick around for the evening fireworks display over the Pacific Ocean.

July 16–18: Northern Lights Music Festival

Billed as a music, arts, camping/glamping, yoga, and cannabis retreat under the redwoods, Northern Lights is set along the Eel River at Cook’s Valley Campground on the Mendocino-Humboldt County border. The yet-to-be-announced 2021 music lineup will showcase electronic artists.

July 31–Aug. 1: Hard Summer Music Festival

One of the state’s largest music events, Hard Summer is back to present an array of alternative, electronic, and hip-hop acts. This year’s festival at the NOS Events Center in San Bernardino features headliners Future, Rezz, DJ Snake, Malaa, and Kaytranada.

Aug. 27–28: Beyond Wonderland

EDM and Alice in Wonderland fans converge in San Bernardino at Beyond Wonderland, a fanciful tribute to house, trance, and dubstep. Explore Alice-inspired multi-dimensional art installations, meet curious characters, and experience a magical world of color and light while grooving to Alison Wonderland, Andrew Bayer, Laidback Luke, and many more.

Sept. 3–5: BottleRock Napa Valley

Experience the best of Napa Valley wine, beer, music, art, and restaurants at BottleRock in Napa. Typically held in May, BottleRock was pushed back a few months to account for COVID-19 concerns. The 2021 music roster is a who’s who of national acts, including Guns N’ Roses, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, and Megan Thee Stallion. This being Napa Valley, the festival also includes cooking demos by local and national culinary superstars.

Sept. 18: SoCal Hoedown

Check out some of the top local and national outlaw country, rockabilly, and punk bands at the SoCal Hoedown at the Port of Los Angeles. Among this year’s acts are Fishbone, Supersuckers, HorrorPops, and Reel Big Fish. Food trucks and retail vendors will be on hand to satisfy culinary and fashion cravings.

Sept. 18: Day to Night Festival

Head to Treasure Island for a vibe-a-licious lineup of DJs, food, and art—all with a stunning San Francisco backdrop. Pre-parties, after-parties, and music on multiple stages by electronic and house artists such as Nora En Pure and Spencer Brown are among Day to Night’s attractions.

Sept. 24–26: Monterey Jazz Festival

Founded in 1958, the nonprofit Monterey Jazz Fest in Monterey is the longest continuously running jazz festival on the planet. The 2021 lineup has yet to be announced, but if history is any indication, the festival is sure to feature some of the world’s top jazz acts.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ohana Fest (@theohanafest)

Sept. 24–26: Ohana Festival

Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket, Pearl Jam, and Brandi Carlile are headliners at the 2021 Ohana Festival. Set at Orange County’s popular Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, the fest boasts more than 35 performances on three stages, plus exhibits and panels with leading conservationists and professional surfers.

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