Finally, after a winter that never seemed to end, the drench is gone and it’s time for musical fun in the sun.
The approaching summer means that Northern California is about to hit Peak Music Festival, and the next few months will be filled with reggae, jam bands, punk, hip-hop and much more. In some cases, camping gear is recommended to make the most out of a vacation-like weekend of music.
So, where to start? We’ve scoured around to find essential summer music festivals that are just a day trip away. Grab some sunscreen and read on for The Bee’s Top 6 Summer Music Festivals:
Monterey Pop Festival 2017
When: June 16-18
Where: Monterey County Fair & Event Center, 2004 Fairground Rd., Monterey
Key acts: Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, Jack Johnson, Father John Misty, Jackie Greene, Norah Jones.
Far out, man. The famed Monterey Pop Festival celebrates its 50th anniversary and its five decades since the “Summer of Love.” The original festival hosted an iconic performance from Jimi Hendrix, who at the time was a relative unknown in the United States, though all that changed as Hendrix set his Stratocaster on fire during “Wild Thing.” The 2017 version looks to be a somewhat mellower affair than the smashed guitars from the Who and Hendrix in 1967, but nostalgia will be thick with a “Morrison Hotel Gallery” and on-site museum dedicated to Monterey Pop.
Davis Music Festival
When: June 16-18
Where: Various venues around downtown Davis
Key acts: Be Brave Bold Robot, The Evan Daly Blues Band, Pets, The Nickel Slots, Glug
The college town of Davis can get a little sleepy during the summer, as a chunk of the student body heads home for vacation. But Aggie town will be saturated with bands for three days as the seventh annual Davis Music Festival takes over such spots as Sudwerk, Woodstock’s Pizza, Armadillo Music and G St. Wunderbar. With presale passes as low as $30 (get them by Friday, June 16), this festival is a low-cost option for checking out a variety of Davis-based bands and musicians from beyond with the sounds of rock, folk, indie-rock and much more.
High Sierra Music Festival
When: June 29-July 2
Where: Plumas County Fairgrounds, 204 Fairground Road, Quincy
Key acts: Trey Anastasio Band, Galactic, Ween, Gov’t Mule, The Greyboy Allstars, Andrew Bird
If you like to get down with jam bands in the midst of camping for an extended weekend, a trip to Quincy is always a must in the summer. High Sierra Music Festival features plenty of great music for those who need much more space than a typical three minute pop song, along with other left-of-dial acts. For those with children, High Sierra Music Festival is also especially family friendly with its stages and entertainment geared for the younger set and their groovy parents.
When: July 1-2
Where: Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster St., Oakland
Key acts: Iggy Pop, X, Buzzcocks, Redd Kross, NRBQ, Guitar Wolf
If garage rock, punk and the independent side of the dial are your thing, the Burger Boogaloo in Oakland is an irresistible kind of clang. Host by John Waters, the maverick movie director behind “Pink Flamingos,” Burger Booglaoo is loaded with two days of iconic punk rock and blistering guitars. Sacramento will also be represented in this raucous mix with sets by The Losin’ Streaks and FM Knives.
When: July 13-16
Where: Nevada County Fairgrounds, 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley
Key acts: Michael Franti & Spearhead, Tommy Emmanuel, Keith Secola, Peter Yarrow
Unleash your inner hippie and rootsy side with a long-running festival that specializes in peaceful vibes among Grass Valley. Afro-beat, folk, funk and plenty other global sound are in store. Camping opportunities are also available, making for an easy commute to rest after dancing barefoot all day.
When: Aug. 11-13
Where: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
Key acts: Metallica, The Who, A Tribe Called Quest, Queens of the Stone Age, Action Bronson, Lorde
The mother-of-all Northern California Music Festivals celebrates its 10th year in Golden Gate Park. For the heshers, you can mosh to Metallica, the hip-hop set can head nod to A Tribe Called Quest – and all those who are hungry and thirsty have an epic amount of options through Outside Lands’ extensive concessions program. Fill up with a pint of IPA from Drake’s, a pork belly bao from the Chairman Truck, and rock out once you’re in food coma recovery mode.