If you are looking to expand your music festival repertoire beyond the local Outside Lands and Treasure Island festivals, you have plenty of options as summer gets under way. Check out our picks for best outdoor music festivals within a day’s drive of San Francisco.
May 27-30: Lightning in a Bottle
This festival is the perfect option you are looking to get out of town and kick start the summer with a festival road trip. Take in Pretty Lights, Thievery Corporation, Lucent Dossier Experience, and several other electronic music acts over the long Memorial Day Weekend on a scenic ranch just south of Los Angeles. More Info.
June 4: Huichica Fest
After selling out in its inaugural year, the Huichica Festival is back for a second year at Gundlach Bundschu Winery. Head to Sonoma’s wine country for a full day of music, featuring the Fruit Bats, J Mascis, Sonny & The Sunsets, and more. Good tunes and good wine in a beautiful setting — it’s hard to argue with that pairing. More info.
June 10-12: Harmony Festival
Santa Rosa, CA
Feel the love from Michael Franti & Spearhead, feel the bass with Primus, and feel the freakout with Flaming Lips as they take over the Sonoma County Fairgrounds for three days. Camp on-site or drive in for the day — less than two hours from downtown SF. More info.
June 30-July 3: High Sierra Music Festival
If the typical three-day festival just isn’t enough for you, head for the hills with My Morning Jacket, Ween, Neko Case, Warren Haynes, and more, for four days of music in Quincy. More info.
July 16-17: Reggae on the River
This festival is much smaller after it imploded during a legal squabble a few years back, but the show that put reggae festivals on the map in California soldiers on in 2011. Party along the banks of the Eel River in Humboldt County as international reggae and world music stars rock two stages. More info.
September 16-18: Monterey Jazz Festival
Keep it cool and take a trip south to the other Bay Area — Monterey Bay — for three nights of jazz, funk, and R&B, plus some 80s pop shine from Huey Lewis and The News. Highlights include sets from Herbie Hancock, Pancho Sanchez & his Latin Jazz Band featuring
Nicholas Payton Terence Blanchard, and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk. More info.
September 23-25: Earthdance
Earthdance leaves its home in the North Country for new digs at Solano County Fairgrounds in Vallejo. Camp and stay close to the lineup, featuring Beats Antique, Les Nubians, and Midnite, or just make it a day trip for your favorite acts. More info.
What festivals are you looking forward to?