There’s nothing quite like festival season, especially when it comes to the summer months. Although Southern California is blessed with beautiful weather year-round, the warmth and energy buzzing in the air from May through September makes for an entirely unique outdoor music experience. Not only is it the perfect time to soak up sun, drink a few beers and listen to a bunch of bands you don't know while waiting for that one band you wanted to see, but you can also camp out with some of your closest friends and several thousand complete strangers, all for the sake of creating lasting memories. From FYF to Ohana, here are the most anticipated summer festivals going down in the OC that we’re super stoked for.
Summer Fest (June 17) Newport Beach
Summertime, and the living is easy. Well, not really—but for at least one day out of the year, we can pretend that it is. This year, the Weekly's annual Summer Fest returns to Newport Dunes on Jun 17 from 1-5 p.m. for an afternoon shindig sunny enough to melt your cares away. Hosting a full menu of bands, booze and local eats, this is the ideal day at the beach in celebration our annual Summer Guide. The festival will be headlined by one of OC's biggest reggae-rock faves Pacific Dub, who released of their highly anticipated Take Me Away EP, earlier this year. P. Dub's new and improved sound is tailor made for dancing and drink sipping with your toes in the sand.
Day of Music Fullerton (June 21)
For at least one day out of the year, Fullerton deserves to be called the Paris of the West Coast thanks to Day of Music Fullerton. The city-wide event inspired by the Fête de la Musique in France hosts a full day of over 150 concerts and performing arts exhibitions throughout the city on the day of the Summer Solstice. Utilizing venues and pop-up spaces to host musicians and artists of all stripes turns a typical Wednesday afternoon into a music lover’s paradise.
OC Fair (July 14-August 13) Costa Mesa, CA
Giving the people of Orange County an excuse to seek out animals and art, carnival rides and cotton candy since 1890, the OC Fair is back for it’s annual, 23 days of food, fun and music. Every Wednesday through Friday from 11 A.M. to Midnight, visitors can walk around and enjoy rodeos, MMA matches and even jousting. This year’s roster of musical guests includes every cover band you’ve ever heard of and then some, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The B-52s, Gavin DeGraw, The Isley Brothers and Kenny Rogers. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, but at least there’s something for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Agenda Festival (July 15) Long Beach
For the last 14 years, The Agenda trade show earned its rep for being the most exclusive streetwear convention in SoCal. Now they've opened their show up to the public in a major way. Recently, Agenda announced its inaugural Agenda Festival at the Long Beach Convention Center. Headlined by Tyler, The Creator along with rap gods of early aughts like Ludacris and Cam'ron, the event is billed as a "new, immersive music and shopping experience fusing together skate, surf, street culture, food and art in one setting." Think of last year's Complex Con but with an even nicer pair sneakers.
FYF (July 21-23) Los Angeles, CA
FYF (aka Fuck Yeah Festival) is quickly gaining the acknowledgement that it deserves. The Los Angeles-based event is continuously proving that it can hang with the big boys, and their ridiculously amazing 2017 roster is mindblowing. In case you somehow missed this epic news, Missy Elliott is co-headlining with Björk. While the Icelandic queen has been making her rounds as a DJ, this will be the hip-hop legend’s first and possibly only scheduled performance for the entire year. Run the Jewels and Erykah Badu are seasoned festival entertainers, so you know they won’t let you down either. Try to contain your squeals of glee.
Summertime in the LBC (August 5) Long Beach, CA
Ain’t nothing but a gangsta party going down near The Queen Mary in Long Beach and everyone’s invited. Bone Thugs N Harmony, YG, George Clinton, Warren G, KRS-1 and Wu-Tang Clan will be serving up some ‘90s nostalgia in one of hip-hop’s most influential cities and it’s going to be nothing short of a good time. Considering Snoop Dogg was able to virtually DJ a party on NBA 2k17’s Park After Dark, it would be a shame if the honorary Mayor of the LBC didn’t at least make an appearance. We’re counting on you, Snoop. Martha Stewart can roll, too.
So-Cal Hoedown (August 5)
Since its inaugural run last year, So Cal Hoedown was designed to fill a vital niche in OC festival season—the weekend rockabilly rager. After the demise of some time honored fests like Ink-n-Iron and the Hootenanny, Sellout Productions stepped in to give us their interpretation of a classic weekend full of old school punk, rockabilly and Americana combined with Kustom Kulture car shows and pin-up girl contests. This year’s lineup filling up three stages on the corner of 4th and French includes Rocket From the Crypt, Lee Rocker (of the Stray Cats), Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine, Zeke, Cash’d Out, Guana Bats and plenty more.
High and Mighty (August 5-6) Silverado, CA
Tired of the overabundance of typical rock festivals? Then KROQ’s got you covered. High and Mighty Festival — a.k.a. the festival that your favorite dispensary is unofficially sponsoring — is taking you out to Oak Canyon Park for a weekend full of all the reggae, craft beer and carnival rides your stomach can handle. Luckily, it’s the kind of festival that you could enjoy either stoned or sober; however, if you’re sober you’ll probably be the only one.
Warped Tour (August 5 - San Diego, August 6 - Pomona)
No matter how old we get, the Vans Warped Tour will always be one of the fondest memories we have of our reservoir of live music experiences. But just because we’ve grown up doesn’t mean we can’t still make it out to reminisce alongside some of the music industry’s veteran acts and experience the efforts of up-and-coming rock stars without becoming bored. Hawthorne Heights, Dance Gavin Dance, Goldfinger, The Adolescents and The Ataris are headlining the seven mainland stages. Get ready to get nostalgic.
Nocturnal Wonderland (September 1-3) San Bernardino, CA
For 14 years, the creative geniuses behind Nocturnal Wonderland put on what is quickly becoming one of the most successful EDM festivals in North America. What began as as a small event that had to frequently fight for venues and struggled with low turnout has since become a five-stage, three-day homage to Alice in Wonderland with turntable juggernauts like Above & Beyond, DJ Snake and Chromeo headlining their bills. Fun-seeking souls willing to make the voyage to the I.E. won’t only be able to enjoy music, but will also be surrounded by a wonderland of carnival rides, elaborate art installations and neon lighting that even Tim Burton would bow down to.
Ohana Festival (September 8-10) Dana Point, CA
Because you’ll probably never have the chance to see Social Distortion, Fiona Apple and HAIM on the same bill again, it’ll be well worth it to drive down to Dana Point for this the 2017 edition of Ohana. In addition the smorgasbord of fancy beers, cocktails and food, patrons have the luxury of strolling out onto the Doheny’s pristine beaches, taking dips in the ocean to cool off from that early September heat between sets. There could be worse accommodations.
High & Low (September 9)
While we’re well aware that KROQ’s Weenie Roast is the unofficial start of festival season every year, seems like they’re itching to close it out as well with their latest event High & Low, featuring a range of indie, alternative darlings and pop punk nostalgia acts, including Brand New, Death Cab For Cutie, Tegan and Sara, Best Coast, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness and more. With a lineup like this, driving back out to San Bernardino still feels like a major win.
Kaaboo (September 15-17)
Kaaboo might be a completely made up word, but looking at the massive lineup of food, comedy and art at Del Mar Race Fairgrounds, it definitely sounds like another word for smorgasbord. The three-day festival in San Diego County uses a broad brush with its lineup in an attempt to appeal just about every age demographic, whether you’re a mom and dad looking to rock out to Jackson Browne or a teenage daughter looking to get close to jump up and down to Ke$a. With a bill that features 75 acts, something’s bound to strike your fancy. This year’s headliners include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Pink and Muse.
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Music Tastes Good (September 30-October 1) Long Beach
The two-day Downtown Long Beach festival presented by 89.9 KCRW returns for its second year, leaner, meaner and, yes, tastier. Headlined by influential alt-rock trailblazers Ween and Sleater-Kinney headlining Saturday and Sunday, respectively, MTG is moving from it's original location on Pine St., this year MTG will host it's event at the beautiful waterfront Marina Green Park just in time for the end of summer.
Among the many other notable acts playing this year's MTG are British shoegaze pioneers RIDE, critically-acclaimed American funk/soul/R&B musician Charles Bradley, Canadian jangle pop maestros Alvvays, Grammy Award-winning, East LA roots rockers Los Lobos, experimental Athens, GA art rock outfit of Montreal, Dr. Octagon, the acclaimed alter ego of rapper Kool Keith, and UK New Wave innovators Heaven 17 to name just a few. MTG celebrated the release of the lineup last night with a party at the Federal Bar Underground in DTLB.