Music festivals within driving distance of L.A.

Hit up these hometown music festivals, as well as ones within driving distance of L.A., from Las Vegas to San Francisco
Coachella 2016 weekend 1; day 2
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
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Whether a day trip or a Metro ride away, there’s no shortage of music festivals near Los Angeles. We’re not just talking about summer music festivals either—thanks to Southern California’s persistently pleasant climate, we can enjoy outdoor fests nearly year-round. So lace up a comfortable pair of shoes for these music festivals within driving distance of L.A., from free concerts to camping excursions.

Upcoming music festivals

Coachella 2015, day 3
Photograph: Kate Wertheimer
Things to do, Festivals

Coachella

Nearly 125,000 music lovers make a pilgrimage to the Empire Polo Club during each identical weekend of Coachella, whether bound for campgrounds or shuttling over from golf resorts and midcentury modern homes. Though its bespoke dining experiences and hotel party scene may try to steal headlines, Coachella remains about the relaxed desert air euophoria of a well-curated music festival. Coachella’s all-embracing three-day lineup consistently crafts the pool of performers from which all other summer music festivals borrow (this year’s headliners: the Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem).

Foo Fighters
Photograph: Chris Sullivan
Music, Music festivals

Cal Jam

icon-location-pin San Bernardino
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Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age topped the lineup of Cal Jam 17, and the rock-focused fest is slated to return in 2018. You’ll find other familiar festival staples at Glen Helen Regional Park—carnival rides and games, a vendor village—alongside some more unique touches, like twin waterslides, a mobile recording studio and the Foo Fighters Rock ’n’ Roll Museum. The event borrows its name from California Jam, a 1974 fest that featured in Deep Purple and ELP in nearby Ontario.

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Run the Jewels at FYF 2015, day 1
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Music, Music festivals

Adult Swim Festival

icon-location-pin Downtown
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Everyone’s favorite chill-out block of out-there animation is taking its signature brand of comedy and music to Downtown L.A. for an inaugural festival. In addition to headliner Run the Jewels, the fest has tacked on sets from Hannibal Buress, Thundercat, Wavves, Zola Jesus, Big Freedia, Dan Deacon and Julianna Barwick. A second wave of headliners includes Mastodon, Neko Case, Flying Lotus and T-Pain. Expect plenty of Adult Swim show tie-ins, including games and exclusive merch.

Joshua Tree Music Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Joshua Tree Music Festival
Music, Music festivals

Joshua Tree Music Festival

icon-location-pin Desert
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Make your way to the desert for the Joshua Tree Music Festival, a gathering of like-minded indie musicians who will be rocking out to a dance-world-electro-funk’n groove. The biannual festival is a four-day party with over 30 bands in a unique lineup of artists who aren’t necessarily household names. There’s free water to all patrons, no service charges on tickets and yoga classes aplenty.

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Desert Daze
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Esoteric Sapience
Music, Music festivals

Desert Daze

icon-location-pin Inland Empire
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Desert Daze is your antidote to the typical desert gathering (think a noisier, more indie lineup than Coachella and less dirt than Burning Man). Though it’s close enough to L.A. to go just for the day, the fest caters to campers with easy access to hiking trails and a bazaar of mystics and wanderers. Tame Imala, Death Grips, Mercury Rev, Warpaint and Ty Segall top this year’s lineup.

Looking for free concerts?

Movie screenings, live concerts, comedy and more happen here at the Santa Monica Pier.
Photograph: Courtesy Twilight Concerts
Music

Free concerts in L.A.

Looking for free concerts in L.A.? Well, you’re in luck—music (aside from film, possibly) is the city’s most abundant form of entertainment.

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