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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

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

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

Beyond Wonderland

This springtime spin-off in Insomniac’s Wonderland series takes its whimsical, carnival-like atmosphere to this trance-heavy festival. The dreamy, multi-stage experience includes the likes of KSHMR, Kayzo, Alesso, Flosstradamus, Kill the Noise and more.

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NOS Events Center , San Bernardino Friday March 16 2018 - Saturday March 17 2018

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. Even in the face of an increasingly predictable pattern, it’s hard to argue with a fest that finds room for the Weeknd, Beyoncé and Eminem atop its bill.

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Empire Polo Club , Indio Friday April 13 2018 - Sunday April 22 2018
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Stagecoach Festival

Strap on your cowboy hat and make the pilgrimage to country music's biggest jamboree, taking up residence at Coachella’s digs, the Empire Polo Club. Stagecoach is coming back for a three-day fest, and headlining the event this year are stars like Dierks Bentley, Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney. Expect the usual mix of contemporary and classic country.

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Empire Polo Club , Indio Friday April 27 2018 - Sunday April 29 2018

Lightning in a Bottle

You’ll need to trek up to the Central Coast for this annual event, but where else can you find a sustainable, vegetarian festival dedicated to equal parts music, food, art, yoga and wellness? Lightning in a Bottle has stepped up its musical lineup in recent years, with Anderson .Paak, ZHU and Fever Ray topping the 2018 bill. Expect to do some serious soul-searching during this six-day retreat, all while immersing yourself in everything from a speaker series at the Lucent Temple of Consciousness to the old timey Grand Artique trading post.

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Location T.B.A. Wednesday May 23 2018 - Monday May 28 2018
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Arroyo Seco Weekend

The inaugural Arroyo Seco Weekend will set up three stages on the Brookside grounds, the Rose Bowl-adjacent golf course, with headlining sets from Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Mumford & Sons top. The rest of the lineup mostly folk and soul-filled lineup includes the likes of Alabama Shakes, Dawes, Weezer, Broken Social Scene, the Shins, Charles Bradley and Andrew Bird. While the musical lineup may seem a little mild, the food selection is astounding: Arroyo Seco Weekend is set to bring a mix of casual favorites like Sweetfin Poke, Sumo Dog, Locol, Dog Haus and Nomad's roving chicken burgers alongside some of our favorite fine-dining destinations like République, Broken Spanish, Redbird and Union.

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Until Sun Jun 25

The Classic West

The '70s are alive at the Classic West, which takes over Dodger Stadium for two nights this summer, with sets from the Eagles, Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers on Saturday, July 15, and Fleetwood Mac, Journey and Earth, Wind & Fire on Sunday, July 16.

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Until Sun Jul 16
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FYF Fest

Though its upstart, anti-establishment edge from its days as "Fuck Yeah Fest" is gone, FYF has come into its own as more than just an also-ran musical festival. A few location changes and growing pains later, the Downtown-adjacent festival has attracted a commuter crowd that seems to grow in number and shrink in age each year. FYF has still managed to keep room for local buzz bands while reeling in Coachella-caliber headliners—chalk that up to sharing a promoter—without charting a course for the desert. This year's lineup includes Missy Elliott, Björk, Frank Ocean, Nine Inch Nails, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Iggy Pop, Solange, Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus, Anderson.Paak, MGMT, Nicolar Jaar and Slowdive.

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Until Sun Jul 23

Hard Summer

Recommended

Locally born EDM juggernaut Hard Summer makes its way back to Southern California for its eponymous annual summer music fest. For two days, dance music and hip-hop acts will traverse four outdoor stages for the raving pleasure of Southern California's danciest. DJ Snake, a DJ set from Justice, Rae Sremmurd, Zeds Dead, Bassnectar, Migos and Dog Blood—that's Skrillex and Boys Noize—top this year's lineup, along with a special set from Snoop Dogg, who will perform 1993's Doggystyle in full.

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Until Sun Aug 6
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Ohana Festival

The second iteration of Ohana Festival has expanded to three days at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, with headlining sets from Social Distortion, Eddie Vedder and Jack Johnson, and an arguably more impressive undercard: Pixies, HAIM, Fiona Apple, Ray Lamontagne, TV on the Radio and more. The fest's name, as Lilo & Stitch fans can tell you, comes from the Hawaiian concept of family, and as such the beachfront festival will give back to its own community by donating a portion of proceeds to the San Onofre Parks Foundation and the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association.

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Until Sun Sep 10

MainFest

Spend all day in Downtown Alhambra for this surprisingly with-it neighborhood festival. Purity Ring, Ghostland Observatory, BROODS, Classixx, Polica, Poolside and Gavin Turek top the lineup of the late summer fest. The action is centered around Main Street and 1st Street, with a slew of food trucks within the festival grounds as well as local favorite storefronts like Blockheads, Boiling Crab and Crème Bee.

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Until Sat Sep 9
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Last year's music festivals still to be announced

Nocturnal Wonderland

While you won't find much Alice in the Wonderland series of festivals, you will find a whimsical, carnival-like atmosphere drenched in Day-Glo and pulsating lasers. The five stages at the San Manuel Amphitheater are musical platforms just as much as they're art installations, with names like the Upside-Down Room and the Temple of Om. This year's lineup includes the likes of DJ Snake, Bassnectar, Chromeo, Knife Party and more.

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Until Sat Sep 16

Fool's Gold Day Off

Need plans to send off your summer? The most innovative sounds in electronic and hip-hop intermingle at this all-day party hosted by A-Trak's Brooklyn label Fool's Gold. Mac Miller and Pusha T headline L.A.'s outdoor installment of the multi-city event.

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Until Sun Sep 25
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Mad Decent Block Party

Summer is prime time for block parties, but we're guessing the ones on your street won't play host to Kesha, so this one is, admittedly, mad decent. (Actually, the name comes from Diplo's Mad Decent record label.) The touring concert's stop at L.A. Center Studios will also feature Diplo, Henrik the Artist, Tropkillaz and more.

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Until Sat Oct 1

Dirtybird Campout

Local house label Dirtybird hosts this eclectic campout in an Orange County hillside. Imprint leader Claude VonStroke takes on the role of head counselor for the summer camp-like music fest, with arts and crafts, kickball tournaments, field games and more. Of course, music is key here at the Do Lab-produced festival, with a lineup that so far includes the likes of Machine Drum, Paranoid London and comedian Reggie Watts.

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Until Sun Oct 9
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Beach Goth

Orange County's eclectic Beach Goth fest has turned the corner this year from indie upstart to one of the most legitimately exciting festival lineups in Southern California. Beloved OC natives the Growlers are both headlining and co-presenting the music fest, and the rest of this year's lineup is a doozy: Bon Iver, Justice, Gucci Mane, James Blake, Future Islands, Violent Femmes, TLC, Patti Smith and more.

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Until Sun Oct 23

Escape: Psycho Circus

The San Bernardino rave scene injects itself with a bit of Halloween flair at this annual music fest. Insomniac Events—the group behind EDC and the Wonderland series—is setting up four stages at the NOS Events Center; last year's headliners included the likes of Benny Benassi and DJ Snake. Explore the grounds to find mazes alongside ominous artwork and freak show performers.

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Fri Oct 27 - Sat Oct 28
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Festival Supreme

Tenacious D is back to rock your socks off with another dose of Festival Supreme. The duo has curated a mix of heavy hitters as well as local and cult favorites for a pretty luscious lineup of musical comedy in past years—this year's lineup is still to come.

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Until Sat Oct 29

Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival

It's hard to say where that tongue exercise of a title came from, but urban music mini-fest Camp Flog Gnaw returns for another year at Exposition Park for two days of live tunes, carnival rides, games, food trucks, a skatepark and more. This year's blindingly star-flecked lineup of headliners includes Lil Wayne, Schoolboy Q, A$AP Rocky, Chance the Rapper, Erykah Badu and, of course, Tyler, the Creator. Spring for a VIP ticket for access to a mini golf course, a waffle bar, tons of swag and more.

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Until Sun Nov 13
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Dreamstate

This fledgling fest from industry titans Insomniac tapped Paul van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold for its inaugural celebration of trance. For this year's fest, van Dyk and a slew of others have carried over from the 2015 fest alongside newcomers like Andrew Rayel, Infected Mushroom and Gareth Emery.

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Until Sat Nov 25

Countdown

Ring in the New Year with confetti, pyro and 30,000 of your closest friends. Nearly 30 dance acts invade San Bernardino's NOS Events Center for this year-end fest, which has now expanded to two nights. This year's lineup is yet to come out, but last year's toast to the new year included the likes of Kaskade and DJ Snake.

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Until Sat Dec 31
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Looking for free concerts?

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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By: Michael Juliano

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