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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

Coachella 2016 weekend 1; day 2
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
By Michael Juliano |
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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

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

Joshua Tree Music Festival

icon-location-pin Joshua Tree Lake Campground, Beyond L.A.
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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, minimal service charges on tickets and yoga classes aplenty.

Splash House
Photograph: Courtesy Nikki Jahanforouz
Clubs

SPLASH HOUSE Palm Springs Pool + Music Weekend

icon-location-pin Various locations in L.A., Los Angeles
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Say goodbye to dusty thoroughfares and violent porta-potties: Splash House takes the music festival concept off of sweltering desert land and places it poolside. Movers and shakers at this multi-location getdown are shuttled between the Renaissance, the Riviera Resort and the Saguaro to lap up big-name dance acts and DJ sets.

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Lykke Li at the Apollo Theater
Photograph: Michael J. Chen
Music, Music festivals

Yola Fest

icon-location-pin Los Angeles State Historic Park, Downtown
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For the inaugural fest, Swedish singer-songwriter Lykke Li has assembled an all-female lineup of musicians that ranks among this summer’s best festival lineups. In addition to Lykke Li, Charli XCX, Courtney Love and the Chateau Band, Cat Power, CupcakKe, Megan Thee Stallion and Ambar Lucid have all been tapped to play the single-day fest at Los Angeles State Historic Park.

Snoop Dogg
Photograph: Courtesy Josh Telles
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Once Upon a Time in the LBC

icon-location-pin Queen Mary, Long Beach
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Once upon a time in a city so divine, dozens of West Coast hip-hop legends came together for a one-day fest at the Queen Mary. The inaugural Once Upon a Time in the LBC draws heavily from the generations of talent that have emerged from Long Beach and Compton, including headliners Snoop Dogg, YG and the Game (who’ll be performing The Documentary).

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Music, Music venues

Hard Summer

icon-location-pin Auto Club Speedway, Inland Empire
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Though locally born EDM juggernaut HARD Summer has hopped around Southern California in recent years, its dedication to bringing the biggest names in the hip-hop and electronic scene. Kid Cudi, Major Lazer, RL Grime, Dillon Francis, Alison Wonderland top the lineup, with a slew of high-profile back-to-back performances: Excision and Nghtmre, Flosstradamus and 4B, and Zhu and Tchami, among them.

Echo Park Rising
Photograph: Kate Wertheimer
Music, Music festivals

Echo Park Rising

icon-location-pin Various locations in L.A., Los Angeles
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Celebrate L.A.’s burgeoning Eastside with a free music festival—what’s not to like? Echo Park Rising is back for its eighth year with over 100 handpicked local up-and-coming bands, comedians, film screenings and more. With venues ranging from the Echo and Stories Books & Cafe to Button Mash and the parking lot of TAIX French Restaurant, as well as various special discounts and sales at local businesses, this is always a neighborhood affair not to be missed.

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PYMCA
Music, Rock and indie

Pasadena Daydream

icon-location-pin Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena
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Too bad Goldenvoice just used the Just Like Heaven moniker because the promoter has another nostalgic fest lined up, and this one actually involves the Cure. Pasadena Daydream, a single-day concert curated by and featuring the Cure, will take over Brookside at the Rose Bowl. The spectacularly moody lineup also features Pixies, Deftones, Mogwai, Throwing Muses, the Joy Formidable, Chelsea Wolfe, the Twilight Sad, Emma Ruth Rundle and Kælan Mikla.

Kaaboo
Photograph: Courtesy Kaaboo
Music, Music festivals

Kaaboo

icon-location-pin Del Mar Fairgrounds, San Diego
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Kaaboo is returning to the Del Mar Racetrack and Fairgrounds with another eclectic lineup of adult alternative favorites—including Kings of Leon, Dave Matthews Band, Mumford & Sons and Duran Duran. The “mix-perience” (yep) comes with clean amenities, artisanal cuisine, fashion pop-ups and local artwork. Views of the main music stage can be enjoyed from a variety of vantage points: on a chaise lounge, in a pool, on a volleyball court or inside a premium cabana.

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Life is Beautiful
Photograph: Courtesy Life is Beautiful
Music, Music festivals

Life is Beautiful

icon-location-pin Location T.B.A., Los Angeles
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Bask in the glow of the blinking Las Vegas lights during this beautiful mess of a music festival. Eighteen city blocks become a playground for music lovers of all types at the genre-spanning Life is Beautiful. Embrace all of the things that are both wonderful and awful about Vegas trips and you’ll be rewarded with a fantastic lineup; the 2019 iteration includes Post Malone, Chance the Rapper, the Black Keys, Billie Eilish, Vampire Weekend, Zedd, Lil Wayne, Janelle Monae and more.

Ohana Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Ohana Festival
Music, Music festivals

Ohana Festival

icon-location-pin Doheny State Beach, Orange County
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Eddie Vedder’s Ohana Festival once again lands at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point, with sets from the Strokes, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tash Sultana, Incubus, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and Vedder himself. The fest’s name 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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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.

More to explore

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