Summer music festivals near L.A.
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. 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 Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande atop its bill.
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 Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean. Expect the usual mix of contemporary and classic country.
After years on the Central Coast, the annual event has made a move significantly closer to L.A., at Bakersfield’s Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area. Sure, it’s still a bit of a trek, 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 Disclosure, Big Gigantic, Flying Lotus and Santigold topping the 2019 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.
On the outskirts of town at the Motor Speedway, Electric Daisy Carnival is pure, condensed Vegas. There is a VIP Ferris wheel. Helicopters shuttle in high rollers. The 135,000-strong crowd is soaked in ecstasy and spray tan. Every millionaire DJ that plays the laser-riddled nightclubs on the Strip is here. EDC introduced EDM as a Day-Glo spectacle for the masses in America, and its lineups in recent years have certainly lived up to the hype: Diplo, Martin Garrix, Alison Wonderland, Deadmau5 and more are all set to perform this year. Once you let the neon and bass wash over you, it is the time of your life.
As a throwback to the gasoline genrator-fueled desert parties in the early ’90s, this on-the-down-low offshoot of Desert Generator is celebrating stoner rock and the desert music scene with a two-day campout. The event kicks off at Pappy & Harriet’s with sets from Melvins, Fu Manchu and Brant Bjork, co-founder of seminal stoner rock band Kyuss. Then the action moves into the Mojave for a show with Black Mountain, Acid King, Mark Lanegan and more. Details are hush-hush; we just know it’s somewhere near Joshua Tree.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.