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Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Nainoa Shizuru

The best concerts in L.A. this May

Check out our calendar of concerts in L.A. to find out which of your favorite bands are performing here this month

Michael Juliano
Written by
Michael Juliano
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As May arrives in Los Angeles, so too does summer and a season of outdoor concerts. Whether you’re looking for local bands or arena-caliber acts, these are the best concerts in L.A. this May.

RECOMMENDED: See more upcoming concerts in L.A.

Concerts in L.A. in May

  • Music
  • Jazz
  • price 0 of 4
  • Miracle Mile

One of L.A.’s best free live music offerings, Jazz at LACMA has featured legit legends over its three-decade run at the museum. The beloved program is back again for the season, and so too is its open seating and picnicking format (whereas last year you needed a reservation). You’ll find the series on Friday evenings in LACMA’s welcome plaza (just behind Urban Light) starting in April.

  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
  • price 3 of 4
  • West Hollywood

The blues-y Ohio natives return for an arena tour of soulful, crunchy grooves. Hear Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney float through some nifty psych boogies at the Forum, with support from Band of Horses.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • price 2 of 4
  • Desert

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.

  • Music
  • Latin and world
  • price 0 of 4
  • Downtown

See a free salsa concert every second Friday of the summer during this series at LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. This year’s lineup includes Ricardo Lemvo and Makina Loka, TROMBOR, Echo Park Project, La Obsesión and La Verdad.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • price 3 of 4

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. Once you let the neon and bass wash over you, it is the time of your life. This year’s lineup includes KX5 (Kaskade and Deadmau5), Armin van Buuren, Illenium, Chris Lake, Zedd, Eric Prydz, Air2Earth (Porter Robinson), FUTURE RAVE (David Guetta and Morten), Grimes and more.

  • Music
  • price 0 of 4
  • Westside

Hilltop sunset views and rising bands combine to make this Getty tradition a worthy destination for Angelenos on both sides of the 405. Back for the first time since 2019, this year’s lineup of free Saturday night shows includes Zsela (May 21), Bartees Strange (June 18), Los Retros (July 9), Hand Habits (July 23) and Standing on the Corner (Aug 27). Tip: Avoid the traffic and the crowds and arrive early. You’ll get to visit the exhibits (which stay open until 8pm starting in June) and beat the dinner rush.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • price 2 of 4
  • Downtown

Giuseppe Verdi’s 1871 masterpiece returns to the LA Opera stage for the first time in 16 years with a lavish production that features designs from street artist RETNA. The opera (which features a full chorus, orchestra and ballet) tells the story of a tragic romance between secret lovers from rival kingdoms in ancient Egypt. Latonia Moore and Russell Thomas star, Francesca Zambello directs and James Conlon conducts.

  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • price 2 of 4
  • Angeles National Forest

Listen to classical and jazz in a dome more than a mile above L.A. during this mountaintop concert series. The Mount Wilson Observatory is hosting monthly concerts this summer (after an abbreviated version of its season last year) inside the dome of its 100-inch Hooker telescope, which was the largest telescope in the world for much of the first half of the 20th century. The schedule includes Beethoven and Mozart on May 22, chamber music on June 19, jazz on July 17, a brass quintet on August 7, more jazz on September 4 and Bach on October 2. In all cases, you’ll find shows at 3 and 5pm. Tickets cost $50 (that also includes access to the exhibit at the observatory) and it’s highly recommended that you buy them in advance since seating is limited. You’ll need to be able to climb 53 steps to reach the dome, and children under 12 aren’t permitted. 

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  • Music
  • Pop
  • price 2 of 4
  • Griffith Park

A little bit piano ballad a little bit pop-punk, the “driver’s license” singer hits the road in support of her smash album SOUR, with two sure-to-sell-out nights at the Greek Theatre. Tickets go on sale December 10 at 10am.

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • price 3 of 4

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? 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. The 2022 lineup includes Glass Animals, Chet Faker, Purity Ring, Little Simz, GoldLink, Koffee, Big Freedia, Kaytranada, Empress Of, Rexx Life Raj, CHIKA, Jon Hopkins, Black Coffee, Four Tet and more. RECOMMENDED: Check out our full Lightning in a Bottle guide.

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