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Outside Lands 2017
Photograph: Andrew JorgensenOutside Lands 2017

Best summer music festivals in San Francisco

Grab a jacket and pack a picnic for the best outdoor music festivals in San Francisco.

Written by
Sarah Medina

Summer is coming, and that means that festival season is here. To gear you up for six months of fun, sun, food trucks and live music, we’ve put together your ultimate music festival guide for the San Francisco Bay Area. If you’re looking for musical mayhem in a field (or most likely Golden Gate Park) this summer, we’ve got you covered. 

RECOMMENDED: Dance the night away at the best nightclubs in San Francisco

Music festivals in San Francisco

BottleRock Napa Valley
Photograph: Courtesy BottleRock

1. BottleRock Napa Valley

May 25–27

BottleRock returns to wine country this May with a dreamy lineup of acts you definitely want to see live. Napa Valley Expo’s headliners include Bruno Mars, the Killers and Muse, but the star power doesn’t stop there: The Chainsmokers, Snoop Dogg, Incubus, Billy Idol, E-40, Earth, Wind & Fire, and dozens of other musicians take the stage, too. Art, wine and beer round out three days of indulgence.

June 30, July 1

Spend the weekend at this festival, mingling with your neighbors in the heart of San Francisco. From sunup to sundown, groovers and shakers can visit multiple stages for live music, browse 12 blocks of art and crafts, and enjoy gourmet food and beverages. This year, more than 100,000 people are expected to descend on the West Coast’s largest free jazz fest.


June 5–17

This annual event kicks off its 36th year with a free outdoor concert at PROXY in Hayes Valley. Just a few blocks from the SFJAZZ Center, the five-hour party includes live performances from Bay Area artists such as Howard Wiley & Extra Nappy and Beso Negro, as well as food trucks and a beer garden. The block party marks the beginning of nearly two weeks of amazing shows from the likes of Ahmad Jamal, Monsieur Periné, Irma Thomas and Sérgio Mendes.

  • Music
  • Music venues
  • Parkside

June 17–Aug 19

Nestled in the middle of a eucalyptus forest, this Golden Gate Park meadow transforms into a secluded concert venue every summer. The 81st Stern Grove season commences with the Big Picnic, a combination fund-raiser, party and catered lunch. Later in the evening, you can stroll over with your own spread to lap up the sun amid performances by R&B legends Jeffrey Osborne and Peabo Bryson. The concerts continue through the season with appearances from the San Francisco Symphony, SF Ballet and popular musicians (Rufus Wainwright and Stevie Wonder have headlined in the past).

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass
All photographs: Virginia Mae Rollison

5. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Oct 5–7

Gifted to the city by the late, great Warren Hellman and held in a corner of Golden Gate Park that now bears his name, the free three-day music fest returns this fall with an eye-crossing number of acts. Food vendors will be on-hand to keep you nourished, but note that the event is strictly BYOB.

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