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A Guide to NorCal Music Festivals 

Wednesday, May 25 2011
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Even in San Francisco, there are so many music festivals that it can be hard to keep them all straight. Start taking into account some of the bigger annual festivals around Northern California, and it's darn near impossible to remember what happens when. To help you get the most live music out of your summer and fall, we've gathered some of the most noteworthy big music gatherings. We've limited this list to multiday outdoor happenings — excluding smaller, but still great events like S.F. Popfest, Mission Creek Music Festival, and SF Weekly's own All Shook Down Festival — to keep it manageable. Here goes:

Harmony Festival
Friday, June 10-Sunday, June 12
Headliners: Flaming Lips, Primus, Michael Franti & Spearhead, G Love and Special Sauce, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals
Expect: Hipster parents
What you'll be drinking: High-percentage zinfandel
Where: Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Sonoma
Tickets: $45 per day, passes $120 and up

Sierra Nevada World Music Festival
Friday, June 17-Sunday, June 19
Performing: Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Ozomatli, Rebelution
Expect: Randomly occurring drum circles
What you'll be drinking: Strong-ass, locally brewed beer
Where: Mendocino County Fairgrounds, Boonville
Tickets: $60-$70 per day, three-day passes $150

Stern Grove Music Festival
Every Sunday, June 19 to Aug. 21
Performing: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, S.F. Symphony, Neko Case, the English Beat, S.F. Opera
Expect: To sit way up in the trees if you don't get there early
What you'll be drinking: Chilled chardonnay (or whatever you bring)
Where: Stern Grove, 19th Ave. (at Sloat), S.F.
Tickets: Free admission, donations requested

High Sierra Music Festival
Thursday, June 30-Sunday, July 3
Performing: My Morning Jacket, Ween, Neko Case, Warren Haynes Band, Yonder Mountain String Band.
Expect: Hippies in their native environment
What you'll be drinking: Clean mountain air
Where: Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds, Quincy
Tickets: $22 for single performances, multiday passes $155-$205

The Fillmore Jazz Festival
Saturday, July 2, and Sunday, July 3
Performing: TBA
Expect: The best in local jazz
What you'll be drinking: Fillmore District history and color
Where: Fillmore between Jackson and Eddy streets, S.F.
Tickets: Free

Outside Lands Music Festival
Friday, Aug. 12-Sunday, Aug. 14
Performing: Muse, Arcade Fire, Phish, the Black Keys, Deadmau5, Girl Talk, Erykah Badu, Big Boi
Expect: The closest thing to Coachella in California's better half
What you'll be drinking: Overpriced Heineken, or boutique wine
Where: Golden Gate Park, S.F.
Tickets: Three-day passes $199.50; sellout likely

Power to the Peaceful Festival
Saturday, Sept. 10-Monday, Sept. 12
Performing: Michael Franti and Spearhead, others TBA
Expect: To be whipped by bouncing dreadlocks
What you'll be drinking: Whatever you can carry in a backpack
Where: Golden Gate Park, S.F.
Tickets: Free

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Music Festival
Friday, Sept. 30-Sunday, Oct. 2
Performing: TBA, but you can count on Emmylou Harris
Expect: Everyone in the world, their kids, their relatives, and their friends' kids and relatives. And their dogs.
What you'll be drinking: Moonshine, if you're in the spirit of the roots/Americana music
Where: Golden Gate Park, S.F.
Tickets: Free

Treasure Island Music Festival
Saturday, Oct. 15-Sunday, Oct. 16
Performing: TBA
Expect: An intimate, indie-leaning festival in a unique setting
What you'll be drinking: Cocktails if you get into the V.I.P. section; light rain if it's like last year
Where: Treasure Island (buses leave from AT&T Park)
Tickets: TBA

About The Author

Ian S. Port

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