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Friday, April 24, 2009

Eight Music Festivals To Check Out This Spring/Summer

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2009 at 2:23 PM


So you missed Coachella and now you're jonesing for that festival experience. Don't worry -- festival season has only just begun, and there are options aplenty in our city, state and beyond. Here's a sampling of what we have to look forward to.

1. High Sierra Music Festival, July 2-5, Quincy, CA
Planted firmly in the scenic Sierra Mountains for 18 years, High Sierra features a diverse range of artists, including DeVotchKa, The Wailers, Ani DiFranco, Leftover Salmon, and Vieux Farka Toure. In addition to its genre-spanning music, High Sierra is known for its intimate artist playshops and raging drug-fueled late-night shows that last until 3 a.m.

2. Joshua Tree Music Festival, May 15-17, Joshua Tree, CA
The 7th annual Joshua Tree fest wins the award for hottest venue. With an average high of 94 degrees in May, anyone who ventures here is advised to bring boatloads of water and sunscreen. This year's lineup contains plenty of local favorites like Rupa and the April Fishes, Medicine Drum, the Monophonics, Bhi Bhiman, and the Coup.

3. Doheney Blues Festival, May 16-17, Dana Point, CA
This Orange County mainstay may be a trek for us Bay Area folk, but the blues here can't be beat. If you enjoy a little bit of soul in your music, there's no excuse to miss the festival this year. Headliners include B.B King, Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Derek Trucks Band, and Keb' Mo'.

4. Harmony Festival, June 12-14, Santa Rosa, CA
With a tagline of "Music-Art-Ecology-Healthy Living-Spirituality...From the Roots On Up", Harmony is unabashedly geared towards the hippie set. Even if that's not your thing, many of the festival's artists and bands (Michael Franti and Spearhead, Matisyahu, Balkan Beat Box, India.Arie) have a way of transcending musical boundaries.

5. Stern Grove Festival, June 15-August 17, San Francisco, CA

For those of us who prefer to stay within the city walls, the Stern Grove Festival provides free music at the Sigmund Stern Recreation Grove all summer long. This year's lineup won't be announced until May 1, but last year saw artists like Booker T. Jones, the San Francisco Symphony, Rachid Taha, and Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 come to the stage.

6. Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 18-21, Telluride, CO

OK, so this festival is a bit of a hike to get to. But the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival rewards the trip with seemingly never-ending music on the main stage, jam sessions, intimate sessions, and Nightgrass concerts around town from bands and artists including Elvis Costello, David Byrne, Jenny Lewis, Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck and Toumani Diabete, and Crooked Still.

7. Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, June 19-21, Boonville, CA

This festival bills itself as a venue for "conscious music". In other words, it's the place to be for lots and lots of reggae. This year's lineup includes Anthony B., Easy Star All-Stars, Gregory Isaacs, and The Heptones.

8. Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, August 28-30, San Francisco, CA
You knew we had to include this, right? Outside Lands may lose points for noise pollution and disrupting public transportation, but it's hard to argue with Pearl Jam, the Beastie Boys, M.I.A, Thievery Corporation, The Mars Volta, Atmosphere, TV on the Radio, etc. Even if you don't make it to all three days, at least one day of quality music and trying to figure out how to escape the mess of people at the end might be worth it.

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Ariel Schwartz


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