Festival season is upon us, with “unexcused absences” drawing nigh. This festy season you might be anticipating a new venue or two. Maybe you’re on a budget and can’t afford to go to the mainstream shows that are materializing onto your Instagram feed. Perhaps you didn’t want to contribute to Coachella’s extremely conservative revenue allocation but are still longing for a few nights of music-laden excitement. Whatever your reason may be, here are a few festivals that you should mark as hopeful candidates for either this or next year.
I’ll start the list local since California-based festivals are more practical for the busy and the financially deprived.
The Joshua Tree Music Festival occurs bi-annually with an astronomy theater, yoga, visual arts and an amazing venue. There are both a spring and a fall four-day festival in the Mojave desert. This festival offers a “Healing Oasis;” here, you can find a range of healing practitioners from ayurvedic healers to a certified medical assistant offering B12 injections. If the Healing Oasis isn’t enough to pique your interest, the location should be.
You may have heard of this one; the Dirtybird Campout is an intimate, three-day party campout in Modesto, Calif. The festival’s site description boasts that campers will be able to intermingle with their favorite DJs, as artists don’t hide behind “velvet ropes” at Dirtybird. In case you’re wondering, this festival will comprise of mostly house music DJs. I attended their cookout in Las Vegas two years ago and danced to house beats non-stop for eight hours.
Woogie Weekend in Silverado, Calif. is a three-day festival hosted by the Do-Lab in July. If you’re looking for a new Lightning in a Bottle, this is the festival for you. Woogie Weekend offers the same energy as the Woogie Stage from LIB and is spread out over the course of three days. While the festival provides less activities and lectures than LIB, it is sure to be a more intimate experience. Woogie Weekend attendees claim that this festival definitely gives off the same liveliness as an early Lightning in a Bottle experience.
Just Like Heaven is a festival in Long Beach (May 4); while it’s only a one day festival, its lineup is attractive enough to make the list. The festival features artists such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, MGMT, Passion Pit, Beach House and Neon Indian. This lineup throws me back to 2014’s most popular Indie artists, so if you want to please the dormant indie enthusiast inside of you, head to Just Like Heaven.
Shambala Music Festival in Canada. This festival has a max capacity of 11,000 (think 126,000 for Coachella). This August their lineup includes Troyboi, Zhu, FKJ, Zeds Dead and several other notable artists. The festival is located next to a beautiful river that attendees can swim in throughout the day.
If you aren’t yet sold, take a look at their stage name; for example, in “The Fractal Forest,” you’ll be surrounded by tall trees and the sweet sound of funk music. It’s important to note that this festival is meat and fish free, plus a lot of their drinks are void of milk and their beverages aren’t sold in single-use plastic containers.
Solid Sound Festival is a little more low-key than Shambala with a capacity of around 7,000, but check it out if you’re planning on visiting North Adams, Mass. or neighboring cities this June. The whole festival is hosted by Wilco, who will be playing two sets at the festival. They also offer limited one-day passes for people who can’t make the whole weekend.
I did some e-digging to find these festivals but by no means is it intended to be a comprehensive list. I also didn’t happen to add any hard-core EDM festivals to the list, but you can find those festivals aplenty both in and out of state.
Melody Pezeshkian first reported for News where she covered protests, rallies, and campus productions. She now writes for Artsweek and loves covering niche venues, local concerts, and interviewing independent music companies.