Explore your world
The Black Lips at Trees Stage by Jose Negrete for FYF Fest | © Goldenvoice
The Black Lips at Trees Stage by Jose Negrete for FYF Fest | © Goldenvoice

The Essential Guide to Southern California’s Best Music Festivals

Picture of Juliet Bennett Rylah
Updated: 1 April 2017

Southern California’s nearly always perfect weather dictates outdoor activities. Therefore, it’s no surprise that the region is home to some of the United States’ top music festivals, drawing headliners from all genres, both new and nostalgic. While Coachella may have sold out in just three hours this year, here are eight other festivals to enjoy. 

Dirtybird Campout

Dirtybird is a relatively young festival, only in its third year. It takes place October 6–8, 2017, in scenic Silverado, a former mining boomtown now ideal for communing with nature. Dirtybird is a three-day camping experience that seeks to bring back the nostalgia of the summer camps you might have enjoyed as a child. There will be games (tug-o-war, anyone?), marshmallow roasting, hikes, cookouts, and DJs. Earlybird flash sale tickets hit June 17, 2017, at 10 a.m.

Oak Canyon Park, Haul Road, Silverado, CA, USA

FYF Fest

Founded in 2004, FYF Fest returns July 21–23, 2017, at Exposition Park in Los Angeles, with headliners including Missy Elliott, Bjork, Frank Ocean, Nine Inch Nails, Iggy Pop, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Solange, and many others. Food is available from a variety of favorite local food trucks, and there are usually some cool art installations. Since FYF is in an urban environment instead of the middle of the woods or the desert, guests can take the L.A. Metro there and back.

Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles, CA, USA

Moby at The Club by Anastasia Velicescu for FYF Fest|©Goldenvoice

Moby at The Club by Anastasia Velicescu for FYF Fest | © Goldenvoice

Ohana Festival

Ohana Festival takes place in beautiful Dana Point, a stunning coastal city in Orange County, September 8–10, 2017. Headliners include Social Distortion, Eddie Vedder, Jack Johnson, Pixies, Haim, Fiona Apple, and Ray Lamontagne. In addition to the music, guests may enjoy ocean views, craft beer, wine, creative cocktails, and food from numerous vendors. A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the San Onofre Parks Foundation and the Doheny State Beach Interpretive Association.

Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, CA, USA

Joshua Tree Music Festival

This family-friendly fest will take place May 18–21, 2017, at Joshua Tree National Park. Their diverse lineup includes acts from all over the world, falling into genres ranging from “dance-world-electro-funk’n groove to soulful global-ethno melodies.” Headliners include Kraak & Smaak, Orgone, House of Hamsa, California Honeydrops, Liberation Movement, and Mokoomba. Other activities include workshops on yoga, myth, art and music, and there are also separate activities for children. If you can’t make it in May, there’s another Joshua Tree Music Festival in October.

Joshua Tree Lake Campground, 2601 Sunfair Road, Joshua Tree, CA, USA

Liberation Movement|Photo by @FishMakesPhotos, Courtesy of Joshua Tree Music Festival

Liberation Movement | Photo by @FishMakesPhotos / Courtesy of Joshua Tree Music Festival

When We Were Young

Newcomer When We Were Young is a two-day fest featuring emo, punk, and rock acts, many of them packing some major nostalgia. Headliners include Morrissey, Descendents, AFI, Taking Back Sunday, Alkaline Trio, Cage the Elephant, and Fidlar. The fest takes place April 8–9, 2017, at The Observatory grounds in Santa Ana.

The Observatory, 3503 S Harbor Blvd, Santa Ana, CA, USA

Stagecoach Festival

Stagecoach drops in Indio April 28–30, 2017, right after Coachella clears out. The all-ages fest features country music acts including Shania Twain, Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Travis Tritt, and more. Eighties pop icon Cyndi Lauper and Chicano rock act Los Lobos are also set to perform. An annual BBQ contest is a favorite highlight of the fest.

Empire Polo Club, 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA, USA

Stagecoach in Indio, CA on 29 April, 2016|©Goldenvoice

Stagecoach in Indio, CA on April 29, 2016 | © Goldenvoice


KAABOO is a three-day fest near San Diego encompassing music, comedy, art, and “personal indulgences.” KAABOO strives to be more comfortable and convenient than other fests, promising ample seating and shade, spa services, and tidy restrooms—not portable toilets. Music headliners include the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Muse, Weezer, Jane’s Addiction, David Guetta, Ice Cube, Kesha, Alanis Morissette, and more.

Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA, USA

A pool at KABOO Del Mar|Courtesy of KABOO Del Mar

A pool at KAABOO Del Mar | Courtesy of KAABOO Del Mar

Arroyo Seco Weekend

Arroyo Seco Weekend is a new family-friendly festival coming to Pasadena’s Rose Bowl June 24–25, 2017. Headliners include Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, Weezer, The Shins, Alabama Shakes, and Andrew Bird. Favorite local eateries will provide food, craft beer, wine, and cocktails.

Rose Bowl, 1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena, CA, USA