To Top

Fest intentions: Music festivals rockin’ the West Coast

Music festivals bring together legions of adoring fans whose collective heart beats faster in anticipation of world-class headliners taking the stage.

Burning Man. (Andrew Jorgensen)

Music festivals bring together legions of adoring fans whose collective heart beats faster in anticipation of world-class headliners taking the stage. When a yearning for unforgettable experiences blends with live performances on this scale, the result is an indelible and harmonic mark on concertgoers’ musical memories. Take a look at the fests rockin’ the West in 2017.


When: April 14–16 and April 21–23, 2017

In a move that caused everyone’s flower crown to collectively wilt, Beyoncé recently decided that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to anchor the middle night of Coachella’s back-to-back weekends while pregnant with twins. Thankfully, fresh from performing at the Super Bowl in Houston, Lady Gaga jumped in. And while there’s sure to be a few fans still upset they won’t get to see Queen Bey, replacing her with the “Poker Face” singer was an incredible save.

The rest of the three-day bill still offers a premier lineup, including Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar, Lorde, Future, Travis Scott, New Order, Dillon Francis and the XX.

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


When: April 28–30, 2017

Cleanup from six completely bonkers days of Coachella will barely be complete when glow sticks give way to cowboy boots, and the twang returns to the desert.

Once again, some of country music’s biggest names will headline each of Stagecoach’s three nights: Dierks Bentley, Shania Twain and Kenny Chesney. But check the smaller font, and that’s where things get really interesting. Living legends Jerry Lee Lewis and Willie Nelson will perform, and fans will also get to see Cyndi Lauper, The Zombies, Los Lobos and others embrace their country side.

And, in the event that anything goes wrong, Kiefer Sutherland (scheduled to perform on Sunday, April 30) will be on hand to save the day.

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

Lightning in a Bottle

When: May 24–29, 2017

It took Lighting in a Bottle (LIB) a few years to find the right home, but it seems as if the nomadic gathering has finally located a perfect site in Monterey County.

Founded and facilitated by the trio of L.A.-based brothers responsible for The Do LaB at Coachella, the “transformational” music festival features peripheral experiences including yoga classes, guest speakers and group meditation – all carefully orchestrated in a green-as-possible environment.

With each passing year, LIB’s list of compelling performers has grown. This year’s lineup continues that tradition, showcasing Kaytranada, Bob Moses, Bonobo, Rüfüs Du Sol, Richie Hawtin, Bassnectar and Jhené Aiko. San Diego representation comes in the form of the B-Side Players and Israel Maldonado.

Lake San Antonio Recreation Area – North Shore , 2091 New Pleyto Rd., Bradley,


When: May 26–28, 2017

Set in the heart of wine country over Memorial Day weekend, this three-day festival is billed as the “first taste of summer.” While the region’s best wine and culinary offerings contribute to the draw, the main attraction here is the roster of headliners, which includes Maroon 5, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and Foo Fighters.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, The Roots, Ben Harper, Modest Mouse and Fitz & the Tantrums are also among the 80-some acts scheduled to play. Some of San Diego’s best and brightest will also be on hand, namely Andra Day, Little Hurricane, Hirie and the Redwoods Revue.

575 3rd St., Napa,

Bottlerock 2015. (Courtesy photo)

California Roots

When: May 26–28, 2017

The Expendables perform on The Weedmaps stage at California Roots Music and Arts Festival on May 27, 2016. in Monterey.

It has to be tough going up against two other major festivals (Lightning in a Bottle and Bottlerock) in the same general region on the same weekend. Time will tell if they fall so close to each other next year.

Presented as “a movement” versus a music festival, California Roots is based on a foundation of reggae and roots, expanding beyond that realm with hip-hop and downtempo acts. So, while Rebelution, Soja, Iration, Yellowman, the Easy Star All Stars and San Diego’s own Tribal Theory will take the lead this year, acts like Nas, Jurassic 5 and Thievery Corporation will be on hand to broaden the festival’s already all-inclusive vibe.

Monterey County Fairgrounds, 2004 Fairground Rd., Monterey,

California Roots 2015. (Josue Rivas)

Outside Lands

Aug. 11–13, 2017

2017 marks the 10th anniversary of this three-day festival held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Featuring solar-powered stages, a recycling program, refillable water stations and workshops that educate attendees on organic food and farming, this Bay Area music and arts festival aims to be as eco-friendly and green as possible. Last year’s diverse roster of performers included Radiohead, Lana del Rey, Ryan Adams, Major Lazer, LCD Soundsystem, Chance The Rapper and the first-ever festival performance from The Muppets’ Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem. (This year’s lineup was not released before press time.)

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco,

Burning Man

Aug. 27–Sept. 4, 2017

Not a music festival per se, this event is a citizen-created, art-filled temporary city that exists for nine days and culminates with the ritual burning of a gigantic wooden effigy. What started as a few friends celebrating the summer solstice on a beach in 1986 has steadily grown into a cultural phenomenon that drew 70,000 participants to the desert last year. And while there are musical acts that do play during the decades-old gathering, the focus continues to be on the art of the event. 2017 attendees are being asked to create interactive rites, processions, elaborate images, shines, temples and visions that fall under this year’s theme of “radical ritual.”   

Black Rock Desert, Nevada,



When: July 21–23, 2017

Boom. And just like that — FYF is all grown up. Founded in 2004, the one-time acronym-less “F–k Yeah Fest” has expanded into three days. Held in L.A.’s Exposition Park since 2009, the annual music-centric festival started as a one-day event across multiple L.A. venues and a record store. But FYF has turned into a juggernaut of its own, with a yearly line-up reveal that’s as highly anticipated as any of its counterparts across the country. This year’s recently-announced roster is arguably FYF’s best ever, with acts like Nine Inch Nails, Missy Elliot, Björk, Frank Ocean, Iggy Pop, A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, Solange, and Run The Jewels scheduled to perform. 

Exposition Park, 700 Exposition Exposition Park Dr., Los Angeles,


When: Sept. 8–10, 2017

Tucked along a beautiful stretch of the Pacific, Doheny State Beach has served as a prime festival spot for decades. The annual blues festival held at the scenic locale turns 20 this year, and the long-running Doheny Days Festival hosted bands including Jane’s Addiction, Weezer and The Flaming Lips over the years.

Ohana, which has grown since its inception, now runs for three days, raises money and awareness for coastal parks and has pulled out a lot of the stops in its bookings. This year’s 24-band lineup boasts big names including Eddie Vedder, Jack Johnson, Social Distortion, Fiona Apple, The Pixies and TV on the Radio.

Doheny State Beach, 25300 Dana Point Harbor Dr., Dana Point, 

Pixies lead singer Frank Black (center) and bassist Paz Lenchantin. (Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)



When: Sept. 15–17, 2017

It’s baaaaaaack. And it’s bigger than ever. Last year, the music, comedy, art and food fest in San Diego’s backyard doubled down on its 2015 debut with a lineup that included Aerosmith, The Chainsmokers, Fall Out Boy, Lenny Kravitz and Cypress Hill. Now, this annual festival-on-the-rise continues its upward trajectory with headlining performances by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Muse. Weezer, Jane’s Addiction, Ice Cube, Logic, David Guetta, Garbage and Kesha will help to round out the 70-plus band roster. Read the full music lineup here.

Recent San Diego Music Award winner Trouble in the Wind will also be on-hand to represent Carlsbad, and there will even be a set by 15-time NBA All-Star Shaquille O’Neal. Look for KAABOO’s stand-up comedy lineup to be revealed soon.

Del Mar Racetrack & Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd., Del Mar,


Fall 2017

Although the lineup won’t likely drop until summer, set aside a few weekends in late September/early October for the fall version of CRSSD Fest. In jut a few years, this bi-annual festival at Waterfront Park has become a premier EDM destination, attracting some of the biggest DJs and producers on the globe. In March, CRSSD’s spring edition featured Flume, Marian Hill, Bob Moses, Claude Von Stroke, Alunageorge and more. Their year-closer should be even better.

Waterfront Park, 1600 Pacific Highway, San Diego,

3/14/15 CRSSD Fest Day 1 (Arlene Ibarra)



Dec. 29–31, 2017

SnowGlobe is the “coolest” of the region’s annual music festivals. Taking place on the Lake Tahoe Community College field, the three-day experience trades warm weather and flip-flops for fresh powder and snow boots, combining skiing and snowboarding with live music and a New Year’s Eve celebration. Last year’s lineup included The Chainsmokers, Flume, Odesza, Marian Hill, RL Grime, Rüfüs Du Sol and Major Lazer. (This year’s lineup was not released before press time.)

Lake Tahoe Community College, 1 College Way, S. Lake Tahoe,

Snowglobe 2016. (Andrew Jorgensen)

More in Music

Life's cool.

Current issue + archives

Enter email, receive cool stuff.

Copyright © 2016 Pacific San Diego Magazine. All rights reserved. A part of the tronc network.