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Plan a Trip Around California's Upcoming Music Festivals

Since California is blessed with sunshine year-round, there is a plethora of music festivals to enjoy any month of the year. And sometimes, planning a visit to a music festival is a great excuse to build an entire itinerary to a destination for exploring. The below is just a sampling of upcoming music festivals across the state this summer and fall that are worthy of building an entire trip around and immersing yourself in the destination.

Summer 2022 Music Festivals

Lightning in a Bottle takes place at Buena Vista Lake from May 25-30, and is a unique event experience beyond any ordinary music festival. Instead, this escapade feels like a magical blend of adventure and community connection, creating memories that last a lifetime. Enjoy performances from hit artists like the Glass Animals, Big Wild, Chet Faker and more — as well as yoga and movement classes, art activations, and workshops designed to bring creative minds together.

The inaugural Big Blue Music & Brews Festival takes place in South Lake Tahoe from May 27-29 as a free, 3-day festival featuring live music from over 40 artists across 13 venues from The Beacon to Heavenly Village. Events will highlight the classic beachside experience at The Beacon and TIKI Bar at Tahoe Beach Retreat, panoramic views of Lake Tahoe at Lakeview Commons and various local breweries. Each night will end under the Heavenly Gondola with mountainside views.

Country Summer takes over the Sonoma County Fairgrounds from June 17-19, as Northern California's biggest country music festival and Santa Rosa’s biggest party. While standout performances by A-List country music artists like Kelsea Ballerini, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line and more will take the stage — there is much more to this festival than just great music. While in town, make sure to stop into one of Sonoma’s fabulous restaurants, breweries, wineries or distilleries.

Established in 1986, the Mendocino Music Festival is a magical blend of fine music by outstanding performers and one of the most enchanting sites in Northern California. This year in 2022, the festival takes place from July 9-23, 2022 and includes orchestra concerts, Big Band music, chamber music ensembles, dance, blues, jazz, world, folk, bluegrass and popular contemporary music in venues throughout the historic town of Mendocino.

Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Carmel Bach Festival (CBF) returns for its 85th season this summer from July 14-30. CBF is California’s longest-running summer music festival, carrying on the tradition since 1935 to celebrate the works, inspiration and ongoing influence of Johann Sebastian Bach. CBF team members, three guest conductors and 80 musicians will lead concert-goers on an exhilarating journey covering 500 years of Baroque, classical and crossover music.

The Surf Rodeo in Ventura which takes place from July 15-17 isn’t just a “music festival,” per se. Sure, there are more than 40 bands that will light up musical stages across the beach beside the Ventura Pier covering all genres from rock to reggae and punk to ska. But there are also surfers competing in surf contests — dressed up in fun costumes like vests and cowboy hats (and you never know who they’ll be; 11-time world champ Kelly Slater has shown up), a huge cornhole tournament, the world’s biggest beach bar, mechanical bulls and tasty food.

Outside Lands isn’t just an event — it’s a San Francisco icon. From Aug. 5-8 at Golden Gate Park, attendees can celebrate music, food, wine, beer, art, cannabis and everything that makes the Bay Area special. This year’s lineup includes headliners Post Malone, Green Day and SZA among other talented performers like Weezer, Disclosure and Phoebe Bridgers.

Fall 2022 Music Festivals

BeachLife Ranch is a music festival, born in the South Bay of Los Angeles, that celebrates the cowboy surfer way of life – women, men, children and families who make memories weekend barbecuing and listening to tunes, whether on a ranch or at the beach. This festival is for those of us who grew up in Southern California, but love heading up to central California to spend a few weeks in the countryside. BeachLife Ranch is occurring Sept. 16-18, and is the only major Country and Americana festival on the beach in Southern California.

Paso Robles’ Whale Rock Music Festival at Castoro Cellars from Sept. 17-18 promises attendees an exciting experience for music lovers of all kinds. While in town, check out the Paso Market Walk and Rava Wine & Events — both of which are known for hosting exciting pop-up bands. Those who wish to sip and sing outside festival hours should visit nearby local wineries and breweries like Tooth & Nail Winery and Barrelhouse Brewing Co. which have hot live music lineups ready.

Iconic venues, music that makes anyone want to dance, and complimentary festival shuttles make the Redwood Coast Music Festival from Sept. 29-Oct. 2 a must-visit festival for fall. The variety of music — including jazz, swing, blues, zydeco, rockabilly, swing and country – are set in a diverse array of intimate and spacious venues throughout Eureka. Visitors are invited to explore Eureka's rich artistic culture through music at this event, and experience the region’s iconic redwoods and coastline afterwards.

Located at the iconic Doheny State Beach, Dana Point’s annual Ohana Festival welcomes visitors and locals to end the summer with good music and good vibes. From Sept. 30-Oct. 2., attendees can enjoy performances by more than 35 artists, with a lineup showcasing the best of indie, surfer rock and alternative music. Headliners like Stevie Nicks, Eddie Vedder, Jack White, P!nk and more have taken the stage in the past, in addition to a collection of exhibits and panels with leading conservationists, environmentalists and professional surfers.

From Nov. 18-20, Wonderfront Festival in San Diego will host entertainment on multiple stages and activations spread across the various parks and piers along the Port of San Diego, from the Embarcadero Park up to Broadway Pier. A diverse mix of artists including Zac Brown Band, Gwen Stefani, G-Eazy, Young the Giant, Whethan, Trevor Hall, Hippie Sabotage, and many more will take the stage in seven spots during this 3-day festival that takes over the stunning waterfront of downtown San Diego “where the city meets the sea.”