What are some of the best free music festivals in California?

Searching for the finest California music events in 2023? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because I’ve put together the ultimate guide to California Music Festivals for your bucket list!

There’s arguably no better destination in the U.S.A that can compare to the incredible production, loving communities, unique venues, and star-studded line-ups found at all these festivals in California. Since I was born and raised in Orange County, I’ve had the opportunity to attend several of these events, and they are simply great! From Southern California to the Bay Area, there are festivals of all kinds and sizes covering every musical genre.

So, without further ado…here are my picks for the finest California Music Festivals to keep you dancing, partying, and enjoying life all year!

California Music Festivals 2023

The 35 Best California Music Festivals

1) Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival


Coachella is my personal favorite California Music Festival!!

When : April 14th-16th, 2023 & 21st-23rd, 2023

Where : Empire Polo Club, Indio, California

Coachella is one of California’s oldest and most spectacular music and art events, and it will undoubtedly be a weekend experience to remember. Every year they bring an unbelievably stacked line-up spanning every genre, massively beautiful stage production, incredible food & drink vendors, and a really solid festival atmosphere. Although Coachella has recently gained a reputation for being all about celebs and glamour… It’s still a fantastic celebration!

While I’ve only personally attended twice (in 2014 & 2018), both weekends have been so insanely fun, and I’d recommend it to every music festival addict! Gather your festival crew, look through our music festival camping needs checklist, and get ready for one of the finest weekends of your life!

Tickets sell out very immediately as a favorite among the hundreds of outstanding music festivals in California, so make sure your festival squad prepares early and gets some tickets while you can!

Festival Tip:  Coachella is big, and you will undoubtedly get your steps in/sweat a lot in the desert! Stay hydrated by picking up a  Lunchbox Hydration Pack to keep yourself dancing and partying all weekend long, as well as keep your belongings safe with the anti-theft design.


Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival Lineup 2023

For additional information, join the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival 2023 Facebook Event.

Additionally, check out this Coachella aftermovie for some gorgeous event video!

Coachella 2016: Thank You


2) Outside Lands Music Festival

When : August 11-13, 2022

Where : Golden Gate Park, San Fransisco, California

Outside Lands is Northern California’s largest and greatest music festival, and it’s an event you’ll adore! Although it is one of the more costly events on the list (everything is more expensive in San Francisco), it is well worth the money! The line-ups are always impressively diverse, the production is truly top-notch, and you’ll be blown away when you walk around the venue at night ogling at all the colorful lighting in the trees.

Check out my festival reviews from 2017 & 2018:

  • The Greatest Golden Gate Park Party: Outside Lands Music Festival
  • Top 10 Weekend Highlights at Outside Lands Festival 2018

This annual 3-day California festival is a favorite among San Francisco locals and tourists alike, and there’s arguably no better time to visit SF because there’s so much going on! But, you should book your accommodations in early since the city (particularly hotels around Golden Gate Park) fills up rapidly!

Outside Lands 2021 – Official Recap Video

3) HARD SUMMER Music Festival


Credit: Doug Van Sant

When : July 2023

Where Fontana Speedway near San Bernadino, California

This yearly mega-festival has been a Southern California favorite for over a decade, and it consistently manages to put together a great line-up, fantastic stage production, and overall excellent festival experience.

The team over at HARD Events has been a key player in the growth of the EDM scene in the United States, and fun fact, my first massive rave in the USA was HARD Haunted Mansion back in 2009! Attending one of their events, such as HARD Day of the Dead, Holy Ship, and HARD Red Rocks, will always impress!

Although I haven’t been able to attend this enormous Music Festival California favorite since it relocated, I’ve heard fantastic things from many of my fellow Southern California ravers!

Watch out the incredible after movie from 2021 to get a better idea of how awesome HARD Summer really is!

HARD Summer Music Festival 2021 Official Recap

4) Dirtybird Campout Westcoast 2023

You can never be too old to attend summer camp! Dust off your camping gear and calibrate your compasses, Dirtybird Campout is coming…

When : October 2023

Where : Modesto Reservoir Campgrounds

Dirtybird Campout is unquestionably one of the craziest California festival parties ever! For years, I’ve been a BIG FAN of the Dirtybird Label, and they really go above and beyond to give an outstanding adult summer camp/music festival experience. Dirtybird is known for it’s unique bass house sounds, and it attracts a fun-loving group of people that goes beyond a typical festival experience!


Credit: Helen Perez

To get a better idea of what to anticipate, read my Dirtybird Campout 2016 Festival Review…

“Whether you went to summer camp back in the day, or found yourself at Campout over the last four years, those memories of sun-drenched hours full of outdoor activities, hazy summer afternoons, and sleepless nights under the stars, have fostered an unmatched sense of belonging and an unparalleled community for many. It is because of this family atmosphere that Dirtybird Campout has become one of North America’s most recognized and distinctive festival weekends.”

Dirtybird Campout 2022 | Phase 2 Lineup Video

5) BottleRock Napa Valley


Credit: BottleRock Festival

When : May 26-28, 2023

Where : Napa Valley, Northern California

MUSIC. FOOD. WINE. BREW |  The First Taste of Summer”

Bottle Rock Napa Valley is an annual 3-day music, wine, food, and craft beer event with one of the biggest and most varied lineups delivered to Northern California!

80+ bands on five music stages, celebrity and chef performances on the culinary stage, great sight lines throughout the venue, gourmet food from Napa Valley’s finest chefs and restaurateurs, and dozens of wine cabanas where you can sip, savor, and mingle with your favorite vintners, making every festivalgoer feel like a VIP”

BottleRock Napa Valley 2018 Lineup

6) Day Trip Festival 2023

When:  July 2023

Where : The Lot at Hollywood Park, Los Angeles

Gia Đình Cả Ngày

Insomniac’s brand new Southern California event will feature some of the biggest and brightest names in house music for two days of nonstop enjoyment! Celebrate the return of festival season at a brand new venue with delicious craft cocktails, gourmet food trucks, and iconic Day Trip fishbowls. This is a 21+ event and the ideal way to spend the Fourth of July weekend!

Featuring performers like as Diplo, Artbat, Chromeo, and Justin Martin, this is an event that all you Southern California house aficionados will not want to miss!


7) CRSSD Music Festival

When : March 2023

Where : Waterfront Park, San Diego, California

CRSSD is a two-day festival in downtown San Diego that takes place TWICE a year! They’ve always got a star-studded line-up across three stages, in a beautiful venue, and dozens of after-hours events to choose from after the festival ends. I’ve gone there once and had a fantastic time! It’s one of the greatest music festivals in San Diego and should not be missed if you’re in the area while it’s happening!

Read all about my experience:  Two Days of Sun & Tech at CRSSD Music Festival

“CRSSD will once again take over San Diego’s picturesque Waterfront Park. Grassy lawns, ocean views, an intimate footprint and the dramatic back-drop of San Diego’s county building and the San Diego skyline make this one of America’s most singular festival experiences. CRSSD takes over the city for the weekend during each iteration, with day-time pop-ups and after-parties galore.

CRSSD has established a unique vibe built around Southern California culture and dance music’s underground roots, becoming a destination for music devotés who crave the avant-garde shades of electronic music. Just minutes away from the Amtrak station, CRSSD’s grassy haven is complete with picturesque sunsets, splash friendly fountains, and three waterfront stages. Craft beer, gourmet food vendors, and a comprehensive mixology program are also available at CRSSD. CRSSD is a 21+ event.”


8) Splash House Festival


Credit: Splash House Palm Springs

When : August 2023

Where : Palm Springs, California

If Coachella Pool Parties and Las Vegas Day Clubs had a child…

“Splash House is what you get when you mix up fun-loving people, with some rocking pool parties, and an escape to sunny Palm Springs, California. It’s a small piece of heaven where people make new friends while dancing to the greatest in house, disco, and electronica.

Splash House is held at three hotel resorts between June and August. When you buy a ticket, you receive entry to all three, as well as shuttle service all weekend. If you purchase a hotel package, you will be able to enjoy a room only feet away from the stage as well as access to all three resorts.

By night, we take flight at the Palm Springs Air Museum for our After Hours program – a pair of open air parties back-dropped by vintage aircraft and a glowing airport tarmac. Admission to After Hours is available separately and may be bought with or without a Splash House ticket.”

9) Lightning In a Bottle


Credit: Juliana Bernstein

When : May 24-29, 2023

Where : Buena Vista Lake, Kern County, California

Lightning in a Bottle, sometimes known as “LIB,” is California’s biggest transformative music event. Although it always has a fantastic dance lineup, this spiritually uplifting event has much more to offer. Several of my friends have described it as their best festival they’ve ever attended, and it can really be a life-changing California festival experience.

Go to some workshops, do some yoga, take a refreshing dip in the lake, watch the sunrise, and party like there’s no tomorrow! Some have even described to it as a “little Burning Man,” and it will be an event that will have you going back year after year!

Art, Music, Performance, Sustainability, and Life are all celebrated.

Recap Video for Lightning in a Bottle 2022 (Extended Cut)

10) Nocturnal Wonderland


Credit: Juliana Bernstein

When : September 2023

Where San Manuel Amphitheater is located in San Bernadino, California.

Family. Community. Culture.

Everyone are welcome to attend North America’s longest-running electronic dance music event! A classic favorite among EDM fans, Insomniac’s annual ode to the night brings you multiple stages of the best in dance music and cutting-edge production, as well as hundreds of costumed performers, fireworks and carnival rides. We also provide camping! It’s a wonderful way to broaden your experience and get totally immersed in the Nocturnal community.

Enter a world of sights and sounds as vibrant and unique as those who have come, year after year, to behold its fantastical mysteries. Curious animals of all kinds and sizes move to the vibrations of the night in this location. What fresh experiences await us on our journey? Come along with us and see.”

4 Days of Camping, 3 Nights of Music, Art, Family, and Culture. Good night!

Nocturnal Wonderland 2016 – Thank You, Headliners

11) California Roots Festival

When : May 25-28, 2023 (Memorial Day Weekend)

Where Northern California | Monterey Country Fairgrounds

Including some of the world’s best artists in reggae, rock, folk, and hip-hop!

“California Roots is more than a music event; it’s a movement. It’s a way of life for them. It delivers a cosmic blend of good vibes, true happiness, family, peace, love and joy to all who enter. When Jimi Hendrix torched his guitar at the Monterey Pop Festival in the late ‘60’s, he changed the way an entire generation looked not only at music festivals, but life itself.

California Roots was created from the same pure force—the energy of natural and nonviolent revolt. We realized the euphoria that comes from listening to great music, smiling at people, and dancing with complete strangers; California Roots is about experiencing life to the fullest.”

The 12th Annual California Roots Music & Arts Festival will take place in 2023.

California Roots 2018 – Three-Day Tickets Almost Sold Out!

12) High Sierra Music Festival

When : June 2023

Where : Quincy, CA (Northern California)

“All we adore about the wonderful mountain high music that keeps us singing all year.”

High Sierra Music Festival is one of California’s longest-running festivals, having recently completed its 29th edition in 2019! They deliver a broad range of entertainment, family-friendly enjoyment, and an amazing festival camping experience every year. It’s guaranteed to be a highlight your summer complete with top-notch music, fire-dancers, movement classes, colorful parades, and silent-discos!

The 27th Annual High Sierra Music Festival will take place from June 29 to July 2, 2017!

13) Beyond Wonderland Music Festival 2023


When : March 24-25, 2023

Where : Nos Events Center, San Bernadino, California

Insomniac Events is recognized for organizing some of California’s largest and wildest parties, and Beyond Wonderland is no exception! They always provide a world-class lineup, a stunning stage production, and a PLUR-filled environment! Anticipate spectacular fireworks, outrageous clothes, and pounding bass for an unforgettable weekend!

See what exists Beyond Wonderland on an excursion to the other edge of the forest.”

When day breaks in Wonderland, a curious cast of characters emerges, and fantastical animals of all shapes and sizes run wild. Colors shine brighter, smiles are bigger, and the mysteries of Wonderland are revealed in this world beyond our dreams.”

Beyond Wonderland 2019 Thank You

14) Kaaboo Del Mar Music Festival


Credit: Alive Coverage

When : September 2023

Where San Diego, California’s Del Mar Racetrack & Fairgrounds

“Forget everything you think you know about music festivals. This is a musical encounter. A completely curated three-day sound voyage that combines rock-n-roll music and tastemaking socials into a modern wonderland on the warm shores of the Pacific. Where every detail is crafted for your enjoyment and you bask in world-class music, incredible cuisine, craft libations, comedy acts, contemporary art, dancing and premium amenities. This is your getaway to the ideal weekend. So join us in September in Del Mar, California, as we explore the horizon. “We’ll see you on the other side.”

Also, some exciting news, KAABOO Del Mar will celebrate its sixth festival event with a move to America’s number one ballpark (Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres) and its surrounding venues, featuring a variety of headlining music hitmakers and legends from various genres, and offering an unrivaled level of entertainment throughout the weekend.

KAABOO Del Mar Music Festival 2016 RECAP

15) Joshua Tree Music Festival


Credit: Vivian Lee

When : May 2023

Where : Joshua Tree National Park, California

The desert represents liberty. Music has tremendous power. The importance of community cannot be overstated.

JTMF is a resource-generating force for passionate creation, community development, and arts education for people of all ages. A family-friendly worldwide music adventure in the enchanted Mojave Desert. Committed to radical inclusion, this three day (and four night) funky desert-style festivals create experiences where passion, purpose, family, and friends come together, and the boundary between performer and patron is blurred. The music ranges from a dance-world-electro-funk’n rhythm to deep global-ethno melodies.

Joshua Tree Music Festival promotes personal growth through a variety of multidisciplinary workshops, such as yoga and movement, visual arts, music, and myth. JTMF is one of the most family-friendly festivals in the nation thanks to a full program of Kidsville activities. Magnificent art installations and a world market further inspire, intrigue, and invite festival-goers. Our objective is to create profound social connection, resulting in good life-changing events.”

Joshua Tree Music Festival October 2019!

16) Stagecoach Music Festival


When : April 28-30, 2023

Where : Empire Polo Club, Indio, California

California’s Premier Country Music Festival

If you like country music, there is perhaps no greater event in the world than Stagecoach. It’s held the weekend following Coachella and has all of the same stages and production, so it’s certainly worth checking out. While I haven’t personally attended Stagecoach, I’ve heard from tons of people (who don’t normally listen to Country) that it’s truly an amazing event!

If you like country music, check out our list of the Top 25 Country Music Festivals in the United States!

“The five-day shift from the huge Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival into Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival by the Los Angeles-based Goldenvoice corporation is often stunning to fans who travel to both events.

There are gigantic cowboy boots and a bronze bucking horse instead of the strange and occasionally hallucinogenic installation art of Coachella. The attire morphs from flower crowns and H&M branded fashions to red, white and blue everything – including shirts, pants, bandannas and long flowing sashes bearing the U.S. flag. This event honors both emerging and renowned country music acts and is held at Indio’s Empire Polo Club.”

Further information, announcements, and other details may be found at the Stagecoach California’s Country Music Festival 2022.

Stagecoach 2016: Thank You

17) Groove Cruise West Coast


When:  October 2023

Where : Catalina Island, California

Groove Cruise is truly an experience that you need to attend to understand its pure magic. When people ask me what my favorite music event is, Groove Cruise is the first thing that springs to mind! It’s a nautical rave adventure unlike any other, and the loving “GC Fam” is truly something special. Although there are some fantastic music festival cruises available across the globe, Groove Cruise is the first festival cruise and will provide an unforgettable experience!

I’ve attended three separate GCs, which you can read about below:

  • Groove Cruise LA: More Than a Music Festival… It’s a family gathering.
  • Groove Cruise Is the Perfect Festival Getaway for 11 Reasons
  • Groove Cruise Miami 2019 offers 96 hours of atmospheric bliss.

Groove Cruise Miami 2019 Official Aftermovie

18) Lucidity Festival


One of the most distinctive California Festivals on our list is Lucidity!

When : April 7-9, 2023

Where : Live Oak Campground, Santa Barbara

Sound baths, acro yoga, dance workshops, fire breathers, circus performers, food vendors, fashion stalls, blacklight tea parties, cacao ceremonies, art galleries, epic DJs, live bands, crazy costumes, and an incredible amount of Oxytocin filled hugging. I had an incredible magical experience at Lucidity Festival and believe that the world would be a better place if everyone went at least once in their lives.

It is, without a doubt, one of the most distinctive, colorful, and intimate community-oriented camping events I’ve ever visited!

Check out my experience in this review article: Rising Dawn Ludicity Festival | Top 12 Festival Highlights! I, unfortunately, I couldn’t make it back for the 2019 edition since I was traveling through Spain, but I’m really hoping to make a return for 2020!

Awaken to Lucidity: The Official Documentary of the Lucidity Festival

19) Northern Nights Music Festival


Credit: Peter Karas

When : July 16-16, 2023

Where : Cook Valley, California


Northern Nights Music Festival is a three-day festival of music, art, cuisine, and local culture!!

“Our objective is to develop NNMF, centered on enthusiastic support for & a deep grasp of burgeoning underground music sectors AND including sought out producers & DJs from areas throughout the world. Our collaborative goal is to keep NNMF as a premium destination festival that provides a once-in-a-lifetime chance to completely immerse oneself in a uniquely Californian experience. The lighting, sound, and stage production for the stages are the result of a partnership between the Bay Area’s best production firms and seasoned local talent. Adding to top-notch music talent, NNMF proudly features local & global arts and crafts, a collection of regional craft brews & wines, a mindful space for yoga and meditation, organic food offerings, and local non-for-profit vendors.”


Cook’s Valley Campground is a festival site unlike any other. It’s an uncommon find.

“The event grounds contain deep swimming holes, the biggest Redwood forest utilized for camping, and lots of room to spread out. Northern Nights Music Festival is a one-of-a-kind and secure camping experience for both first-timers and seasoned campers. Our collective hope is to sustain NNMF as a premiere destination festival that offers a unique opportunity to fully embrace a truly Californian experience.”

For additional information, tickets, and other details, visit the Northern Nights Music Festival 2023 Facebook Event.

Northern Nights Music Festival 2019 | Aftermovie

20) Desert Hearts Music Festival


Desert Hearts is for the craziest California festival addicts! Eric Allen is the photographer.

When : May 5-8, 2023

Where : Lake Perris, California

The Desert Hearts Crew have been taking the U.S by storm the past few years, and throwing wild parties around the entire country (as well as hosting stages at tons of other festivals). But to properly comprehend their craziness, you must attend their own Desert Hearts Festival!

House, Techno, & Love…We Are All Desert Hearts.    Infinite love and nonstop beats.

Check out this epic review titled “Desert Hearts is a Stimulating and Vibrant Marathon of Music, Love, and Rave” to learn more! If you like techno and pleasant vibes, this will be your new favorite event!

With strong heavyweights like Skream, Claude Von Stroke, Dusky, Justin Martin, Derrick Carter b2b Mark Farina, Tiga, and so many more, 2023 is likely to be their largest line-up release to date.


Desert Hearts Festival California 2023 Line Up

Desert Hearts Festival – 2023 Announcement

21) Dreamstate Festival

When : November 2023

Where :  San Diego & San Francisco

It’s all trance all the time. You’re not living in reality anymore, you’re living in Dreamstate.

“Envision a world where ethereal beats and timeless melodies abduct you from the everyday and take you to a higher state. Insomniac’s brand-new all-trance event realizes that aim. This music has the capability of connecting, soothing, and healing. It’s time to feel that power as a group. Grab your boarding cards and get ready to fly into Dreamstate.”

Gareth Emery’s Laserface | Dreamstate SoCal 2018 (Full Set LIVE)

22) SnowGlobe Music Festival


Photo: Brian Walker Photography

When : NYE Festival (Future Dates TBA)

Where : South Lake Tahoe, California

“The Chillest Festival Ever, Literally And Figuratively.”

This 3-Day EDM Festival is the winter event of your dreams! Spend your days snowboarding in the beautiful Lake Tahoe mountains, and then party all night to some of the world’s biggest electronic DJ’s!

SnowGlobe (2017) – Highlights

23) West Coast Weekender

When : June 2023

Where : Various Venues around San Diego, California

A weekend of pool parties, pop-up dance workshops, yoga sessions, dance parties, and your favorite DJs on the West Coast.

“A celebration of music, dance, and culture in Southern California, the music conference and festival is blooming right alongside San Diego’s remarkable cultural resurgence. The West Coast Weekender crowd is certainly one-of-a-kind, with roughly half of registrants traveling from out of town. The flood of activity, along with the excitement of the San Diego underground community, generates an infectious, old school spirit from another age.

West Coast Weekender at Lafayette Hotel

24) Wanderlust Squaw Valley


Credit: Melissa Gayle Photography

When : July 2023

Where :  North Lake Tahoe, CA

Wanderlust is not your typical music festival; it is more of a retreat/getaway/vacation with a strong focus on music and community! The few folks I know who have gone say it’s absolutely unique! They also host events ALL around the world, so definitely worth checking out their website and keeping up-to-date with their calendar if you’re into this type of transformational event!

“This Way to True North.

“For 10 years, Wanderlust has gathered teachers, experts, musicians, and creators at stunning resorts for transformational experiences—each unique unto itself. Yogis have expanded their practice, engaged with the community, and achieved life-changing discoveries throughout the previous decade.

Wanderlust events are powered by music. You’ll feel the pulse in the subtle spinning of a brilliant DJ, in the sweet rhythms of our acoustic meditations, and classes accompanied by perfectly paired beats will leave your body awash in energy. Whatever your musical tastes, the musical surprises that await you at Wanderlust will leave you with new favorites for both practice and party.”

25) Escape: Psycho Circus


When :  October 2023

Where : NOS Event Center, San Bernadino, California

“Dark images and jarring noises will startle, fascinate, captivate, and stun. Come inside and escape with us – the Psycho Circus has arrived! Each realm of Escape Halloween offers up a unique musical treat, full of audiovisual trickery to captivate your soul. Prepare yourself for two nights of monstrous beats as we bring you a multi-genre musical experience that will slay you.”

ESCAPE is a major music event produced by Insomniac Events that has been held yearly since 2011. Complete with walk-through mazes themed stages, and costumed performers – this is a Halloween Rave you need to check out at least once!

26) Desert Daze


La Femme performance, Desert Daze 2017

When : July 2023

Where : Moreno Beach,  Lake Perris, California

“Our event called Desert Daze. It’s also your festival. Or it may be.

Over the last decade, an idea became an experiment, an experiment a revision, suddenly a series, a ritual, and then something greater than the sum of its parts. Many individuals are linked together via time, location, and spirit. The inquisitive, persuaded, and hesitant all became witnesses. Witnesses were transformed into tourists. Visitors departed as passengers and returned as passengers with more. The “where” or “what” becomes subordinate to discovery, regardless of how often discovery is required.

Desert Daze has been residing in Lake Perris, 1.5 hours southeast of Los Angeles, since 2018. Featuring a beautiful lake, sandy beach, well-maintained campgrounds with permanent restroom and shower facilities, the grounds also feature tree-lined shade areas throughout, nestled inside an unbroken horizon of mountain ranges. Everyone is welcome to swim and relax on the lake’s edge. Join us for an unforgettable performance and festival experience befitting of our tenth anniversary, whether you come for the day or spend the night.”

Desert Daze 2022: Sunday Highlights

27) Still Dream Campout Festival


When : July 2023

Where : Blue Mountains Event Center, Wilseyville

“Stilldream was created in June of 2000, by a group of like-minded people from the Sierra Foothills, and Sacramento, concerned in the preservation of events of an earthy, personal character, which were becoming more and more uncommon at the time.

A common love for music, community, nature, culture, and consciousness has encouraged us all to unite and give back to the community that has always given us love, inspiration and provided growth. Stilldream has grown from holding modest parties for our friends in a barn to inviting thousands to our events in venues with decades of rich musical heritage in only a few short years.

In its 11 years, Stilldream has gone from us all trying to see where we could take it, to realizing that Stilldream itself has indeed been taking us all on a ride that we could have never imagined eleven years ago. We continue to look forward to the evolution of our events, as well as the many new faces who believe in the dream and help us push it forward every year. We hope you have a pleasant visit!”

28) The Untz Festival


Credit: Jacob Avanzato

When : May 12-14, 2023

Where Brown Valley, California’s Sycamore Ranch Fairgrounds

“The underground bass community will reunite once again in this beautiful mountain community less than an hour from the mouth of Yosemite National Park and just 3 hours east of the Bay Area. The greatest and brightest bass scene up-and-comers will return to Mariposa Fairgrounds!

The Librarian LIVE from The Untz Festival 2022

29) Aftershock Festival


Credit: Aftershock Festival

When : October 2023

Where : Discovery Park, Sacramento, California

Join thousands of rock and roll music lovers for three days of epic tunes, delicious food, and solid vibes in the beautiful Discovery Park! This weekend is sure to be a blast, with one of the most amazing rock festival lineups in all of California!

30) Portola Festival

When : October 2023

Where : Pier 90, San Francisco, California

Goldenvoice (the organization behind Coachella) introduced one of the most varied and distinctive festival lineups to Northern California with a fantastic debut edition in 2022, and I know they’ll be returning bigger and better in 2023.

I was able to attend Portola, and although there were some issues (no mobile coverage, long lines to get into stages, and significant congestion), I would definitely suggest checking out this wonderful new event!

While the venue was nothing too exciting, the music and vibes were truly top notch. I’m fairly certain it’ll become a San Francisco institution for years to come.

Portola Music Festival 2022

31) Ojai Music Festival


When: June 8-11, 2023

Where:  Ojai, California

“Every year open-minded audiences gather in the idyllic Ojai Valley to experience a four-day curated music festival – the only one of its kind. Each Festival’s narrative thread is guided by a different music director, who offers a wildly distinctive style and point of view. These directors are more than just conductors, singers, and musicians. They are musical intellectuals that approach their profession with inventiveness and a sense of duty to today’s music.”

“The Ojai Music Festival has been raising a finely calibrated ruckus each spring since 1947.” – Alex Ross, The New Yorker

“The Ojai Music Festival represents an ideal of adventurous, open-minded and open-hearted programming in the most beautiful and welcoming of settings, with audiences and artists to match its aspirations. As its 75th anniversary approaches, the Festival remains a hallmark for groundbreaking musical experiences with a narrative thread guided by a different music director. These directors are more than just conductors, composers, soloists, and musicians. They are musical intellectuals who approach their profession with imagination and a sense of duty to the present.”

32) Beachlife Festival 2023


When: May 2023

Where:  Redondo Beach, California

“Our purpose is to encourage community, authenticity, and giving through the enjoyment of music, art, and our Southern California beachlife culture.

We were fortunate enough to grow up on the beach in Southern California, surfing, walking around with sand between our toes, partying with friends, and embracing the beach life. Our culture celebrates the power and beauty of the ocean and coastal resources — our waves, wind, smell of sea salt, beaches, sand, and wildlife that call this their home. We will protect this lifestyle at any cost because it is the central theme to our lives, and each day we celebrate the relaxed lifestyle that has grown out of this environment. Therefore, whether it’s in your blood or you’re totally new to it, we invite you to hang out with us, vibe, and enjoy.”

33) Primavera Sound Festival Los Angeles 2023


When: September 2023 (TBC)

Where:  LA Historic Park

Earlier in 2019, European festival juggernaut Primavera Sound announced they’d be premiering in the US in 2020 to celebrate its 20th anniversary! Isn’t that exciting? Regrettably, owing to the worldwide health crisis, Primavera Sound’s American debut has been pushed back until September 2022. (which went off quite well)

Having spending two summers in Barcelona, I know Primavera Sound brings their A-game, and it’s sure to be a Southern California festival favorite.

Destination Primavera Sound Los Angeles

34) Monterey Jazz Festival


Credit: Monterey Jazz Festival California

When: September 22-24, 2023

Where: Monterey County Fairgrounds

“In 2023, the Monterey Jazz Festival will celebrate its 66th year, a significant milestone for the world’s longest-running jazz festival.” Over its long and distinguished history, Monterey Jazz Festival has earned a reputation for paying homage to jazz greats, but also for its focus and passion for new and diverse sounds; 2022 is a reaffirmation of both principles.”


“FNGRS CRSSD has revealed the roster for its newest event, PROPER NYE, a two-day, three-stage event scheduled to ring in the new year in San Diego. On the heels of a sold out Fall edition of CRSSD Festival this past weekend, PROPER NYE brings over 20 of electronic music’s biggest and most in-demand names to Gallagher Square and the field at Petco Park for a dual New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day celebration. The event will have the same cutting-edge, top-tier house and techno curation that the FNGRS CRSSD brand is renowned for.”


36) The All Day I Dream Festival

When : May 11-14, 2023

Where : Oakdale, California

Lee Burridge’s All Day I Dream has caught the imagination and emotions of music fans worldwide over the last decade, giving enchanting daytime events that concentrate on the community as much as the music. In 2022, the consummate emotive party took it to the next level with its first-ever weekend long camping event in the lush surrounds of California’s Woodward Reservoir in Oakdale, California.

Lee Burridge at All Day I dream Festival 2022

California Music Festivals Possibly Returning in 2023

Several festivals have been forced to postpone their dates, or have not provided any information or updated their websites, but we nevertheless wanted to highlight former festivals that may make a huge comeback next year.

Air & Style Festival

When : March (Dates TBA)

Where : Exposition Park, Los Angeles, California

“Air + Style is an international event series that combines live music, action sports, art, and culture.”

See some of the finest snowboarders in the world execute unbelievable stunts, and then listen to some of the best DJs in the world spin spectacular sets! Major Lazer and Flume performed at Air & Style in 2017, and it was an incredible evening! They have events all around the globe, but the one in Los Angeles should not be missed!

Virgin Fest

When: June (Dates TBA)

Where:  Los Angeles, California

VIRGIN FEST HITS L.A. We are hosting one big party, and you are invited to join.

VIRGIN FEST is the music festival of tomorrow, TODAY, with a wide roster of musicians on three stages, mind-blowing technology, and an unshakable dedication to people and earth.

The weekend will merge the outdoor experience of Exposition Park with the convenient accommodations of Banc of California Stadium including shaded areas, comfortable seating (when you want it), standing room floor (when you don’t), climate-controlled flushing bathrooms and hydration stations. And this is simply the beginning.”

Enchanted Forest

When : June (Dates TBA)

Where : Black Oak Ranch, Laytonville, California

The finest music, art, movement, and conscious living event in Northern California!

Enchanted Forest Gathering is a three-day music festival fantasy that includes movement courses, seminars, daily yoga, and some of the world’s biggest independent performers.

“Homegrown in Mendocino county, Northern California, Enchanted Forest Gathering calls to lovers of music, art, movement, dance, community and all things Sacred, Sexy, Silly, and Saucy! In 2011, we sprouted among the redwoods and have settled into our lovely house beneath the oaks at the famed Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville, CA. Our mission is to create events that spark personal development, stimulate community sharing, and reimagine mindful celebration. We envisage a future in which everyone has the ability to completely express their finest and purest selves. The Enchanted Forest Gathering acts as a catalyst for group change.

Whether you come to co-create with us, to be changed, or just to have a good time, we welcome you to the Enchanted Family.


When : October (Dates TBA)

Where : La Jolla Indian Campground, Southern California

San Diego’s official Burning Man regional event

“YOUtopia is a four-day camping and arts regional “burn” that celebrates the Burning Man culture and beliefs.” Burning Man occurs just once a year, but burner culture exists all year. Regional Burning Man events are hosted all around the globe and are based on the Ten Principles, allowing the burner ethos to spread far and wide. YOUtopia is part of a long tradition of bringing the magic of the playa to the rest of the world while also celebrating the vibrant creative and communal elements of San Diego and the surrounding areas.”

Emissions Festival

When : May (Dates TBA)

Where : Belden Town Resort & Lodge, Belden, California

West Coast Bass Culture

“Emissions attempts to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience with a distinct emphasis. A small, restricted capacity that allows for a close-knit ambience. Providing a once-in-a-lifetime chance to genuinely enjoy the music up near and personal. Together with a one-of-a-kind array of new tunes handpicked to complement this distinct outdoor experience. Culminating in 3 full days & nights of uninterrupted satisfying sound with a focus on proper low end representation. ~Come feel the difference~”

It is a celebration of the music and the community surrounding the rich bass culture in [but not limited to] California. It promotes freedom of pleasure and expression for anybody who wishes to participate. Everyone is invited. Without any imposed ideology other than ‘Be here to enjoy yourself and let others to do the same’. Be creative in your approach, create your wonderful experience in your own unique manner, and then share your joy with the festival!”


Serenity Gathering

When : End of April (Dates TBA)

Where : Woodward Reservoir, Oakdale, Northern California

Music / Art / Boating / Yoga / Workshops / Vendors

“A mindful gathering focusing on establishing a pleasant collaborative atmosphere aimed primarily toward art and music.”

Serenity Gathering seems like a gloriously unique event, complete with cacao rituals, full-moon dances, three stages with Funktion 1 sounds, and being surrounded by a genuinely spiritual festival community!


FYF Fest

When : Mid July (Future Festival Dates TBA)

Where :  Exposition Park, Los Angeles

FYF Fest is one of LA’s largest events, taking place smack in the heart of the city. This two-day event brings an amazing line-up, and definitely worth adding to your summer festival list!

“From a traveling party at several locations along Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, FYF has expanded into a world class festival, attracting artists from all over the world and music fans from all over the nation.”



Photo by Foster Snell

When:  July

Where:  Cisco Grove Campground, Truckee, California

“A Personable Camping Experience. Full Moon in the Forest, Over a Mile High over the Yuba River”

An intimate arts and music event that brings the community together to experience world-class musical performers and genuine good times.

Located in the breathtaking Sierras at Cisco Grove campsite, the event offers an amazing backdrop to experience the South Yuba River, hiking, world-class mountain and road riding, towering trees, and starry nights. Guitarfish works in collaboration with non-profits to educate on the challenges of overfishing and water pollution, encouraging water conservation and the preservation of pristine seas and watersheds, with a percentage of revenues going to such causes. Guitarfish seeks to give a path for good change in order to sustain and maintain healthy watersheds, rivers, streams, lakes, and oceans, as well as to protect all living species that rely on them. Gathering to appreciate this huge blue ball we all call home fuels the magic.

Genius Loci (Baja California Festival)

When :  June (Dates TBA)

Where : Punta Cabras, BAJA California (Mexico)

Last, but certainly not least….while it’s not technically in the state of California, Genius Loci is down in BAJA California (so that kinda counts), and I just really wanted to include it in this list! That seems like my sort of event, and I’ve heard from people who have gone before that it’s a genuinely unique experience! If you have the opportunity, you should definitely go!

“The dominating atmosphere, spirit, or character of a place is defined as Genius Loci.” Genius Loci is nestled at a private beach on the sandy plateaus alongside the pacific ocean in Northern Baja. The setting is wonderful!

What to bring to these Music Festivals in California 2023?

I’ve prepared a few of extremely entertaining packing and festival accessory recommendations. Check out a few of my favorite posts below for more info:

  • Top 10 Festival Hydration Packs
  • Top 10 Festival Fanny Packs
  • The 12 Greatest Festival Gadgets to Improve Your Attendance
  • 44 Festival Accessories, Must-Haves & Essentials
  • 12 Incredible Festival Gadgets to Improve Your Festival Experience
  • The 10 Best Festival Shoes in 2020
  • 14 Perfect Gift Ideas for Music Festival Lovers
  • Accessories, Clothes, and Outfit Essentials for Burning Man
  • The 10 Best Burning Man Goggles


Am I Missing Any Epic California Music Festivals 2023…?

While I’m sure there are tons more for all different genres of music, I’m pretty these are all the biggest and best music festivals and events in California. I hope you found this essay inspiring, and I hope to see you at one of these music events throughout the year. I’m always flying back to California for different events, and there’s a good chance you’ll see me dressed in a crazy outfit, taking photos of all the beautiful people who attend these different festivals.


Looking for music festivals around the world…?

My website is chock-full of articles on the top music festivals in the globe, so peruse some of the items below – and start planning!

  • Top 50 Music Festivals in the USA
  • The 30 Greatest European Music Festivals to Attend Before You Die
  • Top 20 EDM Festivals in the USA
  • The 25 Best Music Festivals in Asia
  • Top 20 Canadian Music Festivals to Attend Before You Die
  • 30 Australian Music Festivals to Attend Before You Die
  • 10 Washington Music Festivals to Attend Before You Die
  • Top 10 Colorado Music Festivals to Attend Before You Die
  • The 25 Best Music Festivals in Florida
  • The 25 Best Music Festivals in Texas
  • The Top 25 Arizona Music Festivals to Attend Before You Die


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