THE CALIFORNIA FESTIVAL GUIDE
written by Bailee Williams
If you’ve never been a music festival before, take out your bucket list and add it to the top! Festivals are a great way to see many of your favorite artists over the course of a whole weekend! Don’t let the steep ticket prices deter you from experiencing the amazing music and unique atmospheres with your friends because it’s so worth it! There are plenty of festivals around California that range in price, music and environment! Hopefully, this insider’s guide to the biggest CA festivals helps you find one that you’ll have the best time at!
1. Coachella ($429 pp for 3-Day)
SoCal’s biggest festival brings the glitz and glam of L.A. to the desert with some of the biggest names in music. Each year, the lineup spans a variety of genres, making this music festival inviting to all! Art installations, craft beer and amazing food will keep you busy between sets! It WILL be hot, so dress accordingly, stay hydrated and bring a small fan to cool you down throughout the day. If you don’t like feeling the sweat from the person dancing next to you, this festival isn’t for you because the crowds get pretty packed considering 99,000 people attend each day! Hotel rooms and house rentals can get really pricey, so save your money and camp on site! Not only is camping cheaper, but way more fun!
2. Snowglobe ($160 pp for 3-Day)
This small EDM festival is tucked away in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in South Lake Tahoe. This three-day festival ends on New Year’s Eve, allowing you to ring in the New Year with your best friends, the biggest EDM headliners and lots and lots of fireworks! The unusual venue entices all your senses! The lights dance off the trees, the crisp mountain air refreshes your lungs and the vivacious bass infects your entire body and keeps you dancing all night! This festival is really cold, so break out the ski jackets and fur coats and definitely don’t forget the hand warmers!
3. HARD Summer ($129 pp for 2-Day)
The EDM/hip-hop festival is packed with stellar performances and bumping DJ sets! The venue has changed five times over the festival’s ten years and has finally found its home at the Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino. The new, spacious venue made it possible for festival goers to explore six different stages! This past year’s lineup was stacked with artists from Snoop Dog to Zeds Dead with special guests like E-40 and Hotel Garuda. There’s no doubt that next year’s HARD Summer will be one to watch for!
4. Air + Style ($149 for 2-Day)
Olympic gold medalist Shaun White hosts this unique festival that combines the excitement of snowboarding and the thrill of live music with some of the biggest snowboarders in the world performing gravity-defying tricks all from the heart of L.A. Two stages alternate DJs and musicians throughout the weekend with snowboarding runs in between. Investing in a waterproof jacket would be wise as it almost always seems to rain every year during this festival.
5. CRSSD ($160 for 2-Day)
This two-day EDM festival gets you out of the hustle and bustle of L.A. and into chill vibes of San Diego. CRSSD happens twice a year (Spring and Fall), with three stages dispersed across the Waterfront Park right in the heart of downtown with oceanic views and lush grass to sit on during each set. House and techno music take over the airwaves as you move and groove all day long. This festival is 21+ and offers its attendees the widest range of craft brews, cocktails and the best $16 margarita I’ve ever had. To any smokers, one big rule of this festival is that the venue is non-smoking, so I found that I had to keep buying drinks to keep myself busy (which got EXPENSIVE). Overall, the atmosphere is great and the lineups get more and more impressive each time!
~A Little About Insomniac~ There’s a huge difference between music festivals and raves. Where music festivals celebrate all genres of music, raves heavily revolve around electronic dance music. Insomniac is one of the biggest EDM music festival production companies in the world. It is responsible for some of the biggest raves all over the country such as EDC Las Vegas and Electric Forest. What I love about Insomniac is the amount of effort they put into the overall production of each event, immersing their attendees in a completely different environment. People can roam the intricately decorated grounds and bounce around to the different themed stages hearing anything from house to trance to dubstep to drum and bass. These raves evoke a bigger sense of community where there is no judgment and nothing but good vibes and love are felt during the entire event. Insomniac always provides unparalleled sound quality, pumping out body vibrating beats that keep booties shaking and feet shuffling. They also hold their two-day events on Fridays and Saturdays, making it easier to recover before you have to go back to reality on Monday.
6. Beyond Wonderland ($149 for 2-Day)
This rave is typically held at the National Orange Show Event Center in San Bernardino during the springtime. An imaginative theme usually transforms the grounds and six stages into another world as little lights give life to all the surrounding trees, actors in character wander through the crowds and the diverse lineup provide the perfect soundtrack to such a whimsical sight.
7. Nocturnal Wonderland ($129 for 2-Day)
The sister festival to Beyond Wonderland is held in the fall at the Glen Helen Amphitheater. Contrary to HARD Summer, Nocturnal Wonderland transforms the entire venue! Ornaments dangle from every single branch, lights and lasers ricochet off the nearby mountains. The BEST part about this rave is that you can camp there! The campers can set up their tents under the shade of the big trees and can expect to be entertained with activities throughout the weekend like tie-dyeing t-shirts, dance contests and even a silent disco!
8. Escape ($189 for 2-Day)
Insomniac’s Halloween rave is the best way to celebrate the spooky holiday and show off your best costumes! The NOS Event Center is converted once again into an eerie ambiance filled with monsters and clowns and terrifying mazes! The performances are always scary good and the line up always manages to top itself from the years before!
Consider attending one of these or many of the other festivals across California at least once in your lifetime! Each festival is different and special in their own way, unexpectedly exposing you to new music, new people and new perspectives! Music festivals provide an escape from our mundane, everyday lives and momentarily allows us to come together and clear our minds to focus on what is most important: Music.