What to Expect at the Bay Area's Top Summer Music Festivals


The music festival gods look kindly upon San Francisco year-round, but the summer schedule overflows with outdoor music celebrations. The list below is by no means comprehensive — these are the heavy-hitters — and it’s still another reminder that Bay Area live music junkies are likely the most spoiled lot in the world.

BottleRock Napa Valley

Date: May 30-June 1

Location: Napa Valley Exposition

Lineup highlights: Outkast, The Cure, Eric Church, Weezer, TV on the Radio, LL Cool J

Extras: Did you miss Outkast’s reunion at Coachella? Who cares! The band’s reunion tour continues apace at BottleRock’s second installment. Fifty-nine (59!) other bands share the bill at this scaled-down, but still-ambitious three-day festival. And wine. You can bet there will be wine for days.


Date: June 1

Location: Shoreline Amphitheater, Mountain View

Lineup highlights: Foster the People, M.I.A., Fitz and The Tantrums, Phantogram

Extras: Props to BFD for repping and featuring local bands on a stage they can call their own. This year’s local selection includes the following San Francisco buzz bands on the rise: Waters, the Hundred Days, and French Cassettes.

Stern Grove Festival

Dates: Sundays from June 22-August 24

Location: Stern Grove

Lineup highlights: Smokey Robinson (June 22), Allen Stone (June 29), SF Symphony (July 6), Andrew Bird and the Hands of Glory (Aug. 3).

Extras: This longstanding San Francisco tradition enters its 77th year, and while the lineups and curatorial preferences have changed over the years, one thing has not: free price of admission.

Fillmore Jazz Festival

Date: July 5-6

Location: Fillmore St. 

Lineup: TBD

Extras: More street fair than festival-in-the-park, the Fillmore Jazz Festival claims the status of largest free jazz festival on the West Coast. Spend one or two days soaking in some of the best jazz names in the game in the unofficial jazz corridor of the city.

Phono Del Sol

Location: Potrero Del Sol Park, Potero Hill

Date: July 12

Lineup highlights: Wye Oak, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Blackbird Blackbird

Extras: One of the cooler aspects of this modest-but-impressive festival is watching kids (and adults!) try to avoid catastrophic injury in the skatepark at Potrero Del Sol.

Outside Lands

Date: August 8-10

Location: Golden Gate Park

Lineup highlights: Kanye West, Arctic Monkeys, Disclosure, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Death Cab For Cutie, The Killers, Tiësto, The Flaming Lips

Extras: Hard to believe this festival is only in its seventh year. Outside Lands already feels like a national institution as one of the pre-eminent festivals on the West Coast. The festival now sells out in a heartbeat; best of luck to those scavenging Craigslist for late-bird non-specials!

The First City Festival

Date: Aug. 23-24

Location: Monterey

Lineup highlights: Beck, The National, The Naked and Famous, Phantogram

Extras: Feel the history lesson: The festival is named after Monterey’s status as the first official capital of California. Remember? More to the point, the second edition of Goldenvoice’s latest addition to the North American Music Festival circuit has some heavy-hitters at the top of the lineup, but the entire offering is deep: Cults, Dawes, Best Coast, San Fermin, The Men .... There are no weak links. You won’t have any problem remembering this weekend.

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Date: Oct. 3-5

Location: Golden Gate Park

Lineup highlights: TBD

Extras: Expect a lineup announcement at the end of August.

Treasure Island Music Festival

Date: Oct. 18-19

Location: Treasure Island

Lineup highlights: TBD

Extras: Expect a lineup announcement at the end of May.

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