Concert Reviews

Upcoming Music Festivals Around San Francisco


By Kristen Clure 

Outside Lands 

 Outside Lands has been taking over Treasure Island in California at the beginning of August for the past few years. Although this is a fairly new festival, it has taken the Bay area by storm and has been known for selling out almost immediately. Compared to the desert heat one would find at Coachella, Outside Lands is on an island which keeps the festival under a light breeze, and features a roundabout view of the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge, Marin, and the East Bay. Being right on the water gives the venue that ocean vibe without all of the heat attached to a regular Southern California Beach.

The only way to the island is by boat or by driving partway across the Bay Bridge. And with the size of the festival, parking is limited. Traffic getting to the festival is also a hassle as there is only the one way in and one way out, as riding a boat to the island still has you catching traffic on the way in or out.

This year, the festival begins on August 9th and ends on August 11th, and in many ways it is the perfect way to end the summer. With an incredible setlist that dropped in March, this year is looking to have arguably their best line-up yet. With Childish Gambino, Twenty One Pilots, Kygo, Flume, The Lumineers, RL Grime, and Paul Simon, there will absolutely be something for everyone at this festival.

Not only will there be music at this festival, but the festival also includes art, wine, and food. The entirety of the festival is meant to encapsulate the spirit of San Francisco, a task that it never seems to fail. On top of the food and music, there will be talks given as well as comedy performances. Anything you could possibly want, you can find at Outside Lands. On top of all of the performances and food, Outside Lands is also a Cannabis festival. The festival also focuses on donating portions of their revenue to sustainable and non-profit organizations around the Bay Area. This is definitely the place you’ll want to be to soak in the music scene come August!


BottleRock Napa

  At the beginning of summer, there’s a newfound music festival that sparks the scene in Napa Valley: BottleRock. This indie music festival is only a couple of years old and, as of last year, gained a huge amount of popularity from headliners such as The Killers, Halsey, and Muse. In years past, Maroon 5, Florence and the Machine, Macklemore, and The Chainsmokers have hit the stage and helped the festival in gaining quick popularity.

The festival is held at the Napa Fairgrounds, and host all different types of venders, as well as many local wineries from around Sonoma County. imgres-2There’s also a culinary stage where famous chefs come in and cook with the artists in between their shows. BottleRock is basically all of the incredible aspects of Napa wrapped into one event, with multiple different stages and music artists playing all around you.

Now that the festival is gaining so much traction, it almost makes more sense to have a VIP pass; because what used to be around 30,000 to 40,000 people has now surpassed over 100,000, and in this small space, you’re going to want to get as close to the music or to the food as possible. The VIP pass comes in handy with acoustic behind-the-scenes pre-shows, as well as meet-and-greets with your favorite artists who are there.

Every year, the concert sits at the end of May–welcoming the summer with some of the best indie and alt bands around, as well as with some older bands that bring a fresh blast-from-the-past vibe to the festival’s atmosphere.

This year, BottleRock will be May 24th through May 26th, with headliners Imagine Dragons (who are BottleRock veterans), as well as artists Neil Young, Logic, OneRepublic, Mumford and Sons, Santana, and Lord Huron. Up-and-coming artists such as Flora Cash, LovelytheBand, and The Alive will be hitting the stages as well and ensuring that this festival has a wide variety of sound.

Both one day tickets and three day tickets have already gone on sale, while both one day VIP and three day VIP have already sold out–get your tickets before they’re gone; this isn’t a festival you’ll want to miss!


Hardly Strictly BlueGrass

  The Hardly Strictly BlueGrass festival is a free music festival that happens in Golden Gate Park every year. This festival features, of course, strictly bluegrass music, and fills the venue with a smiling, lively, upbeat atmosphere. This year the festival will last from October 5th through October 7th, and, as of right now, the schedule of bands is subject to change.

The festival takes volunteers as the event is completely free, and the focus is on keeping the park clean and respecting the space where the festival is held. The event also has a scheduled streaming event for select imgres-4performances, which are available through its website.

There are food vendors as well as venders selling non-alcoholic beverages. If you would like to bring in your own alcoholic beverages, you must abide by the regulations set in place by Golden Gate Park.

The location and atmosphere of the Hardly Strictly BlueGrass Festival projects it as something that is so satisfyingly San Francisco, and the type of event that you can hardly find anywhere else. Even if you are not a fan of BlueGrass music, the festival holds a type of positive environment that you will not want to miss out on!

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