The Mod Eclectic blog

A running review of local artists, modern pop music and culture from Capital Public Radio.


 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 
 We Get Support From:
Become a Supporter 

Northern California Music Festival Roundup 2015

Cody Drabble / CapRadio Music

Empire of the Sun performing at TBD Fest last fall in West Sacramento.

Cody Drabble / CapRadio Music

Whether your style is Americana or Electronica - Northern California is ripe with musical experience options. We've compiled a handful of festivals within, what we consider reasonable, driving distance of Sacramento.


May 23 - First Festival - West Sacramento

Partial Lineup: Humble Wolf, Dylan Phillip, Slaves of Manhattan, A Mile Till Dawn, D.U.S.T., Whiskey & Stitches, Westwards, Stationary, Drop Dead Red

Cost: $15-$20

Unique Features: In its debut year this festival focuses on Sacramento - local bands and local vendors to get you pumped for the coming festival season.



May 22-25 - Sacramento Music Festival - Sacramento

Partial Lineup: Tower of Power, Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, Eve 6, Nickel Slots, Everclear, Gloriana, Malo

Cost: $55-$125

Unique Features: This well-known, long-running showcase recently branched out from traditional jazz and blues to incorporate rock and alternative acts. The 4-day fest includes alt rockers from the 90s, jazz, zydeco, latin and funk bands, performing at several venues centered in Old Sacramento.



May 29-31 – BottleRock – Napa

Partial Lineup: No Doubt, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant, The Avett Brothers, Foster The People, Passion Pit, Snoop Dogg, Cage The Elephant, Gipsy Kings, Young The Giant, Capital Cities

Cost: $99-$275

Unique Features: Set in California’s wine country this festival boasts an excellent selection of food and wine to accompany the diverse musical offerings.

 High Sierra

June 2-5 – High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy

Partial Lineup: The String Cheese Incident, Umphrey’s McGee, The John Butler Trio, The Word, Lake Street Dive, ALO, Galactic

Cost: $210.50

Unique Features: Camping, parades, “movement classes” – this family friendly festival offers a wide range of activities throughout the weekend.  


Once Upon

June 12-14 - Once Upon A Festival  - Colusa County

Partial Lineup: Emancipator, SWTO, Sweater Beats, Random Rab, Dimond Saints, Coyote Kisses, Kalya Scintilla, Desert Dwellers

Cost: $160 (plus camping fees)

Unique Features: Set at the swimmable East Park Reservoir in the Central Valley, this festival is heavily influenced by the Burning Man ethos, with an emphasis on sustainability and community. 


Davis Music Fest

June 19-21 - Davis Music Festival - Davis

Partial Lineup: Tom Brosseau, Be Calm Hancho, Joy & Madness, SunMonks, Two Sheds, Drive-Thru Mystics, Ideateam, Ross Hammond, West Nile Ramblers

Cost: $20-$25

Unique Features: This festival started as a fundraiser for a music education program in Davis and ballooned into one of the biggest musical events in town. With a variety of local, regional and national acts, this fest is curated by passionate music lovers in Davis. 



July 5-6 – Burger Boogaloo – Oakland

Partial Lineup: The Mummies, Black Lips, Gories!, King Khan & BBQ Show, Shannon and the Clam, Untamed Youth, Midnite Snaxxx, Troublemakers (Sacramento)

Cost: $35-$50

Unique Features: The annual festival from the folks of Burger Records will be hosted by the legendary "trash" film director John Waters and features the long-running Sacramento rock ‘n’ roll group, The Troublemakers.



July 16-19 – Wanderlust – Squaw Valley

Partial Lineup: MC Yogi, Michael Franti, Thievery Corporation, Rob Graza, Trevor Exter, SWELLS, Trevor Hall, DJ Drez, My Brightest Diamond, Mandolin Orange

Cost: $95-$900 (plus camping)

Unique Features: Wanderlust’s lineup doesn’t just feature superstars of folk and electronic music but also some of the biggest names in yoga. This festival offers days of yoga practice, farm to fork dinners, and camping.


Northern Nights

July 17-19 - Northern Nights – Piercy

Partial Lineup: Gold Panda, Golfish, Goldlink, Slow Magic, Autograf, Lane 8, G Jones, Monophonics

Cost: $169

Unique Features: This boutique electronic music festival on the Mendocino/Humboldt county line offers workshops, art, comedy, yoga and nightly burlesque.



Aug 7-9 – Outside Lands – San Francisco

Partial Lineup: Elton John, Kendrick Lamar, Sam Smith, Wilco, The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, St. Vincent, Billy Idol, Hot Chip, Caribou, Milky Chance, Chet Faker, Porter Robinson

Cost:  $325 - $625 (VIP Single Day Tickets available, general admission tickets are sold out)

Unique Features: Certainly one of the biggest festivals in Northern California, Outside Lands takes place in Golden Gate Park and incorporates gourmet food, comedy and world class musical acts from a variety of genres.

 City Of Trees

Aug 15 – City of Trees – Sacramento, Gibson Ranch

Partial Lineup: Cake, of Monsters and Men, James Bay, BØRNS, Elle King, Hasley, Night Riots

Cost: $49.50-$99.50

Unique Features: This is the first major summer music event from Radio 94.7 and features artist in heavy rotation on that station. There are no fees on the tickets and free parking.


American River

Sep 18-21 – American River Music Festival – Coloma

Partial Lineup: Nicki Bluhm & The Gamblers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line, Dangermuffin, Shook Twins, David Luning, Songs of the Fall, David Myles, Spark and Whisper

Cost: $15-$60 (plus camping fees)

Unique Features: An intimate music experience nestled in the foothills along the American River. On Friday night there’s a Musicians Showcase where artists perform two songs and the top two performances are decided by a jury receive a special spot on the main stage.



Sep 19-20 – TBD Fest – Sacramento

Partial Lineup: Ratatat, Cut Copy, Tears For Fears, Pretty Lights, Dr. Dog, Purity Ring, The Black Lips

Cost: $189

Unique Features: Sacramento’s own home-grown boutique alternative/electronic music festival is back in West Sacramento’s river district. There’s still a lot to be determined about this festival (pun intended) and CapRadio Music will keep you updated as details are announced.



Sep 17-20 – Symbiosis Gathering – Oakdale

Partial Lineup: Nicolas Jaar, CocoRosie, Tipper, tUnE-yArds, Four Tet, GRiZ, Kaytranada, Justin Martin

Cost: TBA

Unique Features: Popular with the Burning Man crowd, this festival incorporates lots of yoga and giant art installations adjacent to the Woodward Reservoir. If you’re not a fan of “roughing it” there are a handful “glamping” options available.



Oct 2-4 - Hardly Strickly Bluegrass - San Franscico

Lineup: TBA

Cost: Free

Unique Features: Seven stages across Golden Gate Park, more than 100 performers - all free. 

Teasure Island

Oct 17-18 – Treasure Island – San Francisco, CA

Partial Lineup: TBA

Cost: TBA

Unique Features: This low-key festival takes place in the middle of San Francisco Bay on historic Treasure Island. A Ferris wheel provides beautiful vistas of the fest and the Bay and there are lots of interesting vendors and craft booths. 

Oct 24-25 - Aftershock - Sacramento, CA

Partial Lineup: Slipknot, Shinedown, Marilyn Manson, Seether, Deftones, Faith No More, Stone Temple Pilots, Jane's Addiction, Coheed and Cambria

Cost: $70 - $130

Unique Features: Possibly the biggest hard rock festival in California, this year Aftershock takes place at Gibson Ranch out toward Antelope. There will be camping, WWE wrestling, and whiskey and tequila tasting.



Did we miss any? What festivals are on your must hit list this summer? Please leave your comments below.

 music festivalfestival roundup

Melody Stone

Former Interactive Producer

After working in newspapers and doing print journalism for years, Melody transitioned into digital marketing and design. With a healthy blend of journalistic and digital media skills she builds out interactive web stories for  Read Full Bio 

Sign up for ReCap

and never miss the top stories

Delivered to your inbox every Wednesday.

Check out a sample ReCap newsletter.