Roundup of the Best Fall Music Festivals

in Music News by

Autumn brings regal colors to nature, surrounding us in orange, rusts, and gold. As the leaves begin to waft to the ground, the west coast also heats up with fall music festivals. It’s your opportunity to cozy up in your favorite hoodie, laze on a blanket and enjoy an amazing line up of bands you probably only dreamed of seeing all in one place. Here are your top opportunities to experience live music in a west coast festival setting.

Outside Lands

You can call it the start of Summer or the beginning of Fall, whatever the seasons is, one thing’s for certain, and that’s that you don’t want to miss Outside Lands from August 11th to 13th in San Francisco, CA. This year marks the festival’s tenth anniversary. Join the celebration by enjoying sets from Metallica, The Who, Above & Beyond, Empire of the Sun and The She’s to name a few. The festival boasts a massive line up of sounds, a culinary stage, and comedy.


Travel to Seattle, WA from September 1st to 3rd for music and art experience. Bumbershoot, widely considered an experience of a lifetime, offers up Flume, Lorde, Weezer, Foster the People and Spoon as some of its top 2017 acts. The fall festival offers more than music. It features art, exhibits, culinary treats and outdoor experiences across a 74-acre festival grounds. Considered a family friendly festival, it does serve alcohol.

Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival

The good folks in Guerneville CA kick off the September CA music festival line up on September 9th and 10th with the Russian River Jazz & Blues Festival. This festival allows on site camping, so you never need to leave the music. Prior performers include Etta James, The Doobie Brothers, and David Sanborn. You’ll enjoy live music in the serene setting of Johnson’s Beach, on the shore of the Russian River. More than one hundred wineries surround the festival site, providing an ideal opportunity to work on a wine tasting tour.


Five days later, you can switch musical gears and catch some fantastic indie and rock icons. On September 15th to 17th, Del Mar, CA hosts Kaaboo. More than a music festival, it features comedians, artists and culinary delights. While many festivals cater to the college crowd, Kaaboo aims to draw adults interested in the finer things. It released its epic Fall lineup already. You’ll hear Alanis Morissette, Ice Cube, Kesha, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pink, Muse, and Weezer, to name a few. Don’t miss the unique opportunity to hear DJ Diesel spinning. If you think you’ve never heard of him, you probably just know him best by his given name – Shaquille O’Neal. Yes, the basketball great has a second career as a deejay.

Nocturnal Wonderland Festival

Decisions, decisions. The same weekend Nocturnal Wonderland takes place in San Bernardino, CA virtually the same time – September 15th and 16th. A bevy of electronic musicians entertains an even bigger bevy of music fans. You’ll be one of about 50,000 fans. It features a seemingly never-ending lineup including Assembly, Autograf, Bones, Devoted, Goldfish, Mahalo, Spock, and Zomboy. Road trip and enjoy both.

Music Tastes Good

Long Beach, CA jumps into the fray from September 30th to October 1st with Music Tastes Good. You’ll have to skip the camping, but there’s plenty of tunes. It’s about variety. Where else will you hear Los Lobos and Sleater-Kinney, Hot 8 Brass Band and Peaches?

Joshua Tree Festival

From October 5th to 8th, Joshua Tree, CA hosts an independently produced Joshua Tree Music Festival. It’s one of the few festivals left in southern California that allows camping. Against the backdrop of a national park, you’ll hear local and international artists from a plethora of genres. The 2017 line up includes local bands Davis, Cactus Wine Experience and Amritakripa Band, plus Canada’s Madeline Tasquin and Estonia’s Trad Attack.

Music lovers can treat their ears to happy sounds all fall. The west coast offers numerous opportunities for fall music festivals no matter what genre of music you love most. Expose your ears to new sounds or hear your favorite bands all in one place. Most music festivals now include a culinary area or stage, guaranteeing gastronomical delights, too. Occasionally, you’ll need a nearby hotel, but traditional Woodstock-inspired campouts still exist. Most festivals have some ADA accommodations, but investigate the festival’s website for details before you go. Also, check each festivals website for what’s allowed. Many festivals now require a government photo ID and your ticket for entry. TSA-style searches are also common. Each festival has its guidelines as to what you can and can’t bring inside its confines. Don’t forget your sunscreen, earplugs, and sunglasses. Drink plenty of water, try some new foods and enjoy the music festivals.

Photo by Andrew Jorgensen – Courtesy of Outside Lands

Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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