A West Coast Music Festival Primer

Keats once said, "Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know." While you may not find books or French wine, you will find fine weather and a whole lot of music played outdoors at musical festivals this spring and summer. If music festivals aren't your cup of tea, there are plenty of outdoor concert venues for you to get your fill of music. The Portland area has a variety of venues ranging from concerts at the Oregon Zoo, McMenamin's Edgefield, and the waterfront. Outside of Portland, I can't recommend The Gorge in Washington enough. My friends and I saw Dave Matthews over Labor Day weekend and it was quite the experience (but that's another post for another time.) 

The view and natural acoustics at The Gorge are pretty tough to beat. Photo taken at Dave Matthews over Labor Day 2013

The view and natural acoustics at The Gorge are pretty tough to beat. Photo taken at Dave Matthews over Labor Day 2013

In honor of this being the first weekend of Coachella, I compiled a West Coast musical festival primer on the biggest music events taking place this season. Many of the festivals are already sold out, but don’t let that discourage you. Searching Craigslist, StubHub, and asking around on Facebook are all good options to find last minute tickets. To get you in the spirit, here's an Outside Lands 2014 playlist I created on Spotify. Just hit shuffle and enjoy! 

Coachella
Indio, California
The festival kicked off Friday for another year of showcasing the hottest bands on today’s music scene. Started in 1999, Coachella is known for hosting top acts as well as up-and-comers on the music scene. Plus, it’s a great place for premium people watching. 
What to expect: sun, flower crowns, more sun, and maybe a run in with an “incognito” celebrity.
Tickets: SOLD OUT both weekends

Stagecoach
Indio, California
April 25th – 27th
This year, California’s country music festival brings a whole lot of twang to the West Coast with the best acts out of Nashville. The 2014 lineup features headliners such as Eric Church, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan playing alongside Easton Corbin, (classic) Lynyrd Skynrd, Hunter Hayes, Jennifer Nettles, Florida Georgia Line and more.
What to expect: cowboy boots, non-Southerners saying ya’ll, and general debauchery.  
Tickets: SOLD OUT

Sasquatch!
George, Washington
Memorial Day Weekend, May 23rd- 25th
A favorite of college students, Sasquatch! is a 3-day music festival set in a concert venue carved out of the cliffs overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The campground is half of the entertainment and in past years people who weren’t able to buy passes have been known to go for the camping alone.  Acts at Sasquatch include: Outkast, The National, M.I.A., Kid Cudi, HAIM, Portugal. the Man, and more.
What to expect: a lot of college students, tent camping, great natural acoustics and an incredible view of The Gorge.
Tickets: Still available, but limited

Outside Lands
August 8th-10th
San Francisco, California
Held in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Outside Lands offers a little bit of everything for all music tastes. The 2014 lineup released this week features headliners Kanye West, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, The Killers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Arctic Monkeys, Tîesto, and more. In addition to music, Outside Lands also hosts food, wine, beer and art “lands” respectively.
What to expect: a little bit of everything
Tickets: 3-Day General Admission SOLD OUT, 3-Day VIP on sale
Listen Up: Outside Lands 2014 PLAYLIST

The scene from Bumbershoot 2013

The scene from Bumbershoot 2013

Bumbershoot
Labor Day weekend, August 30th – September 1st
Seattle, Washington
On Labor Day weekend Bumbershoot closes out the major West Coast music festivals of the summer. Set on the lawns of the Seattle Center at the foot of the Space Needle, Bumbershoot hosts a wide variety of bands ranging in genre from alternative rock to bluegrass to house. The 2014 lineup will be released at the Pink & Purple Pickwick Party at Neumos in Seattle on May 8th.
What to expect: a diverse crowd and lounging on the lawn
Tickets: Still available
2014 Lineup: TBD
Last year included MGMT, Fun., Teagan and Sara, Alt-J, and Death Cab for Cutie played a special set dedicated to the 10th anniversary of Transatlanticism.