With Coachella kicking off today, other fests gradually releasing their lineups, and the sun blazing just a little hotter each day, music festival season is about to kick into high gear. The volume of festivals seems to be increasing rapidly, and musicians have finally caught on that being a part of the scene is a full-proof way to actually be seen.

What does that mean for Summer 2015? Competitive lineups packed with reputable artists, some of them basking in momentary glory and others boasting a devoted, loyal fanbase that will shell out big bucks to catch them for a fleeting forty-minute set.

Many music fans will flock to the festival scene, while others will be intimidated by the price tags alone. Luckily, a handful of noteworthy and budget-friendly fests are available to satiate your musical appetite this summer, and though the lineups may not be as extensive as those of Outside Lands or Coachella, they’re carefully curated for the astute concertgoer.

Where? – Sonoma, CA
When? – June 12-13th
How Much? – $40-$120
Why? – I really can’t praise this fest enough due to its accessibility, relaxed vibe, and selection of talented, modest folk artists. Founded by Fruit Bats’ Eric D. Johnson and vinter Jeff Bundschu, the one-and-a-half day celebration of wine and Americana jams is super laid-back thanks to its location at the Gundlach Bundschu Winery. Music fans sit atop a grassy hill overlooking a vineyard, getting drunk on wine that has been produced right there in Sonoma while enjoying standout artists such as Amen Dunes, Jessica Pratt, Sonny & the Sunsets, Ryley Walker…the list goes on. I highly recommend you shell out the 80-something bucks for a night and a day of sweet tunes accompanied by the most pleasant wine-induced haze.


What?Make Music Pasadena
Where? – Pasadena, CA
When? – June 6th
How Much? – FREE
Why? – Now in its 8th consecutive year, Make Music Pasadena is the largest and most reputable music fest in LA, and every year it attracts an impressive selection of emerging and established artists. It all takes place in one day in the heart of old town Pasadena, making it super convenient to continue the festivities at local bars after the music comes to an end. It’s a little hectic and there are strict alcohol regulations, but let me reiterate that it’s 100% FREE. The lineup this year has already been released, and it’s one of the bests yet with acts such as Sir Sly, Nick Waterhouse, and How to Dress Well.


What?Woodsist Fest
Where? – Big Sur, CA
When? – May 18th
How Much? – $80
Why? – Much like Huichica, this is an artist-sponsored event in collaboration with the people at (((Folk Yeah!))) who have been presenting the California coastline with some top-notch indie events. Set against the breathtaking Big Sur backdrop, it’s only one day long, but fans usually take advantage of the location and camp out the night before or after. The event is packed with artists off the Woodsist label, including this year’s performers Alex Bleeker, Woods, Real Estate, Little Wings, and White Fence. It’s another stress-free, humble festival that conveys a sense of community and a shared appreciation for the music.


What?Thirty Two Thirty Five – The Fest
Where? – Los Angeles, CA
When? – April 25th
How Much? – $10
Why? – The guys behind this super local fest have decided to move the party out of people’s homes and into Jewel’s Catch One, a nightclub rich with history and cultural relevance. The club opened in 1972 as one of the first African-American discos and has evolved into one of LA’s most eclectic and diverse venues, hosting dance parties, DJ sets, and live indie acts. This event in particular will showcase extremely talented up-and-coming LA locals, with shoe-gazey electronica outfit Roses headlining. Tickets are only $10, and these artists are guaranteed to blow up, so catch them now and you can say you knew them “before they were big.”

thirty two thirty five

What?Desert Daze
Where? – Mecca, CA
When? – May 2nd
How Much? – $55-130
Why? – Desert Daze is the largest and most publicized event on this list for sure, but it still pales in comparison to the attention that fests like Coachella, Outside Lands, and Bottle Rock garner. That could be attributed to the fact that it’s only one day long and doesn’t necessarily have an A-list headliner. These are all good things, however, because they mean tickets are still on sale and camping is still readily available. The lineup comprises an interesting selection of synth rock, psychedelic, and electronica artists, which lends the perfect soundtrack to a night under the starry desert sky.

desert daze 2