Los Angeles

15 Must-Attend Music Festivals Happening In and Around LA This Year

Festival season is back!

BeachLife Festival
BeachLife Festival
BeachLife Festival

Even though Coachella‘s not happening until 2022, with the June 15 reopening of California that plans to do away with COVID restrictions, it seems like festival season is still a go for summer 2021. More and more fests are being announced on what seems like a daily basis-and even more shockingly, it looks like we’ll actually be able to gather packed into a field at full capacity when they happen. Here’s a rundown of the biggest fests announced so far.

Day Trip Festival

Berth 46 (San Pedro)
July 4-5
This mostly house-music central fest on the waterfront in San Pedro is set to be one of LA’s first big shows back, with headliners including Chromeo and two days of Diplo. The fest has been sold out for months, but if you’re itching to get in you can sign up for the wait list here.

Kick Back At The Park

Oak Canyon Park (Silverado)
July 10-11
Get ready to have your insides rattled: this all-weekend event is all-bass music, all-the time, with headliners like Yheti and Truth dropping big-ol’ deep-down bombs. Other artists include Tsururda and Jantsen, with scores more on each day, plus live art and vendors to peruse when you need a break from oontz-ing.

LA Phil
LA Phil
LA Phil

KCRW World Music Festival

Hollywood Bowl (Hollywood) 
July 18, August 1, September 18, September 25
LA Phil and KCRW have partnered again to host their annual summer series of concerts at the Hollywood Bowl that’s dedicated to celebrating eclectic sounds from all over the world. Acclaimed saxophonist Kamasi Washington will kick things off with rapper Earl Sweatshirt on Sunday, July 18, followed by the 19th annual Reggae Night with Ziggy Marley and the Wailing Souls on Sunday, August 1. Alabama Shakes singer Brittany Howard, Jamila Woods, and Georgia Anne Muldrow will perform on Sunday, September 18, and James Blake closes the fest with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins on Sunday, September 25. 

HARD Events
HARD Events
HARD Events

HARD Summer

NOS Events Center (San Bernardino)
July 31-August 1
The hardtop-concrete NOS Events Center can be an uncomfortable scorcher mid-summer, but that’s not gonna dissuade hip hop and electronic music fans from going to the most recent iteration of HARD summer, especially with headliners like Future and Kaytranada on Saturday and 2 Chainz and Dillon Francis playing on Sunday.

Uproar

LA Coliseum (Exposition Park)
August 13
Legendary rapper Lil Wayne’s on the topline of this brand new hip hop festival, which includes the rest of his Young Money crew along with other “Friends,” dance troupes, interactive experiences, curated art, food, and drink

Paradise in the Park

Pershing Square (Downtown)
August 21
The dancey Ibiza party Paradise has rescheduled its’ COVID-cancelled LA date to August 21, with Welsh DJ Jamie Jones headlining. So far no other artists have been announced, but expect tons of other fist-pumpers to join this day-to-night festival in the next few months.

Beyond Wonderland

NOS Event Center (San Bernardino)
August 27-28
EDM promotion company Insomniac is behind the stacked lineup at this year’s Beyond Wonderland, which includes Flosstradamus, Diplo, and Tiesto. Expect fantastical art and performances, installations, and stages that take you to realms beyond Alice’s original wonderland.

Same Same But Different Festival
Same Same But Different Festival
Same Same But Different Festival

Same Same But Different

Lake Perris
September 9-12
This electro-meets-jamband festival’s got the sax-driven Big Gigantic and the always trippy STS9 at the top of the four day camping fest, with The Motet and Groovesession among the highlights further down the bill. They’re requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test within seven days of the fest, so if you’re going, make sure you’re prepared. As of press time, the festival is sold out, but you can join the waitlist here

BeachLife Festival
BeachLife Festival
BeachLife Festival

Beachlife Festival

Redondo Beach
September 10-12
Beachlife is set up right on the shores of Redondo, which, coupled with its lineup of 90’s-rockers and laid-back reggae stars, makes it one of the chillest vibes of any of LA’s fests. This year includes Ziggy & Steven Marley playing Bob Marley’s best songs and Jane’s Addiction and Counting Crows bringing some classic alt-rock to the beach as well as a new acoustic stage with punk singer-songwriters playing solo. There’s also culinary pop-ups happening right next to the performers featuring many of the South Bay’s best chefs.

SoCal Hoedown

Berth 46 (San Pedro)
September 18
This rockabilly-and-ska-decked festival’s gone through a number of lineup and date changes since its announcement just before Covid hit, but (fingers crossed) this one’s gonna stick. Lots of the lineup is still TBA, but headliners include surfy psycho-rockers Horrorpops and legendary LA ska-funkers Fishbone.

Primavera Sound

Los Angeles State Historic Park (DTLA)
September 18-19
This Barcelona-based festival is notorious for incredibly stacked lineups, and their first-ever stateside edition was cancelled due to Covid but was going to be toplined by Nine Inch Nails, among others. The lineup is still TBA for their inaugural LA event, but they just released the lineups for two back-to-back weekend fests in Barcelona in June 2022 (which seems kinda backwards, but we admit we’re intrigued), including headliners like Massive Attack, Tame Impala, Gorillaz, Dua Lipa, and more.

The Ohana Fest
The Ohana Fest
The Ohana Fest

Ohana Festival

Dana Point
September 24-26
This Eddie Vedder-curated festival is headlined by…well, Eddie Vedder on one night, and Pearl Jam on another, with Kings of Leon rounding out the top of the bill. The lineup is stacked, though, with rootsy rock favorites like Brandi Carlile and Black Pumas on the bill, as well as a long-awaited reunion of Glen Hansard’s band The Frames.

Chain Fest

Fivepoint Amphitheater (Irvine)
October 23
If you were a ‘00s scene kid and are nostalgic for the days of destroying lifelong friendships with your Myspace Top 8, this may be the fest for you: an all emo singalong topped by Jimmy Eat World and Taking Back Sunday, with added bonuses of a greatest hits set from Saves the Day and Circa Survive playing songs from “Big Sky Noise.” Only problem? No Chris Carraba anywhere on the bill.

Head in the Clouds

Rose Bowl Stadium
November 6-7
No lineup has been announced for this festival yet, but it’s put on by the 88Rising team, which means it’s going to be frontloaded with Asian talent; the 2019 edition featured Joji, Higher Brothers, and iKon.

Rolling Loud

NOS Event Center (San Bernardino)
December 10-12
OK, this one’s not coming up for a while but if you’re interested, get tickets now, since the lineup is basically a stacked who’s-who in hip-hop: headliners include legends like ASAP Rocky, Travis Scott, and Post Malone, but the bill runs deep with hundreds of notable artists like Rick Ross, Young Thug, Megan thee Stallion, Gucci Mane, and DaBaby.

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Los Angeles

How to Spend a Weekend in Topanga Canyon

Nature and the arts collide in this beloved canyon community.

Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images
Hanan Isachar/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint caf√© with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.

Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray
Photo courtesy of Inn of the Seventh Ray

Friday

Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.

Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.

Saturday

Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and caf√©, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.

Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock
Bradley Allen Murrell/Shutterstock

Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.

Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the caf√©’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.

Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
Photo courtesy of Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum

Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.

Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.

Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery
Photo courtesy of The Canyon Bakery

Sunday

Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.

Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.

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Nicole Schnitzler is a contributor for Thrillist.

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