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West Coast Music Festivals: An Update For 2021

West Coast Music Festivals

West Coast Music Festivals


If the biggest of all festivals is skipping another year – Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, like its country companion, the Stagecoach festival, has moved from October 2021 to April of 2022 –  other West Coast music festivals have updated their status: some of them will actually take place, other ones will take another form.

The Ohana Fest will probably be as close as normal goes. It has announced its official dates, September 24-26, at Dana Point with a middle-of-the-road lineup, while Eddie Vedder doesn’t want us to forget that this is his baby: the 25th is headlined by Vedder himself, and the 26th is headlined by Pearl Jam. And the 24th? the popular but boring Kings of Leon. The other names on the bill are My Morning Jacket, Black Pumas, Durand Jones and the Indications, Maggie Rogers, The Frames, Spoon, Mc Demarco, Brandi Carlile, Yola, Sharon Van Etten… the festival is hip hop-free and has a very classic to indie rock vibe with a touch of punk.

Desert Daze will not take place this year but the desert will still be the place to be. Instead of the festival around Lake Perris, Desert Daze will soon announce a series of concerts at Pappy & Harriet’s in Pioneertown. ‘This year Desert Daze will be presented as a time-release capsule, a series of (insert number here) concerts, featuring measured doses of artists not usually experienced in an intimate setting.’ You can read on their social media. ‘We’re working around the clock to finish the lineup and make sure we can adhere to all health and safety protocols. All shows will be announced and on sale soon along with motel packages. Next year, it’s back to the lake.’ The concerts will take place in October and November, but knowing how tiny Pappy & Harriet’s is, it’s going to be a madhouse and close to impossible to get a ticket if they announce some big name.

Punk Rock Bowling will take place in Las Vegas on the same busy weekend as the Ohana fest, September 24-26. NOFX has been replaced by the Descendents, and Madness is not among the headliners anymore whereas they were supposed to headline one of the three days when the festival was announced before the pandemic. Otherwise, it’s a very old school (hardcore) punk fest with familiar names and less familiar ones, including Circle Jerks, the Bronx, Frank Turner, Streetlight Manifesto, Lunachicks, Murder City Devils, but also DEVO headlining one night.

Psycho Las Vegas should be happening since the 3-day metal-hard-psych-rock extravaganza has been officially rescheduled for August 20-22. However, the lineup stays uncertain but should be announced soon. ‘Yes, the festival is still taking place, but a handful of acts have chosen to reschedule to 2022 or, regrettably, opted out due to travel restrictions or pandemic concerns,’ you can read on their social media. ‘Obviously, this is not an ideal situation, and the past year has been challenging to say the least, especially within our industry. With that being said, we have been working around the clock to present you with a revised lineup which will be revealed in May.’ The previous lineup included Danzig, Mercyful Fate, Emperor, the Flaming Lips, Blue Oyster Cult among many others. Let’s see if Danzig is still part of the fest. I would not mind checking this one this year.

Life Is Beautiful is also happening in busy downtown Las Vegas on September 17-19, and the tickets sold out extremely fast due to the pop-hip-hop-oriented lineup: Tame Impala, Megan Stallion, Glass Animals, Green Day, Haim, Illenium, A$AP Rocky, Young Thug and of course Billie Eilish. All the most popular acts of the moment are basically playing this fest, which should be the highlight of the year for any hip millennial.

Outside Lands will happen on Halloween weekend (October 29-31) in the Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco, and its bill could be an upscale FYF fest + Desert Daze: The Strokes, Tyler the Creator, Glass Animals, Lizzo, Zhu, Vampire Weekend, Young Thug, Tame Impala, Rufus Du Sol, J Balvin,…the lineup is dense and varied with a lot of familiar names of the indie rock world (Lord Huron, Sharon Van Etten, Brittany Howard, Khruangbin, Moses Sumney, Angel Olsen, Caroline Polachek, Yves Tumor…) and an even longer list of less-known names (to me).

This avalanche of acts is almost overwhelming after a year of nothing, but I hope I can make it to one of these big music events.

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