The West Coast is the Best Coast…for Summer Music Fests

Summer: the pinnacle of annual music festivals. Whether you’re a hard rock fan, emo kid, or raver, the season always brings the best in live music. Festivals are the perfect venue to show off summer style (kick-started by the fabulous fashions of Coachella every April) while soaking up new music and appreciating the outoors. I’ll be home in California this summer, so here are my top picks for this year’s best west coast music festivals:

Vans Warped Tour

June 24 – August 14, tour dates around the country[Pop-Punk + Pop-Rock + Punk + Emo + Screamo]

I think at this point, it’s undisputed that Warped Tour is the festival of all festivals. Travelling the country for two months (or more!) every summer, it’s an institution in the alternative and pop-punk scene, and a summer staple that the Buzznet community loves. Aside from the countless stages where bands perform, a village of tents pops up overnight (literally), featuring alternative fashion, non-profit organizations, record labels, and – the best part – the band tents. Warped Tour is THE place to meet your favorite bands, usually stationed in their tour tents for signings, photos, and just to chat (once I had a conversation with Matt Skiba about alt-fashion-oriented jewelry companies while he was chilling in Alkaline Trio’s tent[!!!]). The day-long event isn’t merely a “concert”…it’s something you have to experience to understand.

To get the full “Warped Tour Experience,” don’t miss out on these Warped Tour veterans: Gym Class Heroes, Hellogoodbye, Jack’s Mannequin, Less Than Jake, Paramore, Relient K, Simple Plan

Hayley Williams of Paramore performing at Warped Tour 2006 (My favorite year since I’ve been going to Warped!)

Live105’s BFDJune 5, Mountain View, CA[Alternative, Electronic, Rock, 90s Alternative]

In the Bay Area BFD really is a BFD (big fucking deal.) It’s the first music festival I ever went to, and it was truly life-changing (at least, for thirteen-year-old me). Seven years later, the event is still the largest San Francisco-based festival, with four stages and over twety-five bands. My favorite part of the festival is the recently-inducted electronic Subsonic Tent, that has hosted acts like Crystal Castles and DJ AM. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Local Lounge Stage, too, for the latest and greatest up-and-comers.

Don’t miss: Snoop Dogg, The Strokes, Bad Religion, Wolfgang Gartner, Blaqk Audio, K. Flay

Steve Aoki in BFD’s Subsonic Tent

Sasquatch! May 27 – 30, George, WA[Indie + Experimental + Electronic]

Sasquacth! pretty much booked every relevant and amazing indie artist in contemporary music. All at one festival. Stationed in the Pacific Northwest, Sasquatch! caters to the hipster culter that thrives in the Oregon/Washington area, presenting everything from The Glitch Mob’s underground dubstep to indie gods Bright Eyes and Wilco. To top it all off, the festival is set in an award-winning outdoor venue [see photo].

Don’t miss: Wilco, Bright Eyes, Bassnectar, Robyn, Ratatat, MSTRKRFT, Chromoe, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, Major Lazer, The Glitch Mob, Surfer Blood [this is only a fraction of the amazing acts that’ll be at Sasquatch! this year…find the full list here]

Sasquatch!’s beyond beautiful venue serves as an amazing backdrop to its performances

OutsidelandsAugust 12 – 14, San Francisco, CA[Rock + Indie]

Only in its fourth year running, Outsidelands, like Sasquatch!, really pulled out all the stops – it’ll surely be a hipster Mecca for those of us on the west coast. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park provides a dreamy setting of trees and shaded paths, while headliners Muse, Phish and Arcade Fire tear up the stage. Another perk: this event is right near the beach if you need a respite from the festivities!

Don’t miss: Muse, The Black Keys, The Shins, MGMT, Beirut, The Roots, Big Boi, Major Lazer, Sia, !!!, Best Coast

Outsidelands 2010

Hard SummerAugust 6, Los Angeles, California[Electronic + House + Electro House + Dubstep]

Hard is a powerhouse in live electronic music. Aside from their annual New Years Eve show, Halloween festival, nation-wide summer tour and projected 2012 cruise (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?), their signature event is Hard Summer: one action-packed day of the best in contemporary electronic. Spread across four stages, Hard Summer is kind of the older, more sophisticated, sibling of the infamous Electric Daisy Carnival, which got banned from the Los Angeles area after some out-of-hand raving at last year’s event. With everyone in the world abusing the recent dubstep trend (including Britney Spears?), Hard does it right, bringing together some of the best dubstep producers in the game like London-based acts Caspa and Nero.

Don’t miss: Duck Sauce, Chromeo, Ratatat, Jack Beats, Caspa, Nero, Gaslamp Killer

Alice Glass of electronic duo Crystal Castles at Hard Summer 2010