Can you give me any helpful info about events in LA and California?
March 1, 2014 1:24 PM   Subscribe

Can you give me any helpful info about music festivals, outdoorsy-motorcycle gatherings, hippie get togethers, nerd conventions, and areas where friendly people commune to hang and be merry, centering around a certain activity in Los Angeles and California (maybe even neighboring states).

The hippie motorcycle stuff is just for example (but works too). I hope you get the idea. Basically, weekend events where people can camp (or not) for festivals, gatherings, etc. Music is a plus. I know about Warped Tour and Coachella. I also know about Twin Peaks Fest in WA and DEF CON in Vegas. Other events might be neat...conventions and such? I'm not super into anime, but gaming we do. My SO is a computer dude, so stuff about that too.

posted by DeltaForce to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is an annual, free, 3-day festival held in Golden Gate Park. Plenty of twang, but lots of other types of music too.
posted by carsonb at 1:42 PM on March 1, 2014

Is it too obvious to say Burning Man?
posted by cairdeas at 2:53 PM on March 1, 2014

Probably LA Weekly and sister publications like OC Weekly, etc.
posted by Dansaman at 3:30 PM on March 1, 2014

Outside Lands, San Francisco, Aug 8-10, lineup.
Joshua Tree Music Festival, Joshua Tree, May 15-18 (lineup) and October 10-12 (lineup not released)
Lightning in a Bottle, Bradley, CA, May 22-26. Line up has not been released, primarily electronic music.
Bottle Rock, Napa, May 30 - June 1, lineup not released. I was under the impression this wasn't happening this year but their website indicates it is.
Playboy Jazz Festival, June 14-15, Hollywood.
Sierra Nevada World Music Festival, June 20-22, Boonville.
High Sierra Music Festival, July 3-6, Quincy, CA, lineup (more to come).
Hard Summer, Los Angeles (Whittier Narrows Recreation Area), August 2-3. Can't find a lineup, seems to be electronic music only.
Sasquatch, Quincy, WA, July 4-6 (lineup) & May 23-25 (lineup). This is far away but I would love to go.
Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair, May 3, Santa Cruz.
Punk Rock Bowling, Las Vegas, May 23-26, lineup.
Stage Coach, April 25-27, Indio, CA.

Hardly Strictly and Burning Man are both worth going to.
posted by sacrifix at 3:34 PM on March 1, 2014 [3 favorites]

ComiCon every August in San Diego.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 3:44 PM on March 1, 2014

although nothing beats Burning Man itself, regional burns can be pretty great, like Bequinox in Joshua Tree (this month!) and San Diego's YOUtopia in October. there's also Lucidity in April near Santa Barbara.
posted by changeling at 4:22 PM on March 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Summergrass is smaller than most of what's listed here, but it's music (primarily bluegrass, as you might guess) and camping and in northern San Diego. Plus, it takes place at a gas and steam engine museum which is tons of fun to explore.
posted by librarylis at 6:18 PM on March 1, 2014

If you want nerds, nothing beats DEF CON in Las Vegas.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:00 PM on March 1, 2014

The California Extreme Arcade conference/event every year up in San Jose is amazing. For a fairly low price, you get to play any of hundreds of restored arcade games set on free play (no quarters/tokens), some of which go deep, deep into the early days and are some of the first arcade games period. There are hundreds of pinball machines too if you're into that sort of thing (I'm not but friends I've taken with me went apeshit about the pinball machines).

If you're looking for a nerd roundup, the conference portion of the show has talks from people that used to work at Atari in the heyday of Pong. I used to do this every year before barcades became a thing many cities had.
posted by mathowie at 7:08 PM on March 1, 2014

Mammoth Festival of Beers & Bluesapalooza is a hoot.

A couple others that probably aren't worth traveling long distances for but are fun if you're in the area are the Baja Beer Fest in Tijuana and the I Love Poke Festival in SD & HB.
posted by BestiaDeAmor at 7:58 PM on March 1, 2014

Oh, and if it's hippies you're after, it's hard to beat the Whole Earth Festival at UC Davis.
posted by BestiaDeAmor at 8:08 PM on March 1, 2014

I'm seriously the first to mention Lebowski Fest?
posted by town of cats at 9:25 PM on March 1, 2014

We tiki nerds congregate regularly in Southern California.

About once every month or so, tiki fans visit Don the Beachcomber, in Seal Beach, for a small marketplace event.

Every August, Tiki Oasis is held in San Diego. It's a decent sized weekend convention that includes a marketplace, plenty of seminars, nighttime concerts and dinners, et cetera. Every year it has a hilarious theme that the organizers choose. At least several hundred attendees for this one, maybe even bigger.

Tiki Caliente is a fun smaller weekend tiki festival in Palm Springs every May. Shag usually has a nice presence here, as do other Southern California tiki artists. Usually about several hundred attendees. Great exotica and surf music, good parties, and usually some nice pop-up bars. Palm Springs has a pretty rich tiki history.

Modernism Week in Palm Springs is a blast too, with lots of seminars, special events at restaurants, architecture tours, and walking tours. Palm Springs has other weeks and events during the year centering on midcentury modern architecture, design, and culture.
posted by Old Man McKay at 11:34 PM on March 1, 2014

Live 105 BFD takes place in Northern CA every year. I think I went to one in San Francisco one year, but now it's apparently in Mountain View.
posted by madonna of the unloved at 7:54 PM on March 2, 2014

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