Hotter, Louder

Our critics highlight the summer's best music festivals.

Burger Boogaloo

Soaring rents in San Francisco haven’t just priced out residents and businesses; they’re also driving artistic and cultural events out of the city, too. Last year, organizers of the garage/punk/soul extravaganza Burger Boogaloo held their music festival (a showcase of bands on Burger Records) in Oakland for the first time, drawing some 3,000 attendees, and it appears they’re not looking back. Once again located in North Oakland’s Mosswood Park, this year’s edition will be held over the Fourth of July weekend and feature a mix of classic artists and those following their sonic tradition: Performers include legendary girl-group pioneer Ronnie Spector, Indiana proto-punk band The Gizmos, Los Angeles hardcore supergroup OFF!, Long Island’s Milk ‘N’ Cookies, as well as formerly San Francisco-based garage rockers Thee Oh Sees, New Jersey pop-punkers Personal & The Pizzas, Asheville, North Carolina’s Reigning Sound, SoCal’s The Muffs, and locals Nobunny and Shannon and the Clams. As far as neighborhood music festivals go, this one should be electrifying. Then you can stumble home. — K.R.

Saturday and Sunday, July 5-6. Noon-9 p.m., $35 per day or $50 for a weekend pass.

Phono del Sol Music Festival

Held during the day in a small park in a quiet neighborhood of the Outer Mission, Phono del Sol — which is put on by the San Francisco-based music blog The Bay Bridged — is a low-key music festival with two stages (one of which is an amphitheater). This year, the headliner is Wye Oak, whose latest dreamy album, Shriek, was recently described by Express co-editor Kathleen Richards in a review as “an incredibly tasteful disco album.” Half of the lineup has been announced so far, and it also includes local favorite Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, self-described “folktronica” artist Blackbird Blackbird, transcendental rockers A Million Billion Dying Suns, and the pop quartet The Tambo Rays. Potrero del Sol Park (25th St. at Utah St., San Francisco) is also home to San Francisco’s largest skatepark, which provides its own kind of entertainment. You may need a distraction from the long beer lines. — M.K.

Saturday, July 12. Noon-7 p.m., $25, $30.

Huichica Music Festival

Take a break from the sweaty, beer-soaked environment of the big music fests this summer with a trip to Huichica Music Festival, which is held on the grounds of Gundlach Bundschu Winery (2000 Denmark St., Sonoma). If you prefer to watch shows while reclining with a glass of wine that didn’t require you to fight your way through a crowded tent, this is the boutique fest for you. The main stage is actually an outdoor amphitheater situated at the bottom of a grassy hill. This year’s performers — including David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Mount Eerie, Vetiver, Kelley Stoltz, Magic Trick, EDJ, Michael Hurley, Meg Baird, The Cairo Gang, Extra Classic, Light Fantastic, The Blank Tapes, Houndstooth, and Golden Gram — mostly fall under the folk and rock umbrella. In addition to wines from Gundlach Bundschu, tasty provisions — including salumi from Salumeria, baked goods from Craftsmen and Wolves, and sandwiches from Portland’s Bunko — will be on offer. — M.K.

Friday and Saturday, June 13-14. Fri. 6 p.m. ($30), Sat. noon-10 p.m. ($55), $75 for both days.

Woodsist Festival

The Woodsist Festival in Big Sur is put on by (((folkYEAH!))) and Jeremy Earl, the frontman of the band Woods and the founder of the record label Woodsist. The lineup doesn’t vary much from year to year, but if you’ve ever thought about taking a drive down Highway 1 for a mellow weekend of folkish-rock among the redwoods, do it this year: Performers Woods, Real Estate, and Angel Olsen have all released truly excellent albums in the past few months. Other confirmed acts include White Fence, Skygreen Leopards, Kevin Morby, Foxygen, Little Wings, Steve Gunn, and Meg Baird. Unfortunately, tickets sold out almost immediately, but check Craigslist there really couldn’t be a more picturesque or ideal setting to experience these bands than the magical, intimate Henry Miller Memorial Library (48603 Hwy. 1). — M.K.

Saturday and Sunday, August 5-6. Tickets are sold out, but check Craigslist.


After its inaugural year ended with organizers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and selling the festival to a new group of producers, Napa’s BottleRock is back. This year’s lineup is one of the most eclectic among the major music festivals. Goth-pop icon The Cure will play its only currently confirmed US date on Friday night. When the band played a two-night run at London’s Royal Albert Hall in March, it delivered 45-song sets spanning its massive catalog. The biggest reunion of 2014, Outkast, will also headline, as well as Weezer and country star Eric Church. From there, it’s a mixed bag of art-rock (TV on the Radio, Thee Oh Sees), hip-hop (De La Soul, LL Cool J), and Nineties acts (Third Eye Blind, Spin Doctors, Barenaked Ladies). It could be completely weird or totally wonderful, but at least it won’t be boring. — W.P.

Friday-Sunday, May 30-June 1, Napa Valley Expo (575 Third St., Napa). Noon-10 p.m., $149-$279.

Outside Lands

The Bay Area’s answer to Coachella, Outside Lands draws 80,000 attendees annually to Golden Gate Park for three days of music, high-end food, wine, and beer. This year’s lineup might be the festival’s most mainstream yet — with headliners Kanye West, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, and The Killers — but it’s also a coup considering that West is only playing two other festivals this summer: Bonnaroo and Wireless. Other big-name artists on the bill include Arctic Monkeys, Disclosure, and The Flaming Lips, but don’t neglect smaller acts such as Phosphorescent, Jenny Lewis, and local favorite Trails and Ways. Unfortunately, tickets sold out faster than ever this year, and Craigslist is flooded with sellers asking for double the face value, so be smart and work your network to score a coveted pass. — W.P.

Friday-Sunday, Aug. 8-10, Golden Gate Park (San Francisco). Fri. and Sat. noon-10 p.m., Sun. noon-9:40 p.m., sold out.


Popfest was founded in New York City in the Nineties, when a group of friends threw a house show highlighting underground indie-pop bands. By the mid-Aughts, the festival had spread to cities around the world. Its San Francisco edition has been going strong since 2009, bringing together a mix of local and international acts influenced by the Factory Records sound — or, more recently, Slumberland Records’ roster. This year, Slumberland will help host Friday night’s showcase, featuring local garage-poppers The Mantles and Nineties-era indie bands Rocketship, Boyracer, and The Softies. The four-day lineup also includes San Francisco’s Dreamdate, local garage-punkers Terry Malts, Australian pop outfit Bart and Friends, mod-rockers The How, and Dressy Bessy, a side project of Apples in Stereo guitarist John Hill. — W.P.

Thursday-Sunday, May 22-25, various locations. $45.

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