Below you will find Indie on the Move's compiled listing of annual music festivals and conferences in the state of California, helping bands and musicians increase their industry knowledge, broaden their networking reach, and better promote and showcase their music, shows, and tours.
From Coachella to NAMM, we did our best to include a thorough and comprehensive index, but if for some reason we've overlooked a specific event, please let us know through the contact page located HERE so that we can add it to the site ASAP.
With regards to any larger festivals, be sure to think outside of the box. While many of them do not regularly book independent acts as part of their official showcases, the national and international bands that do perform often draw some of the biggest built-in crowds imaginable, and provide a huge influx of music lovers and enthusiasts to each respective event location.
So try booking a show at one or several of that city's smaller local venues/bars/restaurants during the festival itself and take advantage of the vast number of music fans located in one place at one time. Even playing an ad-lib acoustic set in the event parking lot can go a long way in gaining you new fans and selling some merch.
-NAMM - Dates: Late January
"NAMM's mission is to strengthen the music products industry and promote the pleasures and benefits of making music. In addition to all of the great new products and technology being unveiled here, the NAMM Show hosts free professional development sessions and unique product pavilions—giving buyers even more incentive to join us in Anaheim. By offering customized training and educational opportunities, we help to keep interested attendees on the cutting-edge of their business trends." - Register
-Bakersfield Celtic Music Festival - Dates: Late October
"The Bakersfield Celtic Music Festival was started by The Kern County Scottish Society in 2009. Its purpose is to increase awareness of the great tradition of Scottish and Irish Music in Bakersfield, Kern County and of Central California. It showcases local talent that already is known throughout the State, bringing groups from outside the area to draw people from all over to make this an event that will continue to grow."
-Sierra Nevada World Music Festival - Dates: Late June
"The Sierra Nevada World Music Festival promotes "conscious" music. Conscious music is music with a message of peace, unity and brotherhood, which transcends the divisions of race and culture." - Submit to Perform
-Whole Earth Festival - Dates: Early May
"Whole Earth Festival was born when an art class taught by Jose Arguelles had an “Art Happening” on the University of California, Davis campus in 1969. The students used art to involve visitors in the ultimate goal of learning about activism, wellness, and the environment. Whole Earth Festival aims to ignite passion, propel creativity, and leave visitors with inspiration." - Submit to Perform
-Eagle Rock Music Festival - Dates: Mid August
-Redwood Coast Music Festival - Dates: Early April
"In its 28th year, the Redwood Coast Music Festival takes place at 7 indoor venues throughout Old Town and Downtown Eureka, CA. 4 days of live music. 2 nights of blues music. 7 venues with dance floors. Special events such as a Western Swing Barn Burner show featuring multi-Grammy award winner Andy Stein; the Saturday Night Swing Out Dance at the Sequoia Center, with a 1200 square foot dance floor; and 2 nights of Redwood Coast Blues with headliners, the legendary Roomful of Blues."
-A&R Worldwide's MUSEXPO - Dates: Early May
"MUSEXPO is an unprecedented and exclusive opportunity to interact with a wide range of influential decision-makers from the international music, media, and technology industries all brought together in Los Angeles." - Register - Submit to Perform
-Reggae on the River - Dates: Early August
"Reggae on the River is presented by the Mateel Community Center in Redway, CA. Serving the Southern Humboldt area for over 30 years with art, dance, and music presentations." - Submit to Perform
-Coachella - Dates: Mid to late April
-Stagecoach Festival - Dates: Late April
"California's Country Music festival."
-Epicenter Music Festival - Dates: Mid March
-Bhakti Fest - Dates: Early September
-Shakti Fest - Dates: Mid May
-VegFest - Dates: Early May
"Held at Woodley Park in the San Fernando Valley, the event has an amazing vegan marketplace and international food court. This fun green-powered festival inspires on important topics of healthy living, the environment, animals, and more. Everyone is welcome!" - Submit to Perform
-Snowglobe Music Festival - Dates: Late December
-Wanderlust Festival - Dates: Mid to late July
"Wanderlust is a one-of-a-kind festival bringing together the world's leading yoga teachers, top musical acts and DJs, renowned speakers, top chefs and winemakers, and much, much more -- all in a setting of breathtaking natural beauty. We're talking about fun in the sun and dancing under the stars. Hiking on peaceful trails and gettin' your down dog on at the top of the mountain. Sipping poolside cocktails with your friends, and then enjoying a tasty farm-to-table dinner with views of the surrounding mountain peaks. Early morning meditations and all-night chakra spinning musical performances -- it's an all-out ecstatic celebration in the most awe-inspiring locations in the world."
-Agenda Festival - Dates: Mid July
-New Blues Festival - Dates: Early September
-West Coast Songwriters Conference - Dates: Mid September
"Held the second weekend in September at Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA. With a special kick-off party Friday night, it’s your chance to meet fellow conference attendees as well as the many and varied industry leaders instructing the full weekend of seminars. Our “UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL” event means just that – industry leaders are always available to chat throughout the weekend to musicians, media and those interested in a career in the music industry." - Register
-ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo - Dates: Late April
"Launched in 2006, the ASCAP "I Create Music" EXPO is the first and only national conference dedicated to songwriting and composing. Selling out in its inaugural year, the EXPO immediately provided a unique opportunity for songwriters, composers, publishers, producers - and those in the industry that support them - to come together in an unprecedented way to share their knowledge and expertise. In its short history, the innovative programming offered to attendees has grown to include celebrity Q&A's, master classes, songwriting and composing workshops, publisher and business panels, One-on-One sessions, DIY career building workshops, showcases and performances, song feedback panels, state-of-the-art technology demos as well as leading music industry exhibitors." - Register
-Broke LA - Dates: Mid April
-FYF Fest - Dates: Late July
-The New LA Folk Festival - Dates: Early August
"The ultimate mission of The New Los Angeles Folk Festival is to support new folk music in Los Angeles as it happens, to provide entertainment and community leadership, and to collaborate with like-minded organizations in support of charitable causes and creative ideas. We welcome suggestions for events, projects, and good deeds."
-Modesto Unplugged Music Festival - Dates: April
"An annual weekend celebration of folk, Americana, bluegrass and all things acoustic, held in the heart of downtown Modesto, CA."
-California Roots Music & Arts Festival - Dates: Late May
"The California Roots Music & Arts Festival is a 3-day celebration held over Memorial Day weekend at the beautiful Monterey County Fairgrounds. We take great pride in producing the highest quality musical and art experience as well as sharing one of the most beautiful places in the world, Monterey, California!"
-Taste of Morgan Hill Festival - Dates: September
"This annual downtown Morgan Hill event features arts and craft booths, a kids zone, two stages of live entertainment, a wine tent and beer garden, commercial booths as well as a custom and classic car show. Both admission and parking are free. Bike riders also get free and secured bike parking as well as a free bottle of water."
-BottleRock Festival - Dates: Late May
"BottleRock Napa Valley is a three-day music, food, wine and craft brew festival that takes place over Memorial Day weekend May 27-29, and brings together some of the best musicians, chefs and sommeliers to the wine mecca of the country to give guests an around-the-world culinary tour."
-Novato Festival of Art, Wine & Music - Dates: Early June
"Every June, tens of thousands of people from Novato and the San Francisco Bay Area gather for two days to enjoy this fantastic, free multi-generational event. Always a perfect blend of unique handcrafted art, regional vintage wines, award-winning micro brews, Americana and gourmet foods, and first-rate live music, the Festival is the good-time place to be!"
-Palm Springs Women's Jazz Festival - Dates: Early November
"Each year dozens of world-class female musicians converge on Palm Springs for a weekend of unforgettable music."
-Petaluma Music Festival - Dates: Early August
"The Petaluma Music Festival is an incorporated 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to keep music in our Petaluma public schools The Board of Directors of the Petaluma Music Festival believe passionately in the positive influence of music in all children's lives, and want to ensure public school music programs have a consistent and lasting funding source. The Petaluma Music Festival strives to promote music education and youth participation in music activities in the greater Petaluma area, and to supplement and augment the services of our local public schools."
-High Sierra Music Festival - Dates: Early July
"Held in Quincy, CA and celebrating its 20th festival, High Sierra launched as a roots-oriented festival with 20 artists on one main stage and has since evolved into to a 10,000 person event with more than 50 performers on four day-time stages and in four late-night venues. The Plumas-Sierra County Fairgrounds in Quincy provide on-site infrastructure with opportunities to swim, bike, fish, golf and hike in the vicinity of a quaint mountain town."
-Wolf Howl Music & Art Festival - Dates: August
-Aftershock Music Festival - Dates: Late October
-Adams Avenue Street Fair - Dates: Late September
-Free Folk Festival - Dates: Mid June
"The San Francisco Free Folk Festival was conceived in 1976 by the San Francisco Folk Music Club, which staged it for the first two years at the Hall of Flowers. It then moved to Fort Mason, where it remained for 13 years, before moving to the John Adams campus of City College until that venue became too small. Several years ago, the festival moved to Roosevelt Middle School where we had a long run. We were at CCSF's Ocean campus for two years before moving to our current home at Presidio MS in 2009. We've been known to have between 2,000 and 3,000 guests attending the event. It takes about 200 volunteers to stage the Festival." - Submit to Perform
-Gathering of the Tribes Festival - Dates: Mid August
-Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - Dates: Early October
-Music Expo - Dates: Mid November
"Music Expo is the premier music conference for recording musicians, producers, and engineers in the SF Bay Area with a full day of educational sessions and product demos." - Register
-Noise Pop Festival - Dates: Late February
"The Noise Pop Festival is San Francisco’s favorite indie music, arts and film festival. Now in its 20th year, Noise Pop has brought early exposure to many emerging artists in the Bay Area and beyond, many of whom have gone on to widespread acclaim. Some notable acts who have played Noise Pop include the White Stripes, Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins, Bright Eyes, Best Coast, Jeff Tweedy, The Dodos, Girls and Antony and The Johnsons. The festival has also featured musical legends such as Yoko Ono and The Plastic Ono Band, Bob Mould, Yo La Tengo, X, Frank Black (of the Pixies), Sleater-Kinney and Television." - Submit to Perform
-Outside Lands - Dates: August
-Red Marines Music Festival - Dates: Late June
"RM Electronic and Live Music Festival is a unique festival because it is the only event in San Francisco Bay Area that combines various musical genres and makes it appealing to everyone. A festival that treats listener’s ear with most intelligent alternative music performed by artists from all over the world and played on state of the art sound systems. It is a festival that enlightens, inspires, encourages art and involves local communities, supporting world greater causes. It is a festival that camps its visitors on a beautiful lake and provides entertainment for your whole family."
-Treasure Island Music Festival - Dates: Mid October
-Marin County Fair - Dates: Early July
"The Marin County Fair is renowned for its top headliner concerts that take place every night of the Fair and are included with Fair gate admission! Covering a wide range of musical genres and always crowd-pleasers that get audiences up on their feet, this year’s sensational musical performances will be no exception."
-Live Oak Music Festival - Dates: Mid June
"Each year, for three days, we create a magical community at Live Oak. Aside from the fun, the music and relaxation that we all experience in this wonderful place, what makes this community special is the way we are sensitive to and respectful of our neighbors. The spirit of the Live Oak Way relies on each of us being conscious of how our actions affect those around us." - Submit to Perform
-Lightning in a Bottle Festival - Dates: Late May
-Temecula Blues Festival - Dates: Late April
-Earth Jam Music Festival - Dates: Mid to late April
-Venice Spring Fling - Dates: Mid May
"Free outdoor festival featuring music, art, and dance at world famous Venice Beach boardwalk. A full day of world-class musical and dance entertainment, a large art show, fun attractions, food, book signings, hula hoops, and more!" - Submit to Perform
-Deserted at the Palms Festival - Dates: Mid May
"Take a trip to the Mojave Desert for a weekend of music at a dusty saloon oasis known as The Palms. This one-of-a-kind venue serves PBR on tap to a colorful crowd in a surreal cantina atmosphere. Between bands and strange encounters, enjoy art installations and unique vendors embedded in the festival. Parking and camping are both free."