Our 5 Favorite Northern California Festivals

Our 5 Favorite Northern California Festivals

As festival enthusiasts and curators we have some pretty high standards for the events we like to attend. Luckily, we’re surrounded by other event producers who are doing some really impressive things that are unique from Enchanted Forest yet also aligned with the things we love most about festivals. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorites in the area to share with you so you can continue the fun all summer long! This list is by no means complete and there are a lot of special events in Northern California, but here’s a sampling of a few NorCal favorites.

Emissions Festival

Date: May 11 – 14

Location: Belden Town

You’ll be drenched in bass at Emissions Festival’s 10th anniversary. Hosted by one of the most renowned sound camps on the Playa, Camp Questionmark. Camp Q are seasoned experts in musical curration that combines weird with heavy. Held in the legendary Belden Town, a cozy scenic spot located near Quincy in Plumas County. This quiet little town of 26 people transforms into a round the clock party for the weekend. You’ll love falling asleep to the sound of the nearby train whistling. Direct access to the Feather River is a great way to cool off and also a home to a crackin’ day party. Emissions brings a selection of West Coast Bass, UK Dubstep, and much much more. Emissions focus is on heavy hitting sound systems, stacked lineups and celebrating freedom of expression for all. This is not a place where you’re likely to be taking yoga and permaculture workshops.

Raindance Campout

Date: September 21 – 24

Location: Leggett

Raindance is a special little event that’s been a bit nomadic but long held place in the hearts of Northern California’s festival goers. This tight family of music enthusiasts has been putting on their festival for the past 13 years and have inspired a lot of events that have followed. Their lineup unites both lovers of bass and house music, with lots of in between sounds as well. Traditionally this event caps around 1000 people and has a very intimate feel, like a big, crazy family reunion. Come for the state of the art sound, stay for the new friends and killer vibes. This year Raindance will be held in Leggett, at the same venue as last year, another beautiful spot very fitting container to the feel of this festival.

HeART & SOULstice Gathering

Date: June 22 – 25

Location: Frogtown, Angels Camp

A celebration of arts, music, and knowledge, HeART & SOULstice emphasizes such values as self-care and community. As the name suggests this festival is also a celebration of the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Like Raindance, HeART & SOULstice is a smaller gathering with a nod to the underground scene. Among the courses offered will be a music producers workshop area and a flow arts zone. After a year long break, HeART & SOULstice is moving to a new venue, Frogtown! This new spot is chock full of amenities such as hot showers, RV hookups, and shady camping spots (all the best festival perks). Even though this is a smaller event, their lineup this year is full of some juicy favorites such as Polish Ambassador, Clozee and Desert Dwellers.

Northern Nights Festival

Dates: July 20 – 22

Location: Cooks Valley Campground

Northern Nights is a melting pot of the different subcultures of Northern California, bringing a unique twist to an old favorite recipe. Located right off CA 101 and nestled directly on the line between Mendocino and Humboldt counties, this venue is a perfect slice of Northern California beauty. Cooks Valley Campground is surrounded by redwood trees and bordered by the Eel River. Northern Nights features an eclectic blend of music including many shades of electronic, Hip Hop, Live bands. 

Reggae on the River

One of the oldest running Northern California Festival, Reggae on the River has put on their event for 32 years! Held just up the road from Northern Nights, Humboldt county is a perfect home for this reggae focused event. ROTR has recently partnered with High Times Productions to bring you the highest grade artists from all over the world. Reggae on the River also focuses on outreach to the birthplace of reggae, Jamaica. Since 2015 they have sent $15,000 to charity programs geared toward assisting and teaching the local youth. They’ve also made donations (provided by festival attendees) of supplies for gardening, school, and kitchen. ROTR also provides assistance to local Humboldt charities and is a fundraiser for the Mateel Community Center which provides “arts, educational, youth, and social service programs to the rural communities of Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino Counties” (from their website). Although ROTR hasn’t announced their 2018 dates yet, this festival is an important cornerstone to the local festival world, and always worth mentioning.

Zac Krohn

Born and raised in the Northern Bay Area, Zac started out blogging as a founding member of West Coast based Booms and Claps. His first festival, Earthdance, planted the seeds for an ever growing passion for all the weird sounding music and open heart connections that can be discovered at these gatherings. Can often be found dancing around with a camera capturing all the excitement of festival culture.

Comments: 2

  • Ananda
    Reply May 14, 2018 6:03 am

    Is Reggae On The River actually gonna happen this year? The website looks vacant of all the usual pre-show info including artists, and ways to contact the production team.

    • Megan Pru
      Reply May 16, 2018 5:35 pm

      Not sure… we have heard rumors that it will be back but nothing concrete yet.

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