Live music, warm weather, late nights, great food — is there anything better than music festival season? This wonderful time of year is already in full swing and will only pick up speed as the summer months approach. Spring offers a breath of fresh air for music fans who have spent all winter holed up in concert halls and live music clubs, impatiently waiting for the day when they can pack up the car, hit the road and enjoy a weekend away with other like-minded live music devotees.
This month, thousands of festivalgoers will make their annual pilgrimage to the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, a two-weekend event that takes place in Indio, California. If you plan on venturing there this year, count on big crowds — some 80,000 people attended last year’s event — and some difficulty digging up tickets to the sold-out event. Should your wanderlust crave a more contained California festival experience in the coming weeks, consider one of these smaller options in Indio or Palm Springs, a breezy SoCal city that’s just 30 minutes north.
Tachevah: A Palm Springs Block Party
Whether you’re planning to stay a few days after the first Coachella weekend, arrive a bit early for the second weekend or you simply plan to explore Palm Springs in between the massive festival’s two lineups, make a point to attend this open-air concert at Spa Resort Casino in Palm Springs. Indie rock band Passion Pit will headline the free, all-ages show with additional performances by local bands The Pedestrians, Tribesmen and You Me & Us. This inaugural event is arguably one of the best places to experience the local desert music scene while also catching a big-name act. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the music should end around 11 p.m. —leaving you with plenty of time to utilize the energy from the show by exploring the local nightlife scene. April 17
Stagecoach Country Music Festival
Think of this festival as a cousin of Coachella — one with a thick country twang and an affinity for Stetson hats and cowboy boots. This Empire Polo Club-held event attracts die-hard country music fans from all over the United States for three days of concerts, mouthwatering food competitions and family-friendly activities that keep the whole experience fun for the pint-sized festival attendees. The list of performers includes a good mix of bona fide country stars and up-and-coming songwriters, with a lineup of acts such as Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker, Dierks Bentley, The Charlie Daniels Band, Trace Adkins, Hank Williams Jr. and Justin Townes Earle. The Stagecoach Festival BBQ Championships add a tasty component to the weekend, with a home-style chili contest on Friday, a Texas-style BBQ contest on Saturday and a Kansas City Barbecue Society contest on Sunday. April 26-28
Brew at the Zoo
Remember all those fun zoo birthday parties you went to as a child? This is a grown-up version of that, and you don’t even have to worry about bringing a gift. “Saving wildlife one beer at a time” is the mission of this annual bash at The Living Desert, with proceeds benefiting the popular tourist attraction’s goal of preserving a portion of the Colorado Desert and the plants and animals that call it home. Raise your glass to sample premium craft beers from companies like Stone Brewing, nosh on tasty eats and enjoy R&B and rock ‘n roll from three stages. You can even get up close and personal with baby armadillos, hedgehogs and other animals. How many festivals can tout that as an activity? May 4
Photo Courtesy of Stagecoach Country Music Festival