Monday, February 25, 2019

SoCal Spring Music Fest Preview

Inventive and rousing art installations are always a part of
Coachella. Photo: Robert Kinsler
Over the next few months music lovers have a wonderful choice of highly-anticipated festivals coming to Southern California including Coachella, Stagecoach, Joshua Tree Music Festival, Doheny Blues Festival and more.

Here is a roundup of recommended events worth attending this spring and summer.

Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival - The most influential and groundbreaking music festival in North America, Coachella returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio the weekends of April 12-14 and 19-21, 2019. This year's Coachellafest is one of the most interesting in memory with the far-flung likes of Australian psychedelic rockers Tame Impala, R&B-meets-pop singer Ariana Grande, alt rockers Weezer, soul-funk singer Janelle MonĂ¡e, English rock troupe the 1975, country music songstress Kacey Musgraves and many more artists on the bill. And the inclusion of a wide variety of creative and larger-than-life art exhibitions is always part of the magic of going to Coachella. This writer has attended Coachella a dozen times and the event always offers an incredible experience. Information:

Dusk at Coachella. Photo: Robert Kinsler

Jason Aldean performing in Irvine,
CA, in 2012. Photo: Kelly A. Swift

Stagecoach - California's biggest (and best) Country music festival returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio the weekend of April 26-28, 2019. Mainstream country favorites Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt and Jason Aldean are the official headliners but don't be surprised if Southern Rock greats Lynyrd Skynyrd draw an equally-strong reception when they tear down the event ("Free Bird"!) on Saturday night. Other notables on the three-day bill include acclaimed singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe, Cole Swindell, songstress Cam (who impressed at the NAMM Show in Anaheim earlier this year), emerging greats the Wild Feathers and genre-defying singer Tom Jones. Information:

Like Totally Festival - Those looking to attend a festival weighted heavily on the sounds of New Wave, power pop, New Romantic and early alternative rock can head to Huntington Beach for the aptly-titled Like Totally Festival. Setting up on the shores of Surf City from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, the one-day event will featuring a stellar lineup of '80s faves including the Bangles, the Smithereens, and Public Image LTD. Other notables on the bill include ABC, the Romantics, the Greg Kihn Band and Kim Wilde. Information:

Guitarist Jim Babjak and drummer Dennis Diken of The Smithereens
will bring their timeless brand of rock to the Like Totally Festival
on Saturday, May 11. Photo: Bob Steshetz
Vintage Trouble is set to perform
at the Joshua Tree Music Festival
and at Doheny Blues Festival.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Joshua Tree Music Festival - The 17th Annual Spring Joshua Tree Music Festival will host a diverse lineup including Los Angeles-spawned rock 'n' soul modern day heroes Vintage Trouble, trance dance act My Baby, synth-soul's Night Glitter and local faves Desert Rhythm Project are among the musical greats bound for the Joshua Tree Music Festival, May 16-19. The four-day event is a family friendly-minded festival coming to the Mojave Desert and is being held at the Joshua Tree Lake RV & Campground located in Joshua Tree. Information:

Brandon "Taz" Niederauer will
perform at Doheny Blues Fest.
Photo: Bob Steshetz

Doheny Blues Festival - Returning to beautiful Sea Terrace Park in the coastal community of Dana Point is one of the state's best live music events; Doheny Blues Festival will be held the weekend of May 18-19.  I've been attending the Doheny Blues Fest since the inaugural event was held in 1998. The lineup for the 2019 event is terrific. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals headline on Saturday, May 18 while Jonny Lang closes out the action on Sunday, May 19. The wide-ranging lineup includes Taj Mahal, the Robert Cray Band, Vintage Trouble, North Mississippi AllStars and British blues icon John Mayall. It's not an exaggeration to say that 15-year-old singer-guitar virtuoso Brandon "Taz" Niederauer is one of the greatest blues-rock guitarists this writer has ever seen. Still in his mid-teens, he is the equal of many of the genre's greatest-ever names and should not be missed. Information:

Robert Kinsler

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