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Sounds of Summer

By Colin Reid, Anneta Konstantinides, Jessica McQueen, and Lynn Chu

July 30, 2012 12:25 a.m.

Childhood summers used to be filled with Slip ‘n Slides, zip lines and hikes at summer camp, and so much time spent in the pool that our skin turned to prunes. For those who are willing to get their skin back to that California bronze and return to the great outdoors, there’s a mecca of musical festivals popping up throughout the Golden State. Whether it’s R&B, indie rock or electronic, the biggest music events of the summer have something for everyone.

HARD Summer
Aug. 3-4, 6 p.m. ““ 2 a.m., Los Angeles State Historic Park

With more than 50 live bands and DJs performing simultaneously on four stages, the Hard Summer Music Fest has come a long way from its inception back in 2007. Simply called “Hardfest” by fans, the festival’s alternative rock, techno and electronic dance music will reverberate through 32 acres of Los Angeles’ State Historic Park for two days, a first in the festival’s history. Sets including the indie rock band Bloc Party, Swedish electronic group Little Dragon, DJs Boys Noize and Skrillex and many more will be featured. Free Metro Rail fare is also included with the purchase of a $129 two-day pass or $75 one-day pass, leaving no excuse not to attend what is sure to be an unforgettable weekend.

Outside Lands
Aug. 10-12, Golden Gate Park (San Francisco)

Outside Lands isn’t just a place for music fans but also wine and food connoisseurs. This year’s three-day festival features a sample of the Bay Area’s cuisine ranging from Evergood hot links and parmesan fries to BBQ oysters and drinks from more than 25 local wineries. With headliners like music legend Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Bloc Party, Skrillex and Justice, Outside Lands will be a sensation for all ears yearning for some summer music therapy. The festival’s location at Golden Gate Park offers Southern California residents the perfect opportunity to road trip up north. Three-day passes start at $225 with single-day tickets available for $95 each.

Identity Festival
Aug. 17, Shoreline Amphitheatre (Mountain View)
Aug. 18, Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre (San Diego)

Making history in 2011 as the first traveling electronic music festival in the U.S., Identity Festival brought major DJs such as Steve Aoki, Kaskade, and Avicii together in the kind of jam-packed set that used to only be seen by the ambitious Vegas club-hopper on a holiday weekend. With tour dates set in Cincinnati, Ohio and Bristow, Va., along with major cities such as Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia, ID Fest is letting fans across the nation get their share of filthy beats and heart-pounding bass drops. California fans can expect to see the likes of Porter Robinson, Bingo Players, Eric Prydz and a number of other major DJs. And with tickets still on sale for $60, even the most frugal fans can still get their dance on.

Rock The Bells
Aug. 18-19, NOS Events Center (San Bernardino)
Aug. 25-26, Shoreline Amphitheatre (Mountain View)

Started eight years ago with the reunited Wu-Tang Clan gracing the stage, Rock the Bells hosts its annual hip-hop and R&B festival with yet another impressive lineup of more than 25 artists. The festival is headlined by noteworthy talents including Kid Cudi, Nas and Wiz Khalifa with other artists who have actually performed at UCLA in the past, including J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy and Casey Veggies. General admission tickets start at $184 and go up to a jaw-dropping $984 (for those looking to snatch up a two-day High Roller VIP pass). As a small festival teaser, Rock the Bells released a free mixtape on its official site last week featuring exclusive tracks from attending artists.

FYF Fest
Sept. 1-2, Los Angeles State Historic Park

FYF Fest, an annual local indie music festival, began eight years ago with a lineup of only 13 bands spread across Echo Park. The scattered stages shifted to one location, L.A.’s State Historic Park, as the lineup continued to expand. While previous lineups were punk-heavy, boasting artists such as the Bronx and the Descendents, this year’s festival offers concert-goers more than 70 comedians, bands and artists ranging from indie rock and pop to electronic. Festival highlights include Beirut, James Blake, Wild Flag and M83, as well as comedians B.J. Novak and David Cross.
Weekend passes for the now two-day festival are $89, giving attendees plenty of time to catch their favorite sets and leftover cash to enjoy the many vendor booths and food trucks also offered.

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Colin Reid
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