Los Angeles Festivals Guide
Los Angeles Festivals Guide

The Los Angeles Festivals scene stacks up amongst the best cities in the country. From off the wall events like the Grilled Cheese Invitational to the largest reggae fest in the country, major dance music events out in the woods to street festivals that draw 50,000 people -- food, music, culture, art, you name it, LA has a festival for that. We've picked a few of our favorites for 2014 in this handy dandy guide to Los Angeles Festivals and annual events.

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JAN | FEB | MAR | APR | MAY | JUN | JUL | AUG | SEP | OCT | NOV | DEC

JANUARY

Tournament of Roses Parade & Rose Bowl

Going strong for over 100 years, the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena draws over one million spectators to watch the colorful flower-pedal covered floats and marching bands as they glide down through the city on New Year's Day. Taking place that afternoon, the Rose Bowl pits the top seeds from the NCAA Pac 10 against the Big 10 for a day of tailgating and college football.

Highlights
Local celebrities, international musical groups, award winning performers and LA's top mascots join in for the fun on the 2 hour parade route.

Location
Pasadena
Date(s)
New Year's Day
Details

FEBRUARY

Ragga Muffins Festival

With over 25,000 attendees annually, the Ragga Muffins Festival is recognized as the premiere and largest Reggae Festival in the US featuring top international artists, reggae legends and up and coming regional acts. The two-day Music and Arts Festival continues the tradition of honoring Bob Marley, and also offers an array of international arts and crafts, food and lifestyle vendors.

Highlights
Largest Reggae festival in the US.

Location
Long Beach
Date(s)
Late February
Details

Academy Awards

Oscar weekend is like Christmas in Los Angeles with the biggest celebrities in the world descending on the city for one special night of cameras, lights and awards. If you're hoping to get a spot in the seats overlooking the red carpet, mark your calendar to compete with the frenzied paparazzi as they're known to line up a week early.

Highlights
Some of the biggest, star-studded after parties of the year are held on Oscar Sunday with extravagant soirees planned to congratulate the big winners.

Location
Kodak Theater
Date(s)
Late February
Details

MARCH

Los Angeles Marathon

Spanning from Dodger Station to Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, the LA Marathon takes runners across 26 miles of beautiful LA scenery with a massive celebration at the finish line. Cheerleaders, performances, and snack stands along the route make the marathon more of a fun run for the more free-spirited competitors.

Highlights
2012 saw live band performances at various stops along the course, giving racers a chance to rock out as they ran for the finish line.

Location
All Across LA
Date(s)
Mid March
Details

APRIL

LA Beer Fest

The LA Beer Festival is exactly what you'd hope for in a beer festival: a day filled with beer, food, and music. The event features dozens of international and domestic beers, LA’s most popular food trucks, and two great bands. Every year the LA Beer Fest sells out quickly, so if you're hoping to get in on this year's event, snatch up your tickets early.

Highlights
Breweries from San Diego and NorCal brought rare seasonal brews to the 2012 LA Beer Fest for exclusive summer tastings.

Location
Paramount Studios
Date(s)
Early April
Details

Coachella

Southern California's flagship festival, Coachella, will be continuing the new two weekend tradition in 2013 with a double dose of rock, EDM, hip hop and more. Coachella boasts five large stages, an epic campground and an open-minded crowd that is ready to party. Although Coachella is about an hour from LA, Angelenos still like to take pride in being the closest city dwellers to the massive fest in the desert.

Highlights
2012 headliners included a holographic Tupac, Radiohead, the Black Keys, Avicii, Calvin Harris

Location
Indio, CA
Date(s)
Mid April
Details

THC Expose

THC Expose is a one-of-a-kind business to consumer show, with over 300 cannabis related businesses exhibiting their products and services to the Cannabis based consumer. What does that mean for the aficionado? THC and hemp products, food, fashion, guest speakers, music, live DJs, a special hemp museum exhibit, and 20 Hours of THC-defined movies.

Highlights
While businesses conduct B2B during the day, the public will be admitted on Friday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., then on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Location
LA Convention Center
Date(s)
Late April
Details

The Grilled Cheese Invitational

The Grilled Cheese Invitational (GCI) is the largest, craziest, and most exciting Grilled Cheese cooking contest in the country and is the best thing to happen to sliced cheese since sliced bread! The GCI promotes an almost scary pursuit of perfection in a Grilled Cheese Sammich and allows for amateur and professional chefs to compete side-by-side in the hopes of becoming a true Grilled Cheese Champion.

Highlights
The tastiest party you have been to in a long, long time. Yes, there is beer.

Location
Downtown LA
Date(s)
Late April
Details

Doo Dah Parade

The twisted sister of its saner Rose Parade counterpart, The Doo Dah parade was started as a grassroots event in 1978 to gain national attention for its eccentric and, often, irreverent satire. Enjoying popular acclaim in the Old Pasadena retail and entertainment district, inventive, zany, art cars and floats accompany a legion of frolickers past the mom-n-pop shops along their shady tree-lined streets.

Highlights
Reverence by imitation, now occurs with irreverence in Columbus, Ohio and Ocean City, New Jersey Doo Dah Parades.

Location
Pasadena
Date(s)
Late April
Details

MAY

Jazz Reggae Festival

Run entirely by UCLA students, each year the JazzReggae Festival brings together over 25,000 people for one amazing weekend. Combining music, food, art, community and culture, the festival brings artists like Lupe Fiasco, Little Dragon, Q-Tip, The Roots, Stephen Marley, Erykah Badu, Raphael Saadiq, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott, Nas and Damian Marley & many others.

Highlights
Big name talent, cheap tickets.

Location
UCLA Campus
Date(s)
Memorial Day Weekend
Details

Silver Lake Jubilee

In true Bohemian style, the Silver Lake Jubilee takes place under a bridge and showcases the eclectic character and artistic ethos of the neighborhood. Featuring live bands, DJs, comedians, cartoonists, ensemble readings, artists, gourmet food trucks and local vendors this festival is a great way to savor a slice of the LA hipster set.

Highlights
Previous headliners have included Geotic, Ceci Bastida, Ximena Sariñana, We Are The World and Crystal Antlers

Location
Silver Lake - duh!
Date(s)
Memorial Day Weekend
Details

JUNE

LA Wine Fest

The onset of summer in Los Angeles brings out the oenophiles in every corner of this city, heralded mostly by the LA Wine Fest. Two days of wine tasting occurs in Hollywood at raleigh Studios, bringing in wine from not only the favored wine producing communities of California (Sonoma, Napa, Central Coast), but far away places like France as well. Organizers ensure a good time is to be had with the addition of food trucks and musicians, regaling winos with delicious treats and tunes.

Highlights
Two days of wine tasting in Hollywood, featuring a host of California wineries, LA restaurants, and other vendors.

Location
Hollywood
Date(s)
Mid June
Details

Los Angeles Film Festival

The best in American and foreign cinema is showcased in this 10-day festival that boasts several world premiers and over 200 other films, documentaries and music videos. The Festival line-up will be announced in early May, 2012, so stay tuned!

Highlights
World premieres of over 200 American and Foreign films each year.

Location
Downtown LA
Date(s)
Late June
Details

LA Gay Pride

Things to expect from LA's Gay Pride: powerhouse divas on multiple stages, audacious drag queens, tanned and toned boys shaking it in something skimpy, highly danceable grooves, dance tents, drink tents and happy, clappy rainbow colors everywhere.

Highlights
Previous years have seen divas like Estelle & Mya belt out their classics at Pride, so expect this year's headliners to be just as amazing.

Location
West Hollywood
Date(s)
Late June
Details

LA Street Food Fest

Tacos. Pretzels. Ice Cream. Burgers. Smoothies. Fruit. Burritos. Hot Dogs. Veggie Delights. Beer. Gourmet bites. Popcorn. Bacon wrapped hot dogs. Cookies. French Fries. Cupcakes. The LA Street Food Fest celebrates the local foodie and events scene with a delicious good time in the Rose Bowl. The best part? It's all supporting independent business owners and charities around LA.

Highlights
The 2012 event included a beer garden, a tequila tasting on the infield and more to help wash down all that tasty street food.

Location
Rose Bowl in Pasadena
Date(s)
Late July
Details

JULY

BloomfestLA

The culmination of Art District’s maturity and the celebration of the life of local Joel Bloom, is BloomfestLA -- a festival of music, street art, crafts, and food. The 2012 edition of BloomfestLA is being sponsored by local radio station KCRW, who will be bringing in some stellar bands to perform. Previous years' line-ups read as a who’s who of indie bands including local LA favorite (and now national favorite) Grouplove. Not only will you be serenaded for free, but you’ll also have an opportunity to check out all of the nearby street art and local galleries during Bloomfest. As always, a host of LA food trucks will be on standby so you can quench your thirst with booze and stuff your faces with treats.

Highlights
Admission is completely free with all kinds of food trucks coming in from around town.

Location
Downtown LA Arts District
Date(s)
Late July
Details

The 6Man Volleyball Tournament

LA's favorite co-ed and not co-ed volleyball tournament is held in Manhattan Beach at the apex of summer, offering everyone involved the opportunity to party in the sand, admire the physiques of the talented athletes playing, and get a sight of the beauty that is Manhattan Beach. This is an all-weekend endeavor that spills into the bars, restaurants and local house parties from morning til night.

Highlights
Admission is completely free with all kinds of food trucks coming in from around town.

Location
Manhattan Beach
Date(s)
Late July
Details

AUGUST

US Open of Surfing

As one of the biggest surfing competitions in the nation, the US Open of Surfing brings the world's top wave junkies to Huntington Beach for a full day of surfing madness. But surfing isn't the only pull - skateboard challenges and live concert performances add to the mayhem. With 14-acres of festival grounds in 2012, the US Open of Surfing also featured art, interactive games and other beachside attractions.

Highlights
Sunset Strip closes for a few days to accomodate one the summer's most popular festivals.

Location
Huntington Beach Pier
Date(s)
Early August
Details

Sunset Strip Music Festival

The Sunset Strip Music Festival is the pinnacle of LA's music festivals, held in the heart of Hollywood, and at some of tinsel town's storied venues -- the House of Blues, The Roxy, The Viper Room and others. The line-up is varied and usually spans multiple popular genres, hearkening back to bygone eras of rock (for example, Motley Crue played the role of headliners). This concert series sells out to Angelenos and tourists alike, cramming people onto Sunset Boulevard as if the LA riots were back -- and amplified.

Highlights
Sunset Strip closes for a few days to accomodate one the summer's most popular festivals.

Location
Sunset Strip in Hollywood
Date(s)
Mid August
Details

HARD Summer Music Festival LA

In 2011, Gary Richards (DJ Destructo) introduced HARD Summer to Los Angeles with a massive two-day bass fest at LA State Historic Park. This year, many of the same producers, DJs and performers that made he last two years so awesome are back for another round. Expect a huge list of DJ names on the bill for the 3rd annual Hard Summer - you can bet that LA will shake with the sounds of EDM this August.

Highlights
2013 Headliners include Justice, Bassnectar, Knife Party and Dog Blood - Click here to see the full HARD Summer 2013 Lineup

Location
LA State Historic Park
Date(s)
8/3 - 8/4
Details

Long Beach Blues Festival

Celebrating a classic American art form for three decades, the Long Beach Blues Festival has become one of the premier blues and jazz events in the country and showcases the top talent in the genre today.

Highlights
Chuck Berry himself graced the stage last year, so expect some pretty illustrious folks to be beltin' out the blues at this one.

Location
Long Beach
Date(s)
Mid August
Details

The New LA Folk Festival

The Los Angeles folk music scene is picking up a lot of steam these days, culminating in The New L.A. Folk Festival at Zorthian Ranch. Amid a fitting western atmosphere, folk aficionados can sunbathe, swim, and listen to an expansive line-up of local folksters in this intimate ranch venue setting. It's the perfect place to escape the hardships of urbanity and play, if only for a weekend.

Highlights
The best of LA's folk scene converges upon Zorthian Ranch for two days of music and lots of hipster watching.

Location
Zorthian Ranch
Date(s)
Mid August
Details

Mad Decent Block Party

Mad Decent, the Diplo-backed electronic music label, is back with another round of massive block parties in 2013, showcasing all of the insane talent from their stacked roster of DJs, producers and hip hoppers. This summer, the Mad Decent crew is taking their party all across the US and Canada, hitting up LA on September 14th with some of the biggest names in trap, moombahton, electro and beyond.

Highlights
2103 Headliners include Major Lazer, Big Gigantic, Riff Raff, Matt & Kim - Click here for the full scoop on Mad Decent 2013

Location
Downtown LA
Date(s)
Late August
Details

SEPTEMBER

FYF Fest

FYF Fest (originally F**k Yeah Fest) has quickly become one of LA's favorite fall-time music festivals. Taking place at the beginning of Fall each year in LA, FYF brings the biggest indie rock gods and electronic music legends to the City of Angels for two days of music and fun under the sun. With plenty of food vendors, beer gardens and attractions to keep you entertained, FYF Fest has everything you're looking for in a music festival and more.

Highlights
2013 headliners include My Bloody Valentine, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV On the Radio, MGMT, Beach House

Location
LA State Historic Park
Date(s)
8/24 - 8/25
Details

Taste of Los Angeles

A four day culinary spectacle of unlimited food, beer, wine and spirits, where dozens of LA's top chefs set up stalls at the annual gastro-charity and dole out cuisine for hundreds of hungry foodies. Never fear, mixology and craft beer also play a big part, with bartenders from LA's top watering holes -- like The Spare Room and 1886 Bar -- shaking up summertime adult beverages all afternoon long.

Highlights
This may be the fest to spring for VIP tickets, with special sections, previews of yet-to-be opened restaurant and hobnobbing with "Top Chef" winners.

Location
Restaurants All Across LA
Date(s)
Labor Day Weekend
Details

Pacific Festival

The Pacific Festival is one of the LA area's newest music fests, with a decidedly smaller lineup in 2012 compared to the inaugural 2011 event. Still, the Pacific Festival brings in top hipster-friendly acts for DJ sets and live performances on the beach. Although it's not confirmed, we're crossing our fingers for the return in of Pacific Festival in 2013.

Highlights
2012 headliners included Mayer Hawthorne, Poolside, Bag Raiders, Yacht, Dale Earnheardt Jr. Jr.

Location
Newport Dunes Resort
Date(s)
Labor Day Weekend
Details

Riot LA Comedy Festival

RIOT is a weekend long comedy festival to take place along an entire city block of downtown LA in an eclectic set of venues. This festival showcases some of today's best comedic talent in the country to a wider audience—providing mass exposure to a thriving alternative comedy scene.

Highlights
Want this celebration of underground comedy to happen? Organizers are looking for donations, big or small, so check the website to contribute. Support your local comedians!

Location
Downtown LA
Date(s)
Mid September
Details

Abbott Kinney Festival

Venice Beach, one of LA's most diverse and eccentric communities, hosts an annual music, food, and shopping festival where by Abbott Kinney is cordoned off for pedestrian pleasures. You can dine at many of the local and acclaimed restaurants that line its sidewalk, bask in the glow of a local Los Angeles band, frequent one of many beer gardens usually set-up, and check out the many shops that open their doors for this special event.

Highlights
Venice artists, musicians, restaurants, and shop oweners open up their neighborhood for a day.

Location
Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice
Date(s)
Late September
Details

OCTOBER

FILTER Culture Collide

If you were ever curious about what the indie music scene in Austraila, or say, Iran were like, then get a sneak peak at Culture Collide, Filter magazine's music festival. This nascent fest brings bands from all over the globe, including LA, to the Echo Park venues you know and love for a week-long music extravaganza. Tickets are relatively inexpensive, but for those of you who don't want to pay for such a varied line-up, the festival is usualy topped off with a free block party open to all ages.

Highlights
2013 headliners include Phoenix, Dinosaur Jr., The Raveonettes, Miami Horror and more - Click here to check out the full 2013 lineup

Location
Echo Park
Date(s)
10/9 - 10/12
Details

Eagle Rock Music Festival

Now in its 13th year, Eagle Rock Music Festival is a celebration of eclecticism and creativity in music genres ranging from rock, to electronic, experimental, folksy/whatever-stuff and beyond. For one night only, ten different venues ranging from auto-shops and formal stages to historical buildings and balconies open their doors to host both well known acts playing alongside offbeat bands.

Highlights
Last year's highlights included Boom Bip, Daddy Kev, Flying Lotus, Miracle Parade and more

Location
Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock
Date(s)
Early October
Details

LA Decompression

Every year, about a month after Burning Man, burners from across LA come back together to "decompress" from their time in Black Rock City with eclectic music, art and more in the heart of Downtown. If you're not into the whole Burning Man lifestyle, don't sweat it - everyone is welcome at Decompression and you'll hear all types of music ranging from eclectic world beats to glitchy bass-infused dubstep and drum n' bass.

Highlights
Multiple stages, hundreds of art structures and some of the best underground DJs in SoCal.

Location
LA State Historic Park
Date(s)
Mid October
Details

LA Beer Week

The 4th annual Beer Week celebrates local beer establishments, breweries, beer cuisine, restaurants and education on all things related to beer culture. This massive, multi-venue bash sees a ton of brew-houses, bars, and restaurants from LA to Orange County hosting special beer pairings, holding tasting events, and more.

Highlights
Save room for the Grand Finale, The LA Beer Week Beer Festival at Historic Union Station featuring over 70 local, regional, national, and international Craft and Artisan breweries.

Location
LA & Orange County
Date(s)
Late October
Details

Zombie Walk Long Beach

Halloween means so many things to different people, but for the zombie-lover, the Long Beach Zombie Walk is where you want to be. The largest such event in the greater Los Angeles area, the zombie walk spills onto the street of Long Beach, marked by a lot of drunk undead, and ends in a festival to continue boozing and shmoozing among your zombie cohorts. There is also a giant group dance to Michael Jackson's "Thriller," just to sweeten an already wickedly awesome deal.

Highlights
Zombie walk + concert + music festival = fun

Location
Long Beach
Date(s)
Late October
Details

West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval

The largest Halloween street party in the world happens in West Hollywood, located in the Los Angeles County Region. Each year, more than 500,000 people take to the streets of Santa Monica Boulevard to enjoy the craziest, most eccentric costume creations ever. The big draws of the evening are the Halloween Costume Contest and crowning of an Honorary "Queen of the Carnaval." It's WeHo, so when they say it gets creative, we mean you better 'bring it', son!

Highlights
In 2011, hundreds of thousands filled Santa Monica Boulevard, where MTV treated them to a surprise concert by Swedish pop star Robyn.

Location
West Hollywood
Date(s)
Halloween
Details

NOVEMBER

HARD Day of the Dead

Taking over for HARD Haunted Mansion, Day of the Dead is the newest annual Halloween event hosted by Gary Richard (DJ Destructo). With a recent move from the Shrine Auditorium to the LA Historic Park and an expansion to 2 days of music, HARD is attempting to squeeze a whole lot of EDM into one weekend of debauchery. Taking place in November this year, HARD Day of the Dead has presented its biggest lineup ever.

Highlights
2013 lineup includes Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Eric Prydz, Skrillex

Location
LA State Historic Park
Date(s)
Early November
Details

Dia de Los Muertos

With one of the largest hispanic populations in the nation, Los Angeles goes all out to celebrate el Dia de Los Muertos, with theater performances, workshops, art competitions and more going down on Olvera Street and at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Highlights
Expect to see skull-face make-up galore and live music as the city glams up with spooky/spiritual costumes to help get into the vibe of the holiday.

Location
Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Date(s)
First Saturday in November
Details

DECEMBER

Santacon LA

Santacon is an annual, now worldwide celebration of Santa Claus wherein hundreds of revelers dress up like Kris Kringle and commit wanton acts of intoxicated debauchery in bars and on street corners across the city. Sound awesome? That's because it is.

Highlights
In case we didn't spell it out, this is basically a massive city wide bar crawl, with every venue along the route offering drink specials, in true Christmas spirit.

Location
All Across LA
Date(s)
Mid December
Details

FMLY Fest

This two-day music and arts festival, takes place right before NYE 2012 (Dec 29/30) at two different locations (Catnap / Chuco's), do-it-yourself music/art/biking event has a line-up boasting 45 bands from various parts of the country, a promising dance party with 2,500 bodies, a zine library, an art gallery, interactive art installations, and a series of workshops at your disposal.

Highlights
We highly recommend the chill-out tent with experimental and ambient live performances, perfect for a break from the chaos!

Location
Downtown LA
Date(s)
Late December
Details







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