It’s only a matter of time and rising summer temps before Fresnans start their annual weekend exodus toward the Central Coast. It’s called Fresno West (and not just by us) for a reason.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve put together this coastal concerts list. Here are four shows that are totally worth planning a trip around. Most places along the Central Coast are less than three hours away. So, you can see a weeknight concert and still make it home in time for work the next morning without being too hardcore.
Monterey International Pop Festival (June 16-18, Monterey County Fairgrounds) – There are several reasons this three-day festival is worth the trip. For one, it’s a joint production from Goldenvoice and Another Planet (the creative minds behind Coachella, Desert Trip and Outside Lands) and has a lineup that includes Leon Bridges, Father John Misty, Jack Johnson, Nora Jones, Phil Lesh and Gary Clark Jr. (and dozens of others).
It’s also a one-off anniversary show in the vein of Woodstock ’94 (and not Woodstock ’99 one hopes). It celebrates the 50th anniversary of the original Monterey Pop Festival, the famed Summer of Love concert that introduced Jimi Hendrix and The Who to American audiences and was the first time Californians really got a sense of what Janis Joplin could do. Word is Clark Jr. will cover Hendrix and Bridges will do Otis Redding.
Quiet Riot (July 7, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk) – The boardwalk has a free “Bands on the Beach” concert each Friday night through September. The schedule is heavy with classic rock, so if Quiet Riot isn’t your thing (even if the band is now fronted by American Idolist James Durbin) you can take your pick from Eddie Money (June 16), Great White (June 30), Blue Oyster Cult (July 14), Y&T (Aug. 4) or one of a half-dozen others.
Chainsmokers (July 21, California Mid-State Fair) – California’s Mid-State Fair is pretty consistent in bringing a stacked lineup to Paso Robles. This year, that includes the super- mega-popular EDM duo Chainsmokers, plus Lionel Richie (July 19), Zac Brown Band (July 20), Kid Rock (July 23), John Mayer (July 24) and Keith Urban (July 26). Check the full lineup if you care about Matchbox Twenty or the Counting Crows.
AFI (Aug. 2, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles) – The Bay Area’s best post-garage-skate-pop-horror-hardcore-emo-screamo-goth-alternative-punk rock band (and specifically its new album) was on my list of pop-culture anticipations for the year, so of course I was excited to see this show pop up at in Paso Robles. It is not the only hip/cool concert happening at the amphitheater this summer. See also: Slayer (Aug. 8), Idina Menzel (Aug. 27), Gipsy Kings (Sept. 9) and the Shins (Sept. 28).