If you’re into music, and let’s face it we all are one way or another, the Bay Area and San Francisco is a go-to destination. The fantastic climate, the long summer days and a city that has had its vibe in the latest musical culture since the 1960s is the place to be.

Choosing a few of the festivals to talk about is a thankless task, you’re bound to miss something everyone says ‘how could you have missed…’ but honestly, if you want it, you can find live music all over the bay throughout the season. The Stern Grove Festival 2018 had highlighters from Ziggy Marley to the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra – really there’s something here for everyone.
Outside Lands

Outside Lands is a big deal festival. It is spread over three days and held in Golden Gate Park in August. This weekend long party has settled into a groove of big-name headliners plus lots of other attractions. Where else would you see Metallica and Belle and Sebastian share a venue. 2018 main draw was Janet Jackson, Florence and the Machine and The Weekend. 2019 schedule is still in planning, but at least put this festival in the back of your mind if you want to see a huge concert and San Francisco together.

Photo Credit: By Edward Betts – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Treasure Island Music Festival

The other really big concert in its own right is the Treasure Island Music Festival. This festival takes place in October, so you can still get there if you want to, but only Tier 3 tickets are available everything else is sold out. The line-up is broad and eclectic, Laff Trax (Toro y Moi X Nosaj Thing) to Courtenay Barnett by way of Silk City which is Diplo and Mark Ronson to you and me.

This festival is located on Treasure Island in the middle of the bay, so there are rules on transport. Check out the festival website for the instructions.

Photo Credit: By Tyler Love [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2018 lineup

IF you’re beginning to get the idea Golden Gate is a music festival venue, you’re absolutely right. It is the host to the wonderfully named festival Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Magically this event is free and is in early October. The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2018 lineup includes heavyweights Alison Krauss and Ani Di Franco so plan to get there early and maybe stay late too.

San Francisco Jazz Center

Jazz is a huge part of the music scene in San Francisco. The vibrant San Francisco Jazz Center known as SFJAZZ Center is a hub for all thing Jazz all year, but also the organizer of the Jazz Festival. This year’s festival was the 36th annual and was held back in June. But visit their center for all that’s happening in Jazz between now and the end of the year.

SFJazz might be the biggest but it isn’t the only Jazz festival. Fillmore St, which is a destination on its own, it is almost like a Parisian street with its café society and cool offbeat shopping. But if that wasn’t enough the weekend long festival is one of the top June events in San Francisco.

The dates for the 2019 event are already posted June 29 and 30, but you’ll need to wait a while for the line-up.

Photo Credit: By Ari Margolis – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

It is guaranteed then, there is a music scene happening for you in SF

The Bay Area is much more than San Francisco so there are other festivals up and down the peninsula you might want to check out.

If you’re planning a trip to wine country in May 2019 Bottlerock is the major event  to kick off the summer. It is quite the wine-centric and foodie event, chances are you’ll find some craft-y things there too, but there’s also serious music, the Bottlerock lineup for 2018 included The Killers and Bruno Mars, gotta kiss myself I’m so pretty.

Heading south down the peninsula San Jose is not about to outdone when it comes to summer music festivals. Always at the height of the summer so you’re guaranteed great weather as well as a great time. The event always has a broad array of age ranged things to do and see, so the best thing to do is check out the official site from the end of the first quarter next year.

The music scene in the Bay Area is alive and as you can see now there are loads of individual events to pique your interest, there’s always arts and music events going on.

We haven’t covered classical music at all, but the Symphony under artistic director Michael Tilson-Thomas is a world-class orchestra settle in Symphony Hall. The San Francisco Ballet has been charming the monde-ballet since 1933.

San Francisco Opera – known as SFOpera, of course, has big operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci in September this year, and Tosca in October.

Photo Credit: By Roberto Arias from Sydney, Australia – San Francisco Opera House, CC BY 2.0,

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