Los Angeles Music Festivals

Concert at the Hollywood Bowl
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

There is great music going on in Los Angeles all the time, so it's no surprise that Los Angeles and surrounding cities also host some great music festivals. Jazz dominates, but blues, folk, cajun, reggae, and experimental music all get their showcase. There are many other festivals and street fairs with music as a significant component, but here are the top Los Angeles festivals with music as their primary focus listed by month.

01 of 20

Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest

Banjo player on stage
Kayte Deioma,

Over 100 instrumental and singing contestants compete on three stages at the annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest. The event takes place in May at the Paramount Ranch near Agoura Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area. In addition to the music competitions, there are folk performances, jam sessions under the trees, a Dance Barn and a children's craft area.

02 of 20

Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival

The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival takes place annually on Memorial Day weekend in May. The 2-day event features Blues, Cajun and Creole stages as well as food and craft vendors and a Kids Zone.

03 of 20

UCLA JazzReggae Festival

The UCLA JazzReggae Festival takes place each year over Memorial Day Weekend in May. The two-day outdoor event on the UCLA campus includes a line-up of top reggae artists.

04 of 20

Dog Star Orchestra Festival of Experimental Music

The annual Dog Star Orchestra is a two-week celebration of current orchestral and experimental composers that takes place at locations in Los Angeles, Valencia, Lancaster and out at Vasquez Rocks in Santa Clarita. Dozens of new works and rarely performed pieces are performed each year in June. This event is organized rather casually by musicians for musicians, so it has a very organic feel. Don't expect a highly produced event. Think of it as watching an orchestral experimental jam session, and just hope they get the schedule online so you can see when the events are.

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05 of 20

Playboy Jazz Festival

The Playboy Jazz Festival is an annual 2-day event that takes place in June at the Hollywood Bowl featuring a full day of music each day. Each day requires a separate ticket. You can often find early discount tickets at Goldstar.com

06 of 20

The Long Beach Bayou Festival

The Long Beach Bayou Festival celebrates Cajun, Zydeco, New Orleans jazz and blues. The event takes place for two days at the end of June at the Rainbow Lagoon next to the Long Beach Convention Center.

07 of 20

Summerfest in Venice Beach

Summerfest is a two-day music and food festival on the Venice Beach Boardwalk. The event takes place each July, with about 60 bands playing multiple stages and hundreds of vendors.

08 of 20

Central Avenue Jazz Festival

The Central Avenue Jazz Festival takes place annually in July in South Los Angeles. The free, family-friendly event features, jazz, blues and Latin jazz from high school bands to internationally renowned musicians.

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09 of 20

iPalpiti Annual International Laureates Music Festival

The acclaimed iPalpiti Orchestral Ensemble of International Laureates from 20 countries is featured in solo, chamber, and orchestra concerts over a 10 day period at venues around Beverly hills and Los Angeles with a Grand Finale at the Disney Hall. The iPalpiti International Laureates Music Festival takes place during a two-week period in July or August.

10 of 20

Hard Summer and Day of the Dead

Hard Summer and Hard Day of the Dead are two 2-day EDM and alternative music festivals that happen around the last weekend in July or first weekend in August and the first weekend in November, respectively, at the Fairplex in Pomona (venue may change year to year).

11 of 20

FYF Fest

FYF Fest is a 2-day music festival featuring a mix of punk, hardcore, indie and EDM artists every August. The venue has not been consistent, so click the link above to find out where it's happening this year.

12 of 20

Long Beach Jazz Festival

The Long Beach Jazz Festival takes place every year in August at the Rainbow Lagoon Park next to the Hyatt Hotel and Long Beach Convention Center. The two-day outdoor festival includes product vendors and food booths.

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13 of 20

Shoreline Jam in Long Beach

Held back to back with the Long Beach Funkfest at the Queen Mary Events Park in Long Beach on Labor Day Weekend in September, the Shoreline Jam is a laid-back event that leans toward ska and white reggae bands. 

14 of 20

Watts Towers Jazz Festival and Day of the Drum Festival

Watts Towers Day of the Drum and Watts Towers Jazz Festival take place back to back in September for one day each on a Saturday and Sunday respectively at Simon Rodia's Watts Towers in South Los Angeles.

15 of 20

Buskerfest

Buskerfest is a street music festival in the East Village in Long Beach, where most of the bands perform with minimum amplification on the back of flatbed trucks, and attendees vote on their favorite street performers. It takes place each year in early September as part of Long Beach Summer and Music

16 of 20

LA Skins Music and Film Festival

The LA Skins Music Festival is a showcase of Native American musical talent in LA, run each September in conjunction with the LA Skins Film Festival and the Skins Stand Up Comic Showcase.

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17 of 20

Angel City Jazz Festival

The Angel City Jazz Festival takes place at multiple over several days at the end of September or beginning of October, culminating in a day-long event at the Ford Amphitheatre.

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LA Bluegrass Situation

LA Bluegrass Situation is a one or two-night celebration of bluegrass music that takes place each October in LA. Venues vary.

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Catalina Island JazzTrax

The Catalina Island JazzTrax festival takes place over three weekends in October at the Avalon Casino Ballroom on Catalina Island. The event focuses on contemporary smooth jazz. Prices are per session and per weekend.

20 of 20

Mariachi Plaza Festival in Boyle Heights

The annual Mariachi Festival takes place in November in the bandstand at Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights, a neighborhood in East Los Angeles. The daytime event features local and international mariachi bands performing one after the other and occasionally together. This event should not be confused with the nighttime Mariachi USA Festival in June at the Hollywood Bowl.

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