California is an iconic land of snowy peaks, glistening beaches, road trips, soaring cliffs and hip, happening people. But that’s not all – it’s also the home of a whole range of exciting, innovative and unique festivals. Whether you fancy slurping on some wine, spotting some celebs, boogying away to some booming tunes, admiring some art or something else entirely, California has a fun and frenetic festival to tempt your taste buds. Californian festivals are ripe with variety, with events dedicated to food, wine, art, jazz, pop, rock, sports, fashion, craft beer, cinema, arts, award shows and plenty more.
Perhaps the most famous Californian festival is Coachella, a quintessential and historic music and arts event hosted annually in the heart of the golden desert since 1999. Previous performers have included massive names like Kanye West, Daft Punk, Madonna and Prince, with performances each year across the genres of pop, rock, electronica, hip hop, indie and more. Each festival also plays host to many amazing arts installations and events, so it’s not all about raving and misbehaving.
Among those who prefer a tipple or two, Festival Napa Valley is massively popular. The event holds a diverse range of arts and performances, but the main focus is wine, wine and… wine. The festival typically stretches over many days and features up to 100 wineries. So if you fancy slurping yourself silly with other wine buffs, food fans and art aficionados, this is the place to do it. Napa Valley, a hugely famous and important wine region in itself, also has plenty of other delectable and delicious events throughout the year.
For movers and groovers, there’s Monterey Jazz Fest, the longest-running jazz festival on the planet. More than 500 top jazz artists play each year and previous attendees have included legendary names like Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. The event also features lots of jazz-based conversations, panels, exhibitions and workshops.
Other festivals, like Pageant of the Masters, are particularly unique. In this quirky event, actors pose in an amphitheatre to recreate images from famous paintings. With the additional use of movement, narration, intricate sets and professional orchestras, these images are then brought to life in order to create unusual theatrical mirages of moving, living pictures.