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Los Angeles Daily News Feature: 5 California music festivals you can recreate at home, from Coachella to BottleRock
Normally in April we are getting ready to kick off music festival season with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. That was obviously before the coronavirus pandemic and all gatherings were ordered canceled in the name of public safety.
While many of the musical events that normally dot the springtime, such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Southern California and BottleRock Napa Valley, have been rescheduled for the fall, it’s not quite the same.
So while we’re all staying at home, here’s how to tap into that big festival energy and recreate five California music festivals in your living room in the era of social distancing.
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
The twin festivals were supposed to happen at the Empire Polo Club in Indio April 10-12 and 17-19, but have now been moved to Oct. 9-11 and 16-18 with Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean topping the bill.
What to watch: There’s a new Coachella documentary, available on YouTube as of April 10, the day the festival was supposed to start, that looks back at 20 years of the festival’s history. youtube.com/coachella
For the audiophiles out there, check out the new “Record Safari” documentary about Alex Rodriguez, who travels the country buying vinyl for Coachella’s on-site record store. recordsafarithemovie.com.
For performances, there’s the “Coachella” concert film the festival put out in 2006 available for rent on Prime Video. It features performances from bands like Oasis, the White Stripes, plus the Arcade Fire before they were huge, back when the festival was more rock-oriented. You can also watch Beyoncé’s 2018 epic performance and how it came together on “Homecoming” on Netflix. Or just scour YouTube for old clips. We recommend Duran Duran’s 2011 set.
What to eat and drink: Heat up a frozen pizza and tell yourself it’s Spicy Pie and grab a Heineken (and play some Biz Markie so it’s just like you’re in the Heineken House), or if you’re bougie, pour your favorite craft beer that would be on tap at the Craft Beer Barn.
Stagecoach Country Music Festival
The three-day country music celebration was initially scheduled for April 24-26, but has been postponed to Oct. 23-25 at the Empire Polo Club grounds in Indio. Festival headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church will all perform on the new dates as will many of the other acts that had originally been announced for April, such as Dustin Lynch, Alan Jackson, John Pardi, Billy Ray Cyrus, ZZ Top and Bryan Adams. Some new additions to the lineup include Old Dominion and Ashley McBryde.
What to watch: See Carrie Underwood perform tracks such as “Blown Away” and “Two Black Cadillacs” in her 2013 concert film “The Blown Away Tour: Live,” which was filmed at what is now the Toyota Arena in Ontario. Catch glimpses of ZZ Top performing some of its most famous songs in the 2019 documentary “ZZ Top: That Little Ol’ Band from Texas,” which is streaming on Netflix.
End your Stagecoach-at-home experience by watching one of Diplo’s DJ sets from his living room to recreate his late night party in the Palomino tent. May we recommend The country-infused “The Thomas Wesley Show” on Thursdays? Find it at youtube.com/diplo.
What to eat and drink: Why, barbecue of course! Crank up that grill or drag out the smoker and get ready to make some ribs, pulled pork and sausage links, just like Guy Fieri would want you to. You’ll want some sides like cole slaw and mashed potatoes. For beer, don’t go too fancy or too crafty. Stagecoach is known for its Anheuser-Busch sponsorship, so crack open a Budweiser or Bud Light.
What to wear: Cowboy hats, American flag apparel, flannel, blue jeans and cowboy boots. Bonus points if you take your shirt off for no reason.
The waterfront festival in Redondo Beach, which made its debut in 2019, was supposed to happen May 1-3 with performances from the Steve Miller Band, Stephen and Ziggy Marley doing a tribute to their dad, Counting Crows, Fitz and the Tantrums and more. The new dates have not yet been announced.
What to watch: The festival will do a livestream of its new SpeakEasy Stage — think acoustic performances from SoCal punk and rock icons including Face to Face’s Trever Keith and the Foo Fighters’ Chris Shiflett — online May 1. Jim Lindberg from Pennywise curated the stage and is behind the online performances.
What to eat and drink: BeachLife is the festival that has a pop-up restaurant on the stage, curated by celeb chef David LeFevre. Bust out your favorite fancy cookbook and make something special. Since it’s by the beach, go for a seafood dish and pair it with a light, fruity beer.
What to wear: Flip-flops!
California Roots Music & Arts Festival
This three-day celebration of reggae, roots and hip-hop music, which was initially set for Memorial Day weekend (May 22-24), has been shifted to Oct. 9-11 at the Monterey County Fair and Event Center. Promoters say that 99 percent of the original lineup, which included Rebelution, Atmosphere, Stick Figure, Sean Paul, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, Ice Cube, Jimmy Cliff, Common Kings, Tribal Seeds, J Boog, Chronixx, Pepper, Trevor Hall and more, will be appearing on the new dates.
What to watch: Oh, come on. Never miss any opportunity to re-watch the legendary Jimmy Cliff film “The Harder They Come” from 1972. Beyond that, we’re thinking a little Ice Cube movie marathon, which should include “Barbershop,” “Boyz n the Hood,” “Are We There Yet?” and, of course, “Anaconda.”
What to eat and drink: The heavy reggae grooves have us hankering for Jamaican food, so let’s whip up a big batch of jerk chicken with a side of rice and peas.
What to wear: Raiders gear, because it would make Cube happy, as well as anything with Bob Marley on it.
BottleRock Napa ValleyThe eighth annual edition of this upscale music and culinary festival was supposed to take place during Memorial Day weekend (May 22-24), but it’s now been moved back to Oct. 2-4 at the Napa Valley Expo. All the original headliners — Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Nicks, Dave Matthews Band, Miley Cyrus, Khalid and Anderson .Paak & the Free Nationals — are still in the mix.
What to watch: Start off with Nicks in the Fleetwood Mac concert film “Live at Boston,” which was recorded at the home of the Celtics in 2003. Then go with a Blondie doubleheader, consisting of the similarly titled, yet otherwise distinct “Blondie: Live!” (1982) and “Blondie: Live” (1999). Wind things up with Cyrus’ “Bangerz Tour” (2015).
What to eat and drink: One of BottleRock’s best attractions is the culinary stage, where top chefs pair with rockers, sports heroes and other notable folks to create dishes. So, it’s time to do your best impersonation of one of Napa Valley’s many celebrity chefs — such as Thomas Keller, “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto, Charlie Palmer, Christopher Kostow, Cindy Pawlcyn or Ken Frank — and get busy in the kitchen. And click right here if you’re interested in the recipe for Keller’s hugely popular Ad Hoc fried chicken, which is a definite BottleRock favorite.
What to wear: Whatever you’d wear to go wine tasting. And bring a sweater with you. It can get chilly in Napa at night.