Who doesn’t love live music and jamming out to some of your favorite artists, no matter what genre you love? San Diego’s music scene is hot and there are several fantastic gatherings that have live music and several that are music festivals. With the city being so big, you have to know where to look to find the best music festivals in San Diego in 2022.
Find a music festival that grabs your interest, gather your friends, and head out for a weekend or maybe just a night of heart-pumping music. Most festivals have beer gardens and food trucks so you can eat, drink, and be merry all night long. There are even some festivals that are family-friendly and have several activities for the kids to enjoy.
Before you head out, find a place where to store your luggage so you can rock out without lugging around large bags. It is just easier to drop your large bags or luggage for the night and then head over to the festival for a lively time. And to make your way to the fun easily, check out our guide on how to get around San Diego.
The best music festivals in San Diego in 2022
This two-day music festival features some of the best indie electronic artists in the country at the San Diego Waterfront Park. Held March 5-6, CRSSD Fest sees as many as 15,000 people pack into the park to listen to fantastic and loud electronic music. Look out over the San Diego Bay as you dance and party near one of the three stages. Expect great food from local street food vendors and food trucks.
Artists including Jamie XX, Chet Faker, TV on the Radio, Empire of the Sun, Odesza, Chromeo, and The Flaming Lips. The festival has several craft beer vendors, mixed drinks, food of every shape, size, and type, and even a VIP lounge where those with a particular ticket can go in and relax between acts.
San Diego Beer and Music Festival
There is no better time to be had than enjoying craft beer and live music. The San Diego Beer and Music Festival has over 100 craft beers for you to sample and there are several awesome DJs and bands that will keep the music flowing. Head over to the NTC Park at Liberty Station in the Point Loma Peninsula on June 11.
Hosted by Rockstarbeer Productions as a way to give back to the community by donating the proceeds to the Coastal Conservation Association. After enjoying local craft beer tastings head to the main stage and listen to ear-pleasing music from big-name bands and local DJs.
San Diego Pride Music Festival
San Diego plays host to Pride weekend, which is dedicated to the LGBTQ community and includes a 5k run and parade. The San Diego Pride Music Festival is also held during the Pride weekend and is held in Balboa Park with live music playing over two days with over 100 artists set up on several stages. This year it is held July 16-17.
Food vendors, beer and cocktail vendors, and even a wonderful art exhibition are on site for everyone to enjoy. The festival does get packed quickly so be sure to get there early and stake out your spot to be able to see as many of the performances as possible. Come for one day or plan on hanging out both days.
San Diego Comic-Con
Again, not an official music festival, but Comic-Con is notorious for guest musical performances to get the fans revved up and excited for one of the biggest festivals in San Diego. With over 135,000 people attending this four day event, the San Diego Convention Center gets crowded quickly. But this is the city's favorite annual celebration and should not be missed.
Comics culture returns July 21st through 24th, you probably won’t get a pass for all four days, but you will get to hear live music from some of your favorite movies and video games. Meet-and-greets with writers, artists, actors, and musicians as well as guest panels make this an exciting event for everyone who has an inner nerd or geek begging to get out.
The alternative rock San Diego radio station 91X hosted X-Fest for over 36 years as a way to kick off summer. Acts that have performed at X-Fest include Blink-182, Cold War Kids, Cheap Trick, The Cult, and The Offspring. This year, the event is held at the San Diego Waterfront Park and the headliner is Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
Other acts include Chicano Batman, Pachyman, Smoke and Mirrors Sound System, and Los Tortugas. This event is for people who are 21+ and is held on August 20th starting at 1:00 p.m. From 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. breweries will offer unlimited samples of more than 100 different craft beers from around 50 breweries.
If you want to be able to get into the festival at 1:00 p.m. you will need a VIP ticket and you do have a dedicated gate entry point as well as close seating at the main stage. VIP ticket holders also have access to a full-service bar including Ballast Point beers and craft cocktails for sale. You will get a complimentary meal ticket and enjoy free bottled water and table snacks.
One of the largest music festivals in San Diego, KAABOO always brings in some of the hottest names to headline including Zac Brown Band, Foster the People, No Doubt, Jack Johnson, and The Killers. This is a more upscale music festival so unruly behavior will not be permitted and you will be tossed out if you violate any of their rules.
KAABOO moved from Del Mar Fairgrounds to PetCo Park in September of 2019 but was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Festival organizers have announced the return of KAABOO but you will want to check out their website for specifics on the date and location.
You will find plenty of delicious food from some of the trendiest restaurants in San Diego as well as craft cocktails. Forget about the porta-potty experience, KAABOO has real restrooms at PetCo Park, if the festival returns to the home of the Padres. The energetic atmosphere is terrific for anyone’s mood after dealing with COVID-19 restrictions for so long.
While technically not a true festival, KAABOO still had to make the list. This is high-end partying that centers around comfort. Music and art take center stage but you will want to toss everything you know about music festivals out the window. This is an experience like no other festival you will ever attend.
Adams Avenue Street Fair
While not an actual music festival or art festival, there are over 100 live musical acts that perform on the eight stages during this dynamic street fair. Grab your friends and head to the Normal Heights neighborhood on September 24th and 25th for an eclectic street fair like no other. You can enjoy phenomenal and giant carnival rides, delicious beer gardens, and more than 350 art booths.
You can purchase some rather gorgeous artwork and talk with the artisans who have their booths set up. The artisans are not limited to painting and traditional art; you will find jewelry makers, iron workers, textile designers, home décor items, and so much more. Admission to the Adams Avenue Street Fair is free so bring the entire family for a great weekend of block parties.
There are plenty of events and activities for the kids to keep them busy and happy and there are also several events and special attractions that will keep you busy and having a good time. The street fair has been going strong for 37 years despite the break during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While admission is free, there are some special attractions that do charge so bring along some cash so you can enjoy the rides and beer tastings, get some wonderful food, and buy some art and souvenirs. The Street Fair’s Craft Beer Taste is held on Saturday from noon to 4:00 p.m. and you get to sample 12 different beers for a nominal fee. There are three more beer gardens set up during the street fair.
San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival
Held November 11th through 14th, the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival is held at Embarcadero Marina Park North on Kettner Blvd. California is becoming a leader in the wine industry with its rich soil and endless sunshine making it ideal for grape growing. Vineyards in Rancho Bernardo, San Pasqual Valley, Napa Valley, and nearby Julian have really taken off and are showcased each year at this festival.
You may be wondering why a wine and food festival is listed on a music festival list. There is an easy answer, this festival also hosts live concerts from local artists and has even brought in some bigger named artists. Sample some wine, dine on fantastic food and listen to local bands while learning more about California wines.
There definitely some impressive bottles worth checking at this festival including vintage bottles aplenty. After taking a necessary safety hiatus and a tough few years, this festival is back and better than ever and is geared up to be a massive event.
Other San Diego Music Events
San Diego Brew Fest
Held on June 11th at Liberty Station NTC Park, the San Diego Brew Fest features over 150 breweries, both local and regional. This is not an actual music festival, but there is plenty of fabulous live music with some pretty big names in the music industry. Popular food trucks are also available for those looking for unique eats while sampling beer and listening to unbelievable live music.
San Diego Music Thing
This Indie music event is generally held in November and is citywide and is definitely something you do not want to miss. With venues throughout the city including in and around North Park, San Diego Music Thing celebrates the underground music scene and showcases many artists such as Yo La Tengo.
The biggest and hottest New Year’s Eve party in San Diego and lasts three days, from December 30-January 1st, at Pechanga Arena San Diego. Live music, great food, and bottomless beer and cocktails make this the ultimate party spot in San Diego. When live bands are not performing listen to several talented DJs spin tracks and keep the energy levels up high as San Diego celebrates the New Year.
Planning to stay some more days in San Diego?
San Diego loves to play host to several fantastic festivals throughout the year, many have live music, regional brews, guest friendly amenities, and endless fun. After suffering through some tough few years and taking a necessary safety hiatus, festivals are back in full force in San Diego and people are ready to get out and party.
Grab your friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors and make plans to spend time out and about in San Diego at music festivals and taking in crafts vendors and pop culture events filled with elaborate costumes and such. Great times will be had by all this year in San Diego. Extend your weekend and spend 3 days in San Diego checking out all the brilliant historic places in the city.
While staying in the city for a music festival or two, make some extra time to check out the best museums in San Diego for a bit of culture. With plenty of eateries to choose from, you will not go hungry. But sometimes you will want to grab a quick bite of some of the best street food in San Diego.
If you're planning to stay longer in San Diego, take a look at our other San Diego guides for other fun activities!