In today’s crowded music festival market, it’s a major accomplishment to create a successful festival and make it to your fifth year. Northern Nights Music Festival – located in the Redwoods, three hours north of San Francisco – has done that by doing all the little things right and earning the loyalty of their audience.
The fun of Northern Nights starts with the drive, as you pass straight through the incredible beauty of the Sierra Nevada. Every turn reveals a little slice of heaven that brings you closer to nature. When you’re about an hour away from the property, the gigantic redwoods appear by the roadside and overwhelm you with their size and majesty. By the time you make it to the festival site, you’re already in an incredible mood because you’ve spent the last hour traveling through one of nature’s most epic creations.
The beauty of the travel rises to an entirely new level once you get out of the car and to your camping spot. The property is full of redwoods, and the main campground is located in the thick of them. These campsites are not only the best ones at Northern Nights, they’re the best campsites at any festival anywhere, as the enormous trees offer the perfect amount of shade all day long. Not to be outdone, a river, which is pretty much designed for partying, runs right through the property. The water is brisk, but once you’re in it feels great. It’s deep enough, but not too deep, and the flow is very slow, which makes it easy to keep your floaty in the perfect position.
Along with all these natural benefits, the festival itself is also very well done. The main stage is above and beyond what any 4,000-person (estimate) festival really needs, which makes the shows feel larger than life. This year the lineup was packed with festival favorites like Big Wild, Cherub, G Jones, and Random Rahb. It also featured festival up-and-comer Nombe, special performances for Living Legends, and the first-ever performance by the Justin Jay Live Band.
Northern Nights knows its Northern Californian audience and embrace their way of life by selling marijuana on site – the first-ever festival to do so. Anyone with their medical marijuana card was welcomed into the “Medical Marijuana Zone”, which hosted dozens of the top names in the industry. Visitors had access to $1 joints and an entire smorgasbord of edible options.
Having Northing Nights be so strongly tied to the marijuana industry makes a lot of sense, as many of the attendees spend their year working on marijuana farms. In addition to being a lot of hard work, it also involves a lot of separation, as you only see the people you work with. This isolation makes the vibe at Northern Nights particularly enjoyable because everyone there is very open to making new friends.
The scenery, the people, and the music all worked in unison to create a wonderful festival weekend. Leaving is always hard, as you feel so at home while you’re there. Make sure to put it on your list for next year. You can count on it providing you with some of your favorite days all year.