In 2018, it’s become more important than ever to deliver a one-of-a-kind, hand-curated epic festival experience; the music festival bubble seemingly grows each year, with some festivals going by the wayside (RIP, FYF) due to a less than stellar lineup, a sexual misconduct scandal, and poor ticket sales. Arroyo Seco, coming June 23-24, 2018 in Pasadena, is bringing the goods to stay relevant.

With three stages of live music alongside curated menus from LA’s most celebrated restaurants, chefs, and breweries, this festival seems to have not only learned from both its first year and from countless decades of music festivals, zeroing in on the details that make the attendee’s experience easy, fun, and unforgettable.

The Lineup

The lineup spans genres, generations, and levels of popularity. The defining factor? Raw talent and musical instruments. Not to bash on electronic music of any kind, but there is something extra magical about seeing a musician put on a show playing the instrument in their hands.

Arroyo Seco booked heavy hitters Neil Young and the Promise of the Real for Saturday night, and will close out the festival with Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters. They had to go big, considering last year’s Friday performance by Tom Petty was one of his very last (may he rest in peace).

Heading into the late 70’s and 80’s, we have The Pretenders, The Bangles, The Specials, The Revolution, and maybe some other plans that start with “the.” For the older millennial set, 90’s alternative legends Belle and Sebastian, Alanis Morrissette, Third Eye Blind, and Violent Femmes will get down with their bad selves. The festival has modern 00’s bluesy rock from Jack White, Shakey Graves and Kings of Leon, and a whole lot of jazz rounds it all out, with Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra along with Kamasi Washington.

The Food

There is something for people of all ages, and for people of all appetites. Since the food is never cheap at festivals, at least Arroyo Seco makes sure the quality is on point. From tacos to pork belly, vegan options to dessert, you will be pleasantly surprised at the big open space and low wait times. The same goes for alcohol vendors, which are spaced out and generally spread out.

One thing to remember is last year’s “blanketgate,” where people obnoxiously spread out blankets in front of the main stage, causing a fire-hazard and logistical nightmare and a crowded fire road to appear on day two. Here’s to hoping the layout improves and that they add a few more water stations (last year got up to 95 degrees).

The Experience

My favorite thing about Arroyo Seco is that it’s for everyone. Bring your mom, bring your kids. Bring your friends and lovers. Wear a hat, sunscreen, drink plenty of water, and spend two days in a beautiful place experiencing an epic lineup. You don’t want to miss it. Get your ticket here.

Words by: Amanda Martinek