The most beautiful festival in Northern California is turning 10 this year, and six weeks before some 5,000 people gather under the redwoods along the Eel River, the organizers added a number of fresh acts to the electronic-studded lineup.
Northern Nights’ phase two announcement dropped this week, with international acts like Belgian drum-and-bass veteran Netsky joining previously announced headliners Tokimonsta, Big Gigantic and the Grammy-winning Mura Masa. There’s plenty of California-grown talent as well, including Santa Cruz-based KR3TURE, San Diego’s own tech house titan Casmalia and the founder of False Idol Musik, the San Francisco-born Mimosa.
Unlike Coachella—with its 250,000 attendees and occasionally unbearable heat—or Outside Lands—with its early sound curfew and occasionally unbearable damp—Northern Nights and its six stages are far from airports and population centers, which means virtually everyone is there for the music and not for the scene.
No scene, but a beautiful setting: The bend in the river that’s home to Cooks Valley Campground makes for an idyllic backdrop, whether attendees are camping or glamping. The river itself is also key. Northern Nights is a festival that rewards people who splurge on multiperson floaties.
The Humboldt County location is also smack in the middle of Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, and Northern Nights has long been a pioneer in marrying cannabis with electronic music. Forget those “ganja garden”-type experiences that are typically sequestered far from the stages because Northern Nights has cannabis vending throughout the actual festival footprint.
The first music festival ever to allow on-site cannabis sales is now also the first to develop its own in-house bud. A collaboration with Humboldt Seed Company, Northern Nights’ eponymous weed strain will be available at multiple dispensaries across the festival. Not super-into marijuana? Yoga, exploratory dance, sound healing and breathwork practices abound.
🗓️ July 14-16
📍 Cook’s Valley Campground, Piercy, California
Astrid Kane can be reached at email@example.com