Every third weekend of July, just off the beaten path in the heart of Northern California’s Emerald Triangle, the Northern Nights Music Festival takes place in celebration of music, art, food, and cannabis culture. Entering its sixth year of operation, this year’s edition of Northern Nights takes place July 20-22, with underground hero Emancipator, progressive tastemaker Mr. Carmack, and Dirtybird’s very own Justin Martin leading the bill amongst nearly a hundred diverse and fresh musicians and producers. This year also marks the first year of a collaboration between Northern Nights and seminal weed-gathering The Emerald Cup for what looks to be the largest and most elevated edition of the festival by far. The festival’s location along the South Fork Eel River, just three and a half hours north of the city, make this the perfect festival location for those looking to escape into a secluded paradise amidst towering Redwoods and plenty of new, like-minded friends.
Tickets, which include your camping pass are still available, but looks to sell out prior to the fest, so here are eight reasons why you should not sleep on this heavenly weekend.
The River Stage
There’s nothing like floating in a river all day in a giant inflatable raft listening to house music with a bunch of your friends and even bumping into new ones. Don’t forget water shoes or sandals! Protecting you feel is the key to surviving the whole weekend dancing.
The Silent Disco
Northern Nights has the best silent disco set-up we’ve ever seen. After the music’s done at the main stage at 2 a.m., everyone heads over to HUSH Concerts’ silent disco to keep the party going until six in the morning. It’s filled with audiovisual tents to trip out on, plenty of room to dance, and secret special guest DJs.
The Cooks Valley Campground in rural Mendocino County is special even by the standards of Northern California beauty. Compared to other foggy (or dusty!) festivals, being surrounded by wilderness takes the experience to another level.
Northern Nights Tree Lounge
Now that marijuana is legal, Northern Nights Tree Lounge is here if you want a place to kick back and smoke a bowl while watching your favorite artist. They also highlight the best of the emerald triangle cultivators and is offering guided cannabis farm tours. You’re not going to find that at Coachella.
Although not technically part of the festival, enterprising types set up impromptu stages on the opposite side of the Eel River. From drum-and-bass to techno, it’s like Burning Man on the water.
The Grove Stage
Full of mattresses and yoga, the Grove stage is a great place to get a massage. With light music, burlesque shows, meditation, this stage is where to come late at night or during the day if you need to get away from the bass music, the sun and chill out for a little while. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
With roughly 6,000 attendees last year, Northern Nights is manageable for people with a limited tolerance for gigantic crowds. The festival is projecting to have about 7,000 to 8,000 attendees this year.
The most important part! For 2018, headliners Emancipator and Justin Martin top a roster that’s full of Dirtybird players and a ton of up-and-coming artists to check out, like Freq Nasty, Brasstracks, Clint Stewart and Gina Turner. Also, don’t forget about Northern Nights veteran legend THAT’S COOLFACE!
Purchase your Tickets HERE
Check out the Northern Nights Spotify playlist below