This Fall's Best SoCal Music Festival Isn't in Indio — It's in Long Beach

Warpaint are among the Music Tastes Good festival's many excellent headliners.
Warpaint are among the Music Tastes Good festival's many excellent headliners.
Photo by Robin Laananen

Yes, the six-band lineup for Desert Trip (aka "Oldchella") is a once-in-a-lifetime event. But with all due respect to Goldenvoice and your parents' bucket list, another festival happening around the same time in downtown Long Beach, which announced its lineup last weekend (getting somewhat lost in all the Desert Trip hype in the process), offers a far more diverse and intriguing roster of bands.

For a first-time festival, Music Tastes Good is debuting with a remarkably solid slate of acts, led by headliners Iron and Wine, Sylvan Esso, De La Soul, Dr. Dog, Warpaint and a pair of legendary British bands, The Specials and Squeeze. And further down the flier, things really get interesting, with a mix of left-field hip-hop (P.O.S., Le1f, Kate Tempest), progressive punk acts old and new (Melvins, Rx Bandits, Metz), alternative Latin (Las Cafeteras, Los Master Plus) and even some jazz (mighty trumpeter/ bandleader Christian Scott). Long Beach native Josh Fischel has done a superb job of curation here — no doubt with some help from the festival's presenters, KCRW.

The fest's format is smart, too. Instead of the usual three-day endurance test, Music Tastes Good is structured like a casual weekend getaway, with an evening-only block party on Friday, followed by a full day of bands on Saturday and a Sunday brunch party to wrap things up. As you might guess from the name, Music Tastes Good will feature different food themes as well: Friday night will offer craft beer and local vendors, Saturday features an optional "farm-to-table dinner" for the VIPs, and Sunday will be all about bloody Marys.

OK, so it's not McCartney, Dylan and the Stones. But it's Sept. 23 to 25, so if you've already managed to score Desert Trip tickets, don't worry — you can still do both.

Tickets for Music Tastes Good go on sale Friday, May 13, at noon, and will range in price from a mere $25 (for Friday only) all the way up to $240 (for a three-day pass and access to that swanky VIP dinner). Visit the festival's official website for ticket links and more details.


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