Last year, passes to Arroyo Seco Weekend sold out, and Goldenvoice, the festival’s organizers, seem determined to make sure that happens again. They’re cramming as much great music and food into the weekend as possible. This year’s festival is Saturday, June 23, and Sunday, June 24. Passes go on sale Friday, March 9, at 10 a.m. PST.
The 2018 lineup includes Neil Young and Promise of the Real, Jack White, Pretenders, Belle and Sebastian, and Kamasi Washington performing on Saturday, and Kings of Leon, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Gary Clark Jr., Alanis Morissette, and Third Eye Blind on Sunday.
If you’re not familiar with Brookside Park, where the festival is held, it’s located next to the Rose Bowl Stadium. Nic Adler, Festival Director of Arroyo Seco Weekend, describes the area as “One of the most special places in L.A.” He says, “It’s got rolling hills, large oak trees, water features, and little nooks and crannies.” The festival’s three stages—Oak and Sycamore, which are outdoors, and Willow, an intimate, tented stage—take their names from the natural surroundings.
Adler says this year’s lineup built off of what was successful last year. “There’s no problem with shows that have a lot of DJs and hip-hop and EDM on them, but this show is definitely a musician’s show, and the lineup reflects that. You saw it last year with Tom Petty, Mumford and Sons, and Alabama Shakes. Those bands sounded great in the Arroyo, and Paul Tollett, the festival’s booker, took inspiration from that.” The festival organizers are also bringing in an element of nostalgia with performers like Alanis Morissette, The Specials, The Bangles, The Revolution, Los Lobos, and Third Eye Blind. After all, Adler points out, “There’s really nothing better than walking through a festival, hearing a song that you love, and kind of skipping across the field while you sing it.”
In addition to the three music stages, Arroyo Seco Weekend will feature curated menus from some of the most acclaimed restaurants in Los Angeles. At this festival, the food, craft beer, and wine aren’t just a side note—they’re part of the experience. Participating restaurants include Jon & Vinny’s, Freedman’s, Hatchet Hall, Cassell’s Hamburgers, Sage Plant Based Bistro, and Bourbon Steak, among others.
The festival is designed with a multigenerational audience in mind. Kidspace Children’s Museum will be there with a tent of kid-friendly activities, and there’s plenty of room for people of all ages to relax in the gorgeous, natural setting. “There’s this ability to just chill out under an oak tree with your friends and a drink in hand, enjoying yourself,” says Adler. “Obviously going to a festival, you want to be very active and present when the bands are going on, but I work really hard as the festival director to focus on those moments in between.”
Goldenvoice’s sustainability team works closely with the Rose Bowl and the City of Pasadena to keep the festival’s carbon footprint as small as possible. Adler says, “One of our big initiatives across the board this year is eliminating plastic straws. We’re using compostable paper straws, and we make sure that our serving plates, bowls, napkins, and everything are all compostable.”
Arroya Seco Weekend passes start at $149 for single day general admission or $249 for a weekend general admission pass. VIP options are available. Children under 10 are free with a ticketed adult. This year, for the first time, the festival will be offering hotel packages with shuttle transportation. The festival site is accessible from surrounding areas by the Metro Gold Line. Free parking will be available, and there’s a bike valet.