Bay Area events you must attend this summer


Sophia Johnson

Big Serg barbecue at First Friday in Oakland.

Taylor Pagan, News editor

Congratulations, you’ve survived yet another semester of college! You now have three months off to live it up while you still can before the new school year starts. Make the most out of your summer vacation by checking out these highly anticipated, top seven Bay Area events.


Contra Costa County Fair

When: noon to 10:30 p.m. Thursday, May 28-Sunday, May 31

Where: Antioch, Contra Costa County Fairgrounds

Cost: $4-$7

It isn’t officially summer until cotton candy and ferris wheels are involved. The Contra Costa County Fair is a weekend long event packed with family-friendly activities including live music, carnival games and rides, livestock shows, fair food, circus performances and stock car races. Warning: there will be clowns present.


Oakland First Fridays

When: 5 to 9:30 p.m.The first Friday of every month,

Where: Oakland, Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street

Cost: Free (donation optional)

What better way to kickstart your month than by attending Oakland First Fridays? These monthly street festivals, located in the city’s KONO district, feature local artists, vendors, musicians, dancers and other performers. Did we mention this event is FREE? Nonetheless, bring some cash so you can hit up the tasty food trucks. The local bars and eateries are also open late so you can continue the party even after the official event ends.


Van’s Warped Tour

When: 11 a.m. Saturday, June 20

Where: Mountain View, Shoreline Amphitheatre

Cost: $49.50

If you’re into moshing, Van’s Warped Tour is the “hardcore” music festival for you. Believe it or not, Warped Tour is actually the largest traveling musical festival in the United States. The Mountain View lineup includes headliners Pierce The Veil, We Came As Romans and Escape The Fate. Between punk rock sets, check out the acoustic pop duo This Wild Life. If you’re feeling nostalgic, head over to Never Shout Never for some Christofer Drew throwback ukulele jams.


Harvest Time Festival

When:  11 a.m. to 9 p.m. & 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, July 11-12

Where: Brentwood, Historic Downtown City Park & Community Center

Cost: Free Admission

The Harvest Time Festival is just about the only event Brentwood folk have to look forward to. Particularly appealing to the older generations, this festival is held annually in celebration of the local farmlands and the harvest of local produce. If crops don’t excite you, do not fear, there will be beer and wine tastings available for purchase to liven things up.


Pleasant Hill Blues and Brews Festival

When: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, July 17 and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 18

Where: Pleasant Hill Park

Cost: $35-$55

Enjoy some beer, food and music in the comfort of your own hometown. This sixth annual festival is the perfect opportunity to drink, dine and dance with friends in your community. 2015 bands and brewers have not yet been announced, so be sure to check for more information on their website as the dates approach.


Berkeley Kite Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, July 25-Sunday, July 26

Where: Berkeley Marina, Cesar E. Chavez Park

Cost: Free, Parking $15

Relive your childhood adventures by attending the uniquely colorful 30th annual Berkeley Kite Festival. Event highlights include free kite making and flying lessons, arts and crafts booths, food available for purchase, live music performances and the world’s largest octopus kite on display. Come to watch or, if you’re up to the challenge, enter and participate in the West Coast Kite Championships.


Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival

When: 12 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7-Sunday, Aug. 9

Where: San Francisco, Golden Gate Park

Cost: $135-$695

San Francisco’s Outside Lands is the Bay Area equivalent to SoCal’s Coachella, minus the stuck up LA crowd and high potential for heat stroke. This year’s lineup includes headliners St. Vincent, Mumford & Sons, The Black Keys, Elton John, Wilco, Kendrick Lamar and Sam Smith. Choose between attending day one, day two or day three. If it’s too difficult of a decision and if your budget allows, treat yourself and buy a three-day-pass to vibe out with fellow music lovers all weekend long. There is also a hill parallel to Judah St. where, if you find the right angle, you can see some of the concert for free.


With so many great events going on in the Bay Area, the opportunities this year are endless. Get up, get out and make this 2015 summer vacation worth remembering!