The Best In The Westside

The Guide to Outdoor Music in Los Angeles


Thanks to the beautiful year round weather, Los Angeles is home to some of the best outdoor music venues and events in the country. Whether you’re in the mood for pop, jazz, blues, alternative or electronica, there are music events taking place day and night that will keep you in the groove from the spring all the way to the fall.


Jazz at LACMA is a celebration of L.A.’s finest jazz musicians, and features the art of jazz as practiced by leading Southern California artists. Celebrating over twenty years at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the program continues to be one of the museum’s most popular offerings, having previously featured such legends as Wayne Shorter, John Clayton, Kenny Burrell, Les McCann, Billy Childs, Arturo Sandoval, Cannonball-Coltrane Project and Ernie Watts. The 2014 season kicks off on Friday, April 18 with legendary percussionist Pete Escovedo and his Latin Jazz Orchestra. Jazz at LACMA takes place at 6 p.m. every Friday at the central BP Pavilion, near Chris Burden’s iconic Urban Light. Admission is free, there are no reservations for seating. For the full lineup of performers, visit Jazz at LACMA.


The historic Greek Theatre is one of L.A.’s premier outdoor music venues, recently named North America’s Best Small Outdoor Venue for the tenth straight year by Pollstar Magazine. Opened in 1929, the 5,900-seat venue offers an intimate concert setting, with state-of-the-art acoustics and excellent sight lines, surrounded by trees in a picturesque setting within Griffith Park.

The Greek Theatre’s 2014 season kicks off on Friday, May 2 with the retro vocals of Under the Streetlamp, and continues throughout the summer and fall, concluding on Saturday, Nov. 1 with blues rock group, Tedeschi Truck Band. Other highlights of the season include: Los Lobos Third Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival (May 3); A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor (June 6); New Order (July 13); Ringo Starr (July 19); ZZ Top and Jeff Beck (Aug. 13); Smokey Robinson (Aug. 16); Panic! At the Disco (Aug. 26); and Crosby, Stills & Nash (Oct. 4).


Saturdays Off the 405 features performances by up-and-coming bands, along with DJ sets to open and close the night. The 2014 series kicks off at the Getty Center on Saturday, May 17 with North Carolina native and Echo Park mainstay Jonathan Wilson, who crafts songs that investigate the vibrant 1970s rock landscape. All performances take place in the Museum Courtyard from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Arrive early to enjoy the Getty Center’s spectacular views and explore the world-class art collection and exhibits like In Focus: Ansel Adams. Food is available for purchase, and a cash bar (beer and wine) is open in the Museum Courtyard. The Cafe is open with seven food stations until 6 p.m. The Garden Terrace Cafe, which offers a selection of sandwiches and salads, is open until 8:30 p.m. No outside alcohol is allowed on site. During Saturdays Off the 405, walk-ins are welcome at The Restaurant at the Getty Center, where you can enjoy a fine dining experience from 5 to 9 p.m. Entrance to the Getty Center is free. Parking is $15, $10 after 5 p.m. For more info, visit the Saturdays Off the 405 page.


The historic Farmers Market at Fairfax and Third presents free concerts all summer long on Thursday and Friday evenings. Both nights feature top musicians from L.A. and beyond, performing on the lively West Patio from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays feature jazz, and Fridays are a showcase for blues, rock and Latin. The 2014 season starts on Thursday, May 29 and runs through Friday, Aug. 29. Full schedule TBA.

The historic Farmers Market at Fairfax and Third presents free concerts all summer long on Thursday and Friday evenings. Both nights feature top musicians from L.A. and beyond, performing on the lively West Patio from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays feature jazz, and Fridays are a showcase for blues, rock and Latin. The 2014 season starts on Thursday, May 29 and runs through Friday, Aug. 29. Full schedule TBA.


Beginning June 1, enjoy the best in electronic music at Sunday Sessions, taking place monthly at Grand Park in Downtown L.A. The Eclectech’s Eduardo Castillo has curated a stellar lineup of local and international DJs who are ready to rock Grand Park’s Performance Lawn, located between Grand Avenue and Hill Street, from 2-8 p.m. Sunday Sessions also features food trucks, plus cocktails by Pattern Bar. No cover.



Now in its 28th year, Grand Performances presents free performing arts that reflect the best of global culture and inspire community among the diverse peoples of Los Angeles. Taking place at California Plaza in the heart of Downtown L.A., the Grand Performances lineup includes everything from Latin alternative and jazz to DJs, gospel, poetry, theatre, and more. The 2014 season kicks off on Friday, June 13 with a screening of the Buster Keaton classic, Sherlock Jr, featuring an improvised soundtrack by The Magnetix. On select Fridays in July and August, Grand Performances hosts its popular Lunch Box series of noon concerts, including the incredible Toy Set by DJ Nu-Mark. Pedal Pushers make a return appearance at select events from June through August, offering complimentary bike valets for audience members.


Presented by LA Chinatown and KCRW, Chinatown Summer Nights is a multicultural mix of music, food and summer party. Taking place in Chinatown’s Central and West Plazas, the Chinatown Summer Nights series offers a variety of experiences, including: bites from Chinatown restaurants and gourmet food trucks; cooking demos; and hands-on, Chinese cultural activities presented by local organizations and museums. Guests can also sip on craft brews and dance to sets by KCRW DJs. Chinatown Summer Nights takes place on the second Saturday of the month: June 14, July 12, and Aug. 9, 2014. Each event runs from 5 p.m. to midnight, and there is no cover charge.

HOLLYWOOD BOWL (JUN. 21 – SEPT. 28, 2014)

The Hollywood Bowl is the largest natural amphitheater in the United States, and is renowned as one of the premier outdoor cultural venues in the world. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, the Bowl has been the summer home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic since it officially opened in 1922. The Bowl hosts a wide variety of the world’s greatest artists from all genres of music, with Gustavo Dudamel and the acclaimed LA Phil at its core.

Following the 36th annual Playboy Jazz Festival (June 14-15), the 2014 season officially kicks off on Saturday, June 21 with the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame concert, featuring Emmy and Tony Award winning inductee, Kristin Chenoweth. The season finale on Sunday, Sept. 28 features The Pixies. Highlights include: Weekend Spectacular concerts, featuring The Beatles 50th at the Bowl, Elvis Costello and Ben Folds, and Chris Isaak; Jazz at the Bowl, including Herbie Hancock, John Legend, and Peter Frampton and Buddy Guy; KCRW’s World Festival, with Röyksopp & Robyn, Glen Hansard and Iron & Wine, Janelle Monáe, and Reggae Night XIII; and special events such as the July 4th Fireworks Spectacular with Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; Grease and The Sound of Music sing-a-longs; and The Big Picture: Hitchcock!.


The Wine & Jazz summer concert series takes place at 7 p.m. every Tuesday in the Central Courtyard of the Hollywood & Highland Center. Produced by KJAZZ 88.1 FM, the free concerts feature a variety of jazz styles throughout July. The 2014 Wine & Jazz series kicks off on July 1 with a fundraiser for Project Angel Food, featuring the Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra. A $10 donation benefits Project Angel Food, and gets you two glasses of Stella Rosa wine and a box of Wolfgang Puck appetizers. Parking at Hollywood & Highland is just $2, one of the best deals in town.


Located in the high-rise heart of Downtown L.A., the Pershing Square Downtown Stage Summer Series offers six weeks of free outdoor music and films five days a week, from July 9 to Aug. 17, 2014. The audience is welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets and relax under the stars. Wednesday concerts are held from noon to 1:30 p.m. during the Pershing Square Farmers Market, featuring world beat sounds, jazz and country music. Tribute Thursdays feature L.A.’s best tribute bands from 8-11 p.m. The music takes a break for Friday Night Flicks, then returns for the Saturday Concert Series – the lineup includes L.A.’s homegrown heroes, Classic Rock legends, British pop stars, and everything in between. On Saturdays, the concert lawn is open to the public at 7:30 p.m. and concerts begin at 8 p.m. A variety of food trucks will be available, and a beer and wine garden will serve guests of legal drinking age. The high-energy Salsa Sundays turns up the heat with hot bands and a variety of partners to choose from, thanks to the large turnout of dancers.


Twilight Concerts is one of L.A.’s favorite summer traditions, taking place at the landmark Santa Monica Pier every Thursday night from 7-10 p.m. Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the free concert series returns on Thursday, July 10 with indie fave, Cults. Twilight Concerts offers an eclectic lineup that showcases a different music genre every week, including alternative (Jagwar Ma, Aug. 7); Latin (La Santa Cecilia, Aug. 14); classic rock (The Zombies, Aug. 21); and reggae (Lee “Scratch” Perry, Aug. 28).


Now in its seventh year, the Sunset Strip Music Festival (SSMF) is expanding to a two-day street festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 20 and Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 on the legendary Sunset Strip in West Hollywood. SSMF kicks off with a tribute to Jane’s Addiction on Friday, Sept. 19. The iconic L.A. band will be presented with the Elmer Valentine Award at an invite-only ceremony at the House of Blues. The award honors bands and musicians for their contributions to the Sunset Strip music scene. On Saturday and Sunday, SSMF will feature multiple outdoor stages, vendors and interactive experiences throughout the day and into the night. Jane’s Addiction is headlining on Saturday with a performance of their debut album, Nothing’s Shocking, in its entirety. Australia’s Empire of the Sun headlines on Sunday. Scheduled acts also include Cold War Kids, Kaiser Chiefs, and Mayer Hawthorne. Tickets start at $75 for a one-day pass, and $125 for the weekend pass.

By Discover Los Angeles

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