First City Festival - Nor Cal's latest boutique music festival

The Killer Line Up! Courtesy Photo

First City Festival, is a festival ‘first’ for many, as it’s named after Monterey’s claim as the official “first capital” of California. It’s a city that is now immersed in heritage as well as music history. A city that was the home of the state’s first theatre, public library, publicly funded school, printing press, and newspaper. Monterey is currently a ‘desirable vacation destination’ as it also is the hub of local attractions such as: The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, The Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, and now First City Festival. “The venue itself is so unique as it has a lot of infrastructure” said David Lefkowitz and Paul Billings who are both co-producers of the festival. “Even though it is in a large city the town has a rural feel to it, which is very historical.” Considering this festival takes place in such a prestige location, many will envision First City Festival as a weekend get-a-way.

Purity Ring Will Make Another Stunning Debut! Courtesy Photo

First City Festival promises a sophisticated musical line-up of 30+ bands in a relaxed and beautiful coastal setting. The festival grounds will showcase three live music performance stages plus a Vaudeville variety stage. Curated dining options will include local craft beers as well as wine and food vendors. It’s considered a ‘boutique festival’ because it has a smaller capacity compared to neighboring festivals, but nonetheless First City Festival will deliver an intimate experience for all in attendance.

Get 'Carried Away' With Passion Pit at First City Festival! Courtesy Photo

Not only will attendees at the First City Festival get the chance to see a killer lineup, but guests will get the chance to release their ‘inner child’ by going on endless carnival rides. “We originally did the Mumford and Sons ‘Gentleman of The Road Tour’ at this particular location; it was like a small town takeover” said Lefkowitz and Billings. “That particular weekend was the weekend prior to the Monterey Fair, so we were able to incorporate the carnival into it.” The infamous ‘ferries wheel’ is always a huge hit at each and every festival, First City Festival coordinators have mastered this technique and decided to bring the ‘fair to the fest’, as there will be multiple carnival rides and games on site. Tickets for unlimited carnival rides are only $22.00 for two days or $15.00 for one day.


The lineup is exceptionally incredible: Passion Pit, Modest Mouse, MGMT, Neko Case, Beach House, Toro Y Moi, Washed Out, Devendra Banhart, Okkervil River, Deerhunter, The Hold Steady, Purity Ring, Delta Spirit, Dr. Dog, The Black Angels, Capital Cities, Father John Misty, Lucero, Blitzen Trapper, The Antlers, Civil Twilight, Electric Guest, Delta Rae, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Tennis, The Dodos, Quadron, Akron/Family, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed, Bleached, Guards, Generationals, Jeffertitti’s Nile, Seventeen Evergreen, Guy Blakeslee (Entrance), and Light Fantastic.


MGMT's Performance Is Sure to 'Shock You Like an Electric Eel' Courtesy Photo

As if the festival and the carnival rides weren’t enough, there will be festival merchandise, hand printed posters, a dueling piano, and a magician! You can continue the festival spirit until the wee-hours by attending the after parties that have been set. Saturday, August 24th a DJ set by Passion Pit will take place starting at 11pm at the Blue Fin for $27.00. Or you could attend ‘The Hold Steady, with Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed’ starting at 10pm at the Planet Gemini for $37.00.

First City Festival will deliver an incomparable, unforgettable festival experience like none other, especially with their ability to ensure there aren’t many overlapping sets. On August 24th and 25th Monterey Park will be taken over by music lovers world wide. This is one festival you won’t want to miss, so grab your ticket now! For a one day pass prices are $85.00 and for $149.00 you can get a two day pass for general admission. Or you could upgrade to VIP and receive all the perks such as: VIP Entrance to festival on Saturday and Sunday, Access to special performance viewing areas, Access to exclusive VIP patio bar and lounge, Carnival Pass to enjoy unlimited rides the entire weekend, Commemorative festival t-shirt and limited edition poster.

Capital Cities!!! Courtesy Photo

Partners of the festival this year include: Bud Light, Global .Inheritance, Do 415, Amoeba Music, and The Bay Bridged. First City Festival is also teaming up with ‘The Offset Project’ to develop a zero waste initiative and reduce the carbon footprint. As described by Billings himself, First City Festival is, “Nor Cal's latest boutique music festival featuring a trio of intimate performance stages and a full old school carnival with rides and games.” So come on out and experience a weekend of music, food and fresh ocean air at the site of the iconic Monterey Pop Festival. 


What a Riot! Don't Miss The Dodos at First City Festival! Courtesy Photo

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