For a number of years, it’s been frustrating for us North American stoner/doom/psych fans to see our favorite bands almost exclusively play festivals in Europe, but rarely cross the pond. The best lineups over the past several years were consistently found at festivals like Roadburn in the Netherlands, Desertfest in Germany, England and Belgium, Freak Valley Festival and Stoned From the Underground in Germany, and Up in Smoke in Switzerland. While the U.S. sporadically had some festivals, the Stoner Hands of Doom Festivals ended after the one in Richmond in 2013. Scion Rock Fest has been evolving and changing locations over the year, and their installment in Pomona, CA last year on May 17 was promising, with High On Fire, Jex Thoth, Windhand, All Them Witches, Aqua Nebula Oscillator, Hot Lunch, Pins Of Light, Big Business, Red Fang, Orchid and Moab. However they have yet to announce anything for 2015. And that’s about it, other than a few token heavy bands at the quickly growing Austin Psych Fest.
So I was stoked to see the announcement of the first annual Psycho California festival last fall, with a truly world class lineup. Discounted early bird tickets sold out quickly, and regular tickets went on sale just this morning. They also announced the three main headliners, Sleep, Pentagram and Cult Of Luna. Since Ufomammut is scheduled to appear at Maryland Death Fest the following week and they had promised their first proper U.S. tour, I really thought they would be included too. Nevertheless, it’s an amazing lineup, including a reunion performance by Goatsnake, Truckfighters, and other American bands that seem to play more often in Europe like Elder and Wo Fat. See the full list of heavyweights below.
WEST COAST METAL FESTIVAL HAPPENING MAY 15, 16 & 17 AT THE OBSERVATORY IN SANTA ANA
Jan. 15, 2014, Santa Ana, Calif. – Psycho California, the west coast’s first annual metal festival and a must see for fans of doom, heavy psych and sludge, has announced the headliners for this year’s event: Cult of Luna (May 15), Sleep (May 16) and Pentagram, who will perform First Daze Here in its entirety (May 17).
“2015 is going to be a slow year for Cult of Luna. However as much as we are musicians we are also fans,” said Cult of Luna’s Johannes Persson. “Evaluating if the offer to play Psycho California was worth dusting off our instruments was not hard after looking on the line-up. Being on the same bill as Pentagram, Sleep and a festival packed with the best bands around is a privilege in itself and we’ll try to live up to that honor.”
The lineup for Psycho California is: Sleep, Pentagram, Cult of Luna, Kylesa, OM, Earth, Russian Circles, Bedemon, Conan, Wrench, Eyehategod, Indian, Earthless, Pallbearer, Stoned Jesus, Old Man Gloom, Cave In, Acid Witch, Truckfighters, Tombs, Bang, Electric Citizen, Coffinworm, SubRosa, Eagle Twin, Mammatus, True Widow, Anciients, Bellwitch, Dead Meadow, Lord Dying, Death By Stereo, Radio Moscow, Ancient Altar, Samsara Blues Experiment, Atriarch, Elder, Mothership, The Well, Deathkings, Wo Fat, Rozamov, Destroyer of Light, Highlands, Bloodmoon, Slow Season, Goatsnake, Crypt Trip, Wrench, Lords of Beacon House, Tumbleweed Dealer, Sinister Haze, Blackout, Red Wizard, Banquet and Loom.
Festival interludes will be provided by Housecore Records’ artist Author & Punisher and vinyl DJ set from Bob Lugowe (Relapse Records) and Sean Pellet (Last Daze Here).
Previously announced early bird tickets sold out immediately. Tickets for the festival are on-sale this morning with both a 3-day pass ($149.50) and a 3-day VIP pass available ($256.66)
VIP packages include a 3-day festival pass, a signed screen print concert poster by David D’Andrea, express entry via artist check-in booth, access to artist VIP lounge, a limited edition Thief X Obey festival tee, a Psycho record bag and patch as well as access to a complimentary craft tequila bar, premium microbrews and artisan snacks.
This will be me, sporting a Motörhead thong:
How will the lineup compare to the European festivals? I think currently it rivals Roadburn’s 2015 lineup, depending on your tastes!
- Roadburn, April 9-12 2015, Tilburg, Netherlands
Wovenhand, Enslaved, Nephilim, Eyehategod, Wardruna, Goblin, Zombi, Bongripper, Russian Circles, Floor, SubRosa, Thou, Spidergawd, Monolord, The Heads, Death Hawks, Messenger, Electric Citizen, Argus, Lo-Pan, The Golden Grass and many more.Bands in 2014: Opeth, Goatess, Comus, Candlemass, YOB, Bong, Magma, Avatarium, Loop, Windhand, Circle, Gozu, Obelyskkh, Mansion, Papir, Vintage Caravan, Horisont, Beastmilk, Triptykon, Napalm Death, 40 Watt Sun, Conan, Anciients, Fredom Hawk, Brutus, Carlton Melton, etc.
- Freak Valley Festival, TBA 2015 (May 29-31, 2014), Netphen, Germany
Motorpsycho, Elder, Truckfighters, Wo Fat, Blues Pills, Kadavar, Radio Moscow, Papir, Blood Ceremony, Samsara Blues Experiment, Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, The Heavy Eyes, Ivy Garden Of The Desert
- Desertfest Belgium, October 10-12, Anvers, Belgium
Electric Wizard, Truckfighters, Satan’s Satyrs, Blues Pills, Purson, Toner Low, All Them Witches, YOB, Pallbearer, Kadavar, The Vintage Caravan, Witchrider, Pontiak, Brant Bjork, Steak, Sardonis
- Stoned From the Underground, July 10-12, Erfurt, Germany
Colour Haze, Ufomammut, Pentagram, Graveyard, Vintage Caravan, Mars Red Sky
- Up In Smoke, October 3-4, Pratteln, Switzerland
Dozer, Blues Pills, Greenleaf, Alunah, The Socks, The Vintage Caravan, Naam, Lonely Kamel, Mars Red Sky, Conan, Brant Bjork
- Desertfest Berlin, April 23-25, 2015, Berlin, Germany
2014 Bands: Spirit Caravan, Causa Sui, Elder, Siena Root, The Machine, Anciients, Gozu, Radio Moscow, Castle, Black Rainbows, Radar Men From The Moon
- Desertfest London, April 24-26, 2015, London, England
2014 Bands: Spirit Caravan, Elder, Radio Moscow, Anciients, Kvelertak, The Machine, Horisont, Cosmic Dead, Boris, Lonely Kamel, Black Rainbows
- Heavy Days In Doom Town, TBA 2015, May 1-4 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark
2014 Bands: Goatess, Noctum, Dopelord, Purple Hill Witch, Windhand, Uzala, Baby Woodrose, Graviators, Witchsorrow, Loss, Oranssi Pazuzu, Demon Head, Vidunder
- Hammer Of Doom Fest, November 14-15, 2014, Würzburg, Germany
Saint Vitus, Trouble, Avatarium, Orange Goblin, Kadavar, Mount Salem, Hamferð and The Ruins of Beverast.
- Reverence Valada, September 12-13, Valada, Portugal
Electric Wizard, Hawkwind, Graveyard, Crippled Black Phoenix, Woods, Cave, Black Bombain, Cosmic Dead, Naam
- Totem Psych, July 25-27, Rocca Sinibalda Castle, Rome, Italy
Ufomammut, Blues Pills, Nik Turner, Church Of Misery, Zu, Black Rainbows, Morkobot
- Sonic Blast Moldedo, August 15-16, Moledo de Minho, Portugal
The Atomic Bitchwax, My Sleeping Karma, Blues Pills, Church Of Misery, Black Bombain
- Keep It Low, October 18, Munich, Germany
Kadavar, Monkey3, All Them Witches, Mars Red Sky