Sacramento has a rich history of music that stretches far before most people will give us credit for. From a burgeoning garage-rock scene in the 1960s, to the explosion of our own punk bands in response to the British invasion of the 1970s, you don’t have to look to San Francisco or Los Angeles to find local music roots. As such, live performances in some of the best venues that California has to offer have nurtured the growth of such great performers as the Deftones, Self Against City, and Deathray. Nowadays, this strong music presence continues to attract popular artists the world over. Here are some venues you’ll want to pay attention to, to see some of that great music.
Toyota Amphitheater
2677 Forty Mile Rd.
Wheatland, CA 95692
(530) 743-5200
www.ticketmaster.com

The Toyota Amphitheater used to be called the Sleep Train Amphitheater, and before that was called the Sacramento Valley Amphitheater. With 8,500 reserved seating and another 10,500 spectator seating in the spacious festival lawn, it’s not the biggest venue but plenty big enough for most artists. Brad Paisley is headlining on May 19, The Dixie Chicks are coming on July 13 and 5 Seconds of Summer is expected to play in September. Like all ticket purchases, the earlier the better.

Ironstone Amphitheatre
1894 6-Mile Rd.
Murphys, CA 95247
(209) 728-1251
www.ironstoneamphitheatre.net

The Ironstone Vineyards have a rich history in Sacramento county that stretches back to 1948 with an entrepreneur farmer who saw the future of growing grapes in Lodi. Since then, the most recent addition and contribution to Sacramento’s music scene was the construction of the amphitheater back in 1998. Ironstone Amphitheater has played host to a variety of artists, including most recently Hall and Oates, Jana Kramer, Casey James and REO Speedwagon. Later this year expect to see the Goo Goo Dolls and Sublime return in July, and Tarin and Lynrd Skynrd to headline in August.

Gibson Ranch Park 
8556 Gibson Ranch Park Rd.
Elverta, CA 95626
(916) 806-3868
www.gibsonranchpark.com

Gibson Ranch Park takes advantage of Northern California’s pristine natural countryside. Located in Elverta, the venue is less than 20-miles away from Sacramento, so a long road trip to a concert is definitely not in the cards. Gibson Ranch Park is also home to Radio 94.7’s City of Trees Summer concert series in August. Although the current lineup for 2016 is still being made, last year we saw Sacramento’s own CAKE headlining, along with Of Monsters and Men, Night Riots and Halsey. Gibson Ranch County Park is also home to Aftershock, another wildly successful festival in October.

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West Sacramento River Walk Park 
400 Ballpark Dr.
West Sacramento, CA 95691
(916) 321-1253
www.tbdfest.com

You may know 400 Ballpark Dr. as the home of the Sacramento River Cats, but for a couple of days in September it’s home to TBD Fest. Aptly titled “The Bridge District” Festival for it’s in close proximity to the Tower Bridge, it’s one of the best summer festivals in the country. Last year we saw Tyler The Creator, Tears For Fears, The Glitch Mob and Cut Copy take the main stage, amongst many other headliners. Besides TBD Fest, there’s a TBD Halloween event called Bleepy Hollow, as well as the TBD New Years Eve.

Cal Expo
1600 Exposition Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 263-3000
www.CAStateFair.org

The Cal Expo may be the home of the California State Fair, but it also happens to be the home of the Golden 1 Main Stage which plays host to some of the best concerts during the summer time. When fair season comes around, there are free concerts every night with the price of admission. In 2016, expect to see Salt N Pepa, The Plain White T’s, Chaka Khan, Styx and Dwight Yoakam on stage. With those concert tickets ranging in price from free to $20, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Related: Best Up-And-Coming Sacramento Bands To Check Out In 2016

Paulo Acoba is a California native raised in the Bay Area and living in the Central Valley. He enjoys distance running, cycling and grassroots motorsports. He holds a degree in management from the University of California Merced. Paulo has been writing for Examiner.com since 2012 and covering the Fresno area.
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