Southern Californian Boutique Festivals… Why Smaller is Better

Many moons ago (2006) a young lad played a Kaskade track at a college party at SDSU… and got a beer thrown at him.  San Diego was not ready (that lad was me btw).

Fast forward to 2020 and there is a slew of quality boutique creative brands repping San Diego as their homebase.

While the boutique spectrum ranges in scope, the similarities in its core goal to be authentic, independant, and ‘small’ ring evident.

There is a renaissance of San Diego based creators curating fantastic gatherings.  These are some of our favorites.

West Coast Weekender – June 5- June 7 @ Lafayette Hotel, Coasterra, Spin Nightclub

A weekend dedicated to dance and culture in San Diego is celebrating its 5th year June 5-7.  The professional partiers paradise boasts a curation that is reminiscent of the genesis of dance culture.  Founded and owned by a multi-cultured and female core team; the vibe is urban, classic, and fun as hell.

Desert Hearts – April 23-27 @ Los Coyotes Indian Reservation 

A southern Californian dance music institution; the DH crew gets it.  They create amazing dance floors and put all of their dusty hearts into each event experience.  You can literally feel the passion and love at the fest.  Long time friends and fans of theirs.  It is a must attend.

desert hearts festival

Grand Artique – Barrio Logan, San Diego, CA

Grand Artique stage build

Not a boutique festival (yet) but plays host to a super intimate stage at Lightning in a Bottle every year among other nationally renowned festivals.  The unique music programming and out of this world stage and character design is truly one of a kind.

Travelers Club: Future Standard (date TBD)

The inaugural Future Standard went off at Soma in 2019 featuring Toro y Moi and many more.  This passionate crew of south bay misfits has a story to tell and a community to listen.  Their understanding of creative design, street culture, and a damn good taste in music will likely have them creating cool stuff for many years to come.  Do not sleep on this crew and check out one of their shows ASAP.

Umbrella Weekend: March 13-15, 2.5 hours from San Diego, CA 

To watch a burgeoning creative scene in San Diego form right in front of our eyes has been an awesome thing to witness.  We support collaboration and believe in creating opportunities for others to create.  The only thing constant in life is change.

The Afternoon Umbrella Crew is one of many creative groups that are taking their vision to action and we are stoked to be a part of it!   The Deep End Crew will be joining them and performing at their annual gathering  March 13-15.

(use code: DEEPENDFAM15 for a discount)

umbrella weekend


While it sometimes seems a new super EDM festival is born every week featuring a strikingly similar lineup sponsored by the newest corporate jugornot wanting to lively up their  bloodsucking brand, we take solace in the trickle effect it has created.

We’ve got nothing against the big festivals, they’ve inspired us in so many ways, it’s just not always my preferred way to experience a dance event.

There is something to be appreciated about an intimate gathering experience that is curated by the community for the community.

It’s personable, it’s authentic, and as an attendee you are supporting an ecosystem that did not exist 10 years ago in San Diego.

Much Love,

JNav + The Deep End Crew

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