First City Festival Premieres with Modest Mouse, Beach House, Passion Pit, MGMT, Toro Y Moi

Powerhouse indie rock artists such as Modest Mouse, Passion Pit, MGMT, Beach House, Toro Y Moi, Devendra Banhart and Neko Case will headline the inaugural of the First City Festival in Monterey, California next weekend, August 24-25th. Dozens of other popular artists and bands, including Deerhunter, Washed Out, Okkervil River, The Hold Steady, Father John Misty, Dr. Dog, and The Dodos, are scheduled to perform at the premiere two-day music festival.

With the blockbuster success of the Outside Lands Music & Arts Festival last weekend in San Francisco, fest fever is running high, and for many music lovers in northern California, and beyond (especially those who were unable to attend the sold out Outside Lands), First City is a fest not to be missed.

While its location on the beautiful coast of Monterey Bay is idyllic, the main draw of First City is the amazing lineup. Altogether, there are more than 30 top-notch artists and bands scheduled to perform on three stages from noon to 11 pm Saturday and Sunday. They include, in addition to the already mentioned headliners, Georgian electro artist Ernest Greene, better known by the stage name, Washed Out; Austin’s homespun sons, Okkervil River; Brooklyn indie rockers The Hold Steady; Texas psychedelic rockers The Black Angels; famous songwriter and instrumentalist J. Tillman‘s (Fleet Foxes) newest project, featuring the moniker, Father John Misty; Portland experimental country/folk band Blitzen Trapper; plus, Civil Twilight, Delta Rae, Tennis, Quadron, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Guards, and Guy Blakeslee. That’s just on Day One.

View the full schedules, and create a custom schedule, for Day One and Two.

“Love Is Greed” – Passion Pit from Gossamer

“Electric Feel” MGMT from Congratulations

“Real Love” – Beach House from Teen Dream

“Amor Fati” – Washed Out from Within and Without

“Bad Vibrations” The Black Angels from Phosphene Dream

“Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” – Father John Misty from Fear Fun

“Love the Way You Walk Away”– Blitzen Trapper from American Goldwing

Listen to the full playlist of songs from Day One artists via Spotify


Day Two Lineup and Schedule for First City

On Day Two, in addition to top headliners Modest Mouse, Neko Case, Toro Y Moi and Devendra Banhart, artists and bands set for Sunday include Brooklyn psychedelic band Deerhunter; Candanian electro duo and Juno Award nominee Purity Ring; Philadelphia indie rockers Dr. Dog; New Orleans rockers Generationals; Los Angeles indie pop duo Capital Cities; Memphis country-punk rock band Lucero; Brooklyn indie rockers The Antlers; Portland experimental folk outfit Akron/Family; San Francisco indie rock duo The Dodos; as well as Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Bleached, Seventeen Evergreen, Electric Guest, and Light Fantastic.

“Dashboard” – Modest Mouse from We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank [Explicit]

“The Ocean Breaths Salty” – Modest Mouse from Good News For People Who Love Bad News

“Middle Cyclone” – Neko Case from Middle Cyclone

“Say That” – Toro Y Moi from Anything in Return

“Helicopter”– Deerhunter from Halcyon Digest

“How Long Must I Wait” – Dr. Dog from  Be The Void

Listen to more Day Two artists via IRC’s Spotify playlist

First City is a festival tailor-made for indie rock fans. With a line-up that rivals any two-day festival in the U.S. this year, the cost of admission, in our opinion, is well worth it, especially for avid indie rock fans. How many opportunities does any music lover get to see this many fantastic bands all in one place over a two-day, 22-hour music marathon?

Last week, festival organizers, Golden Voice, announced a number of after parties that include a DJ set from Passion Pit on Saturday night at the Blue Fin in historic Cannery Row. Also on Saturday evening The Hold Steady will perform a show with Eli “Paperboy” Reed at Planet Gemini, located across the street from the Fairgrounds. Get tickets for Passion Pit or The Hold Steady; as with the festival two-day passes and single day passes, there are no added fees. Carnival rides and games will also be available, which can be purchased via the official First City website.

First City is the latest of a number of major music festival to premiere northern California in recent years. With the success of the Outside Lands and Treasure Island music festivals in San Francisco, it sure seems very likely that First City will be as well.


The picturesque seaside town of Monterey, located some 120 miles south of San Francisco, was made famous around the world as the inspiration for many of John Steinbeck’s historic novels, for the magnificent Monterey Aquarium, and for the beautiful Pebble Beach golf course.

In the arena of music, the coastal city is widely known as the location of the annual Monterey Jazz Festival, one of the longest continuously-running music festivals in the world. But it is best known in the history of rock for the Monterey Pop Festival (June 16-18, 1967), the first major outdoor rock festival in the United States. Some of the greatest rock and roll artists of all time – Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and The Who – received their first major exposure to America at Monterey Pop.

With the subsequent film and album, and press and radio air play, the now iconic artists became international rock super stars as a result of their appearances at Monterey Pop. The festival is also widely credited as a pivotal moment of the “Summer of Love” in 1967. Monterey Pop attracted 55,000 festival goers at the Monterey Fairgrounds, the same spot First City will kick-off it’s debut on August 24 and 25th.

Watch the Monterey Pop Festival, as well as bonus performances (of nearly two hours long), and various shorter performance videos via YouTube, including Jimi Hendrix’s historic performance when he burned and smashed his guitar.

The name for the First City Festival comes from the fact that Monterey was the first capital, or ‘first city,’ of California before it was moved to Sacramento.

Related Posts