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California’s Sunset Campout prepares for its annual riverside celebration

From June 21st to 24th, at Belden.

Photo Credits:  Robin Rusell / Shanna Doherty

A few hours north of San Francisco, nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, lies a 15-year tradition with an intimate vibe, a world-class lineup, and a vibrant, hand-crafted aesthetic that larger corporate festivals could never pull off. Sunset Campout, set in the picturesque forest of Belden Town has become one of the West Coast’s most beloved boutique events. Originating as a renegade in mid-90s Bay Area, Sunset Sound System has evolved into a testament to the power of music, art, and community, making it a favorite among DJs and party people who know.

As is typical from founders, Galen Abbott and Solar Langevin who tour the globe as DJs themselves, the 2024 lineup is stacked with European tastemakers like the Idjut Boys, Cassy, Jonny Rock, Gene on Earth; as well as local US legends like DJ Heather, Josh Wink, Mark Farina, Danny Daze, Mystic Bill, Xosar and many more.

The vibrant celebration kicks off on June 21st, spanning four days across three stages with 1,500 attendees who are not afraid to show off their next-level festival fashion. During the warm daylight hours, revelers flock to the beloved Beach Stage transitioning among swimming, dancing, and bobbing along the Feather River in all manner of colorful flotation devices fit for a rave.

As evening falls, the full site ignites with multiple stages and music pumping past dawn; but you can also take it easy with a delicious dinner and a mellow stroll through craft vendors, vintage fashion stalls, and a myriad of talented visual artists and installations, live painting, laser light shows and other feasts for the eye. Visit the apothecary and book a massage at the Sunset Rejuvenation Spa or get cozy in a variety of chill lounges including a good old-fashioned bar. The festival grounds–which have cabins and host RV’s and tents, was part of California’s legendary gold-mining industry. The normal population of Belden may be under 50 people but the original bar, called The Saloon, still stands where it receives the Sunset treatment every June—with a variety pack of absurdities from the Great Bingo Revival to a life-size game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos. This year is rumored to boast a drag show of epic, creative proportions.

But unlike many other festivals that go big on theatrics, music is always at the heart of Sunset Campout. The crew’s decades-long commitment to high-quality sound is demonstrated through their eclectic lineups which blend house, techno, disco, electro, and experimental sounds into a carefully curated and cohesive musical narrative that only their founders could procure. Notable past performers have included DJ Harvey, Octave One, Roman Flügel, Jennifer Cardini, PillowTalk, Derrick May, Octa Octa, Magda, Analog Soul and so many more rising stars and underground Bay Area legends.

Sunset Campout is more than a music festival. It’s a gathering of unique souls who share a discerning ear. There is a love of music and nature—an idea you will subtly feel at every turn as you wander along the beautiful sun-dappled paths. It is a kind community that is both wild and aware, lavish and grounded, partying hard but with a dream. Fashion is a passion but not at the loss of what matters. The spirit of the land is never taken for granted. Sunset remains a beacon for those seeking an authentic and enriching experience, where the boundaries between performer and partier blur, and everyone is encouraged to contribute their unique hue to the collective colors of the California sky. Pictures are worth a thousand words but like any great sunset, you really have to be there.

For more info and tickets click here.

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