A Review Of The Inaugural Three-Day Redondo Beach Music Extravaganza
For months, locals were hearing about BeachLife Festival, a three-day musical extravaganza the first weekend of May in Redondo Beach, CA.
Anticipation was so high, as the event dates approached, people were saying “I got my tickets for Saturday!”
“I got my tickets for Sunday!”
And when the BeachLife Festival finally arrived the weekend of May 3-5 at Seaside Lagoon and the King Harbor Marina, it not only met but exceeded its lofty expectations.
The scene and setting was spectacular. The setup in Seaside Lagoon was the first event in the South Bay that actually took full advantage of this location, which is backed up to the King Harbor channel. The stage was set up on the far side of it, which meant people could kick off their sandals and dance in the sand.
Around that – again in the sand – was a giant Body Glove bar that looked as if were a permanent facility. Next to that was an adults fun zone: a Titos Vodka area with ping pong, giant trashcans painted like red solo cups for big-scale beer pong and exercise bicycles with blenders attached to mix your drink. Hilarious!
Around that was a buzzing of activity, such as a couple of hippie-ish guys who were not only doing paintings on the spot but invited people inside a bamboo room to paint on their walls and even on each other.
Elsewhere, PubClub happily spent time at the Chandon “Happy Hour.”
There was a complete positive and fun vibe throughout the grounds. The music, while being the obvious main draw, was often a backdrop to the socializing going on between the stages. That’s when you know you’ve got an event.
The event was also extremely well organized. Other than long lines when the gates opened on Saturday, security was smooth and Uber/Lift pickups were seamless.
From the PubClub LIVE broadcast perch on the pool deck of the Crowne Plaza overlooking the festival, it was an idyllic setting: bands playing on giant stages, festival-goers strolling around the grounds, people riding bikes along the bike path in the foreground and boats anchored in the channel in the background.
The bands did their part. People were jumping in place during Brian Wilson’s headline set on Saturday night (despite Wilson being shaky himself behind a white piano) to Beach Boys songs, Willie Nelson was, well, Willie Nelson and literally has not lost a beat and local bands such as Tomorrow’s Bad Seed, Barley The Hollow Legs and V Torres enthralled their regular South Bay fans.
A highlight moment was when Bob Weir joined Slightly Stoopid on the Low Tide stage on Friday, bringing roars from the crowd.
Speaking of the crowd, the numbers may not have have quite exceeded organizers’ expectations – they were anticipating 10,000-12,000 per day – but there were close to that many on Saturday and Sunday.
The BeachLife Festival was not without its faults, of course.
For starters, the cell phone signal was weak on the weekend, making it frustrating to try and post photos and videos to social media and also to try and meet up with friends.
Too many people put out towels and blankets in front of the main stage and “claimed” this as their territory; there should have been a no-towels policy close to that stage.
Yet the biggest issue – and the largest area of complaint among festival-goers – were the drink prices. Beers were $11 ($13 for craft beers) and $13-16 for wine and mixed drinks, served in tiny cups the size of what you get at Sharkeez with your Rise & Shine breakfast for champagne.
For a South Bay crowd that complains about spending $8 for a beer at other local (and much smaller) festivals, this was a harsh reality of BeachFest.
A friend went to get a soda from one bar and they told him was told he would be charged $13 for it because they keep inventory on the cups. Having once worked in a movie theater, I am familiar with this approach but to have it as policy at a music festival is a bit ridiculous.
Still, because of the scene, bands, atmosphere and all the other elements, BeachLife was a “the heck with it, I’ll break out the credit card” event. One that truly exceeded its lofty expectations.