The sun has set of the third installment of the BeachLife Festival, which brought thousands of people to Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon May 13-15.
They came to see dozens of bands performing on four stages including Weezer headlining May 14, the Smashing Pumpkins the following day with the Steve Miller closing it all up on Sunday.
Here are some of the memorable moments from the three-day festival.
The local talent
The BeachLife Festival is about celebrating the local lifestyle, and that’s the case with the music too. So while headliners like Weezer, the Smashing Pumpkins and the Steve Miller Band closed each night out, the lineup was filled with local South Bay talent as well.
On Saturday, Manhattan Beach’s Charlotte Sabina performed in the intimate Speakeasy stage while other South Bay bands that performed over the weekend included Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Dan Kelly from Fortunate Youth, Latch Key Kid and Jim Lindberg, frontman for South Bay punk band Pennywise. And Long Beach talent was represented by the Long Beach Dub All Stars and Cold War Kids.
No mellow days
Sunday is supposed to be the mellow day at BeachLife where the more chill acts close out the weekend. But there was nothing chill about Ozomatli’s early Sunday afternoon set as the veteran L.A. band got the crowd on its feet dancing to the six-piece group’s energetic mix of cumbia, rock, jazz, hip-hop and all sorts of other upbeat sounds.
“They told us Sunday was the mellow day, but we didn’t get that memo,” sax player Ulises Bella told the crowd. The group made it almost impossible for people to stand still as it ripped through a set that included songs like “Como Ves,” “Saturday Night,” and “Cumbia de los Muertos.” The band members ended the set in their traditional way, by taking all of their instruments and jumping into the crowd where they formed a musical circle in the middle of the grass area in front of the main stage. The band then continued playing as they led a conga line of dancing people to the adjacent VIP area where those who had the proper credentials were able to follow them all the way to the backstage entrance.
Setting the tone
They may hail from Nebraska, but the members of 311 set the perfect BeachLife tone when they played a sunset set at the venue’s Lowtide Stage. “What an awesome place to have a concert,” vocalist-guitarist Nick Hexum said to the large crowd gathered on the sand at Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach on Friday.
While those in the front stood and danced as they watched the band perform songs like “Beautiful Disaster,” “Come Original,” “Do You Right,” and its popular cover of The Cure’s “Lovesong,” many in the back sat on beach blankets, taking in the cool breeze under the orange, yellow and pink sky right by the ocean.
Smashing the hits
The Smashing Pumpkins delivered their greatest hits from their impressive decades-long career to an adoring packed crowd Saturday night. Dressed in a long sleeve black full length coat, lead singer Billy Corgan and the band played a set list that included more than a dozen songs like “Bullet with Butterfly Wings,” “Drown,” “Today,” “Quiet,” “Ava Adore,” an acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight,” “Cherub Rock,” and “Zero.”
The group ended the night with “1979,” which had the crowd swaying and smiling as they sang along to the lyrics of their nostalgic tune. The band even played other people’s hits when they covered the Talking Head’s “Once in a Lifetime,” which they deconstructed into an industrial, gothic-rock sounding tune.
Talent on display
Not only were people able to listen to some of their favorite artists, they were also able to check out the off-stage artistic talents of other musicians at the festival’s Punk Rock & Paintbrushes art exhibit, which was located next to the SpeakEasy Stage. Made up of dozens of paintings, drawings, photographs and other artwork created by musicians and artists inspired by music, the exhibition drew curious crowds throughout the day.
The outdoor gallery included pieces by musicians like Erik Sandin, the drummer of the punk rock band NOFX, who displayed portraits and other images on surfboards, and the impressive work of Chali 2na of Jurassic 5, whose realistic portraits of faces were among the crowd favorites.
Food takes the stage
While there were plenty of food trucks and vendors throughout the festival grounds, for the foodies the SideStage pop-up restaurant was the place to be. That’s where, for $90-$250 per person, people got a prix fixe menu by a different chef each night served on the side of the main stage while bands performed.
On Friday chef Ray Hayashi of Hermosa Beach’s modern Asian restaurant RYLA took over the temporary kitchen, serving a menu that included braised beef short rib, while Saturday the SideStage belonged to Michelin-Star chef Kevin Meehan of Kali in Los Angeles, who cooked a meal that included something called an “Acid Trip” tomato salad and bass with eggplant caviar. On Sunday Jacob Ramos, the festival’s executive chef, closed out the weekend with a menu consisting of Bluefin tuna, crab cake and a wood-grilled New York steak.
The VIP feel
While the festival offered expensive VIP packages that included things like private cabanas overlooking the festival grounds, those with a general admission ticket still were able to feel like very important people thanks to some of the perks included with the price of admission.
While it’s wasn’t real grass, the lush green turf that covered the large front stage area added a fancy park-like feel to the general admission area. And people could chill out on couches or play ping-pong and cornhole at the adjacent bars and lounge spots that were also covered in the green turf. Over at the sand-covered Lowtide stage there were couches and lounge chairs right on the sand under shade, while next to that was a raised cantina with chairs and tables. Constructed on a raised platform, the cantina overlooked the sand and had a sort of private beach club feel to it, although it was open to all ticket holders.
Staff writers Kelli Skye Fadroski and Michael Hixon contributed to this report.