Brian Wilson, Bob Weir, Willie Nelson to headline Redondo’s BeachLife Festival
by David Mendez
Music legends Brian Wilson, Bob Weir and Willie Nelson will lead an eclectic selection of bands in King Harbor for Redondo Beach’s three-day BeachLife Festival, running the weekend of May 3 to May 5.
“In the South Bay, we don’t try to be cool, we just do what we do, and I think that’s cool. With a lot of festival announcements, everyone’s trying to follow the next new band — what’s cool, hip and current — but our team just thought, let’s book some really good f–king music that people love,” said South Bay native Allen Sanford, who founded the festival alongside business partner Rob Lissner.
“What we wanted to do is give respect to the icons that have paved the way,” Sanford said of his headliners. Wilson, he said, is among the greatest songwriters of all time. As founding member of the Hawthorne-based Beach Boys, Wilson’s inclusion was a “no-brainer.” Wilson will be joined by fellow Beach Boys players Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin.
Weir, similarly, is a founding member of the Grateful Dead, and has continued his guitar and vocal career long after the group disbanded in 1995. His guitar playing transcends genre lines, meandering and wandering through styles as the songs — and his whims — call for it. The full act, Bob Weir & Wolf Bros., features Don Was on bass and Jay Lane on drums.
As a country artist, Nelson is not among the first people one might imagine would play a festival by the beach, but Sanford would disagree. “It’s that sunset nostalgic, having a beer, relaxed feeling — we’re inclusive at the beach,” Sanford said. “Willie, for all of us, made perfect sense.” Nelson will be backed by The Family, his longtime band.
The three legends top an initially-announced bill of national and local acts, including Grace Potter, Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, Everclear, Best Coast and Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds. A full list of acts is below, and more bands are to be announced as the festival approaches.
But a personal favorite for Jim Lindberg, the Pennywise vocalist who is on board as BeachLife’s creative director, is foundational punk band X.
“I couldn’t be more happy that X is on the bill, and I pushed really hard on that,” Lindberg said. “I’ve said that only two good things have come out of LA: Mexican food, and X.”
The South Bay has been starving for this kind of event, Lindberg said, and he thinks BeachLife might be a catalyst for young musicians the same way his friend and Everclear lead singer Art Alexakis was inspired by seeing national acts at the Santa Monica Civic growing up.
“I definitely want to have local bands playing, whether it’s on the main stage, a side stage, a small stage or even a street corner somewhere,” Lindberg said. “We might be inspiring the next generation.”
At least one group of local up-and-comers is assured to play the festival, as the winners of the Youth Battle of the Bands, presented by BeachLife and the Redondo Beach Police Department, will earn a spot at the festival. An 11-band show will take place on Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center.
But beyond even the music, Sanford was especially excited for Side Stage, a 50-seat full-service restaurant that will be placed — as the name implies — beside the main festival stage.
Local restaurateur David LeFevre, chef and owner of Manhattan Beach Post, Fishing With Dynamite and The Arthur J, has been named as the first chef to join the Side Stage lineup, and he will present diners with a prix fixe menu that will be “curated” to fit its accompanying artists. A further lineup of chefs will be announced in future weeks.
“He’s a huge Willie Nelson fan, and he’s going to be creating his own ‘setlist,’” Sanford said of LeFevre. “He’s going to serve you a dinner that’s unique to him and what he thinks about Willie Nelson. If you like his restaurants and what he does, it’s just like how you trust a musical artist to play a set.”
“I’ve been listening to Willie all my life, from my parent’s records of ‘Shotgun Willie’ and ‘Honeysuckle Rose’ to my own love of ‘Teatro,’” LeFevre said in a press release. “Creating a menu that matches the setlist of such an iconic musician and activist is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Beyond Side Stage, Sanford said that BeachLife is planning “extensive food and beverage experiences,” including a “local-only” craft beer bar.
The festival has also gone to great lengths to ensure that it’s doing good for the community as well, Sanford said. Portions of each ticket sold will go to benefit organizations that include Surfrider, 5 Gyres, the Redondo Beach Police Foundation and more to be announced. Both Sanford and Lindberg also teased their “Cruises for Causes,” involving exclusive acoustic sets that take place on yachts moored in the harbor. One hundred percent of those costs will go to charity, Sanford said.
Three-day general admission festival passes currently cost $249. VIP passes, which include entrance perks, a poolside lounge and premium bathrooms, cost $795. An even more exclusive “Captain’s Pass,” including concierge service, complimentary food and drinks and backstage access, tops out at $2,000. Single-day passes are not yet available.
For more information, visit beachlifefestival.com.
The BeachLife Festival Lineup
- Willie Nelson and Family
- Brian Wilson, with special guests Al Jardine and Blondie Chaplin
- Bob Weir and Wolf Bros.
- Ziggy Marley
- Violent Femmes
- As the Crow Flies, feat. Chris Robinson
- Grace Potter
- Blues Traveler
- Steel Pulse
- Bruce Hornsby and The Noisemakers
- Chevy Metal, feat. Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters
- Sugar Ray
- Colin Hay, of Men at Work
- Donavon Frankenreiter
- Best Coast
- Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass
- Poncho Sanchez
- Timmy Curran
- Matt Costa
- Roots of Creation
- The Cordovas
- Clayton Joseph Scott
- The Higgs
- His Eyes have Fangs
- V Torres
- Latchkey Kid
- Chris Pierce
- The Hollow Legs
- Charlie Overbey
Update: This story has been updated to reflect newly-announced lineup changes.