Redondo BeachLife Festival hopes to rock steady

Local musician Kevin Sousa and his band open Beach Life, today, Friday at 1 p.m.

BeachLife will be back in King Harbor starting Friday. Photo by Jessie Lee Cederblom

by Mark McDermott 

Yes, live music is back. And no, the pandemic is not over. But as BeachLife Festival prepares to relaunch this weekend with a lineup most decidedly arranged to maximize rock n’ roll and good vibes, the music part of the equation has been carefully designed to predominate over the pandemic. 

BeachLife headliners include Jane’s Addiction, Cage the Elephant, Ziggy and Stephen Marley (singing their father’s songs), Ben Harper and the Counting Crows. And BeachLife is just under the 10,000 person threshold of “mega-events,” as deemed by county and state health officials, meaning masks will not be required for festival goers. Even so, all vendors and workers inside the festival will be masked. Outside the festival gates, proof of either vaccination or a negative Covid test will be required. Instant tests will be available. 

The idea is that within the walls of the BeachLife Festival grounds will be a Covid-free zone, both physically and mentally. 

“It’s got to be safe, it’s got to follow Covid protocols,” said Allen Sanford, BeachLife co-founder.  “But when you get in here, I don’t want people thinking of f****** Covid. I want people to have a good time and listen to music. If the whole thing had Covid signs everywhere, and all we are thinking about is Covid, then why are we even doing it? What we are not going to do is make this a Covid festival. What we are going to do is do our homework upfront, and make sure the whole site is Covid safe.” 

This has been the MO since the festival was announced months ago for Jim Lindberg, the Pennywise frontman who is wearing several hats for BeachLife, including performing and organizing an acoustic festival stage SpeakEasy, which will include performances from Tom Curren, Steve Cabarello, Jason Devore, and Trevor Keith. 

“For me, I really feel like we’re just going to come out and just go for it, and let the music do the talking,” Lindberg said. “I want this to be about the music and the fun and the experience. It’s kind of like these days when you get back together with people, it’s all been said already, like, ‘Yes, that was a crazy year that we just went through.’ And it’s going to go down in history as that. But it’s like, less talk, more rock.” 

The festival has been sold out for nearly a month, but last week, the BeachLife After Dark series was announced. The seres at local venues, including R10, the Lighthouse, Samba, Barnacles and Watermens will feature local artists such as Kevin Miso, Cubensis, DJ Quasar, and the Higgs. 

Sanford said the After Dark series is meant to serve festival goers who want to keep festing late into the night and to help local businesses. 

“Just to make this a win-win for everybody,” Sanford said. “We’ll have almost 10,000 people down here, and at least half will want to go out and have a good time after the festival. We wanted to direct people to places we love and respect. BeachLife wants all businesses to win.” 

Sanford’s ethos this year is in keeping with something festival performer Ziggy Marley said in an interview a few months ago with local writer Rachel Reeves, whom he also talked to 18 months ago, just as the pandemic arrived. He said one of the lessons of this time is about finding a new way of living in a manner that recognizes how we are all connected. 

“Because in my mind, the solution is so simple, you know?” he said. “The idea of spreading love, the idea of leadership, the idea that we have leaders in this world that cannot figure out, with such a long history of humans being here —  that we still cannot figure out how to live together, how to help each other, prosper together, and just make the world the best it can be. We’re still not fulfilling our potential. So it’s really, for me, it’s so simple…in terms of spreading the message of love.”

Sanford said the festival itself, which was an enormous risk for himself and its team of investors, has become less about achieving financial success and more about community service. The festival has, for example, done something unique in the annals of the music industry —  any ticket buyers uncomfortable with attending due to Covid has been offered a full refund. 

“I don’t think there’s a festival in a country that offers refunds if you’re uncomfortable with COVID, and we did,” Sanford said. “I just want people to know we really, truly care about the community. This festival is half enterprise, half public party. So it is a business, but I hope we are also doing a public service by bringing smiles and sunshine to this community. It’s just so needed right now.” 

See BeachLIfeFestival.com for more information. ER 

 

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