Ben Harper and Relentless7
West Beach Music Festival Returns for Year Three
Ben Harper, Steel Pulse, Slightly Stoopid Head to the Sand for Weekend-Long Concert
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Two years ago, on a rainy Saturday in October, Twiin Productions’ West Beach Music Festival made its less-than-successful debut on Santa Barbara’s picturesque shoreline. The then one-day affair boasted an afternoon and evening of jam, rock, and pop music from some of the county’s finest, including Sugarcult, The Penfifteen Club, Animal Liberation Orchestra, and Shades of Day. The event’s host: none other than Loveline’s Adam Carolla. Sadly, poor weather and low turnout meant a bust for West Beach, leaving most of us confident that we’d never see or hear from the project again.
Then came 2008. With renewed financial support and a much grander affair in mind, Twiin’s Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton (yes, they’re twins) returned to West Beach with a new vision: three days of nonstop music, dancing, and family-friendly fun. Jason Mraz and Natasha Bedingfield closed out night one with two upbeat sets of radio-friendly hits. Day two saw Ziggy Marley jamming with the tykes during a mid-afternoon performance on the fest’s Kids’ Stage. And day three ended with a mind-numbing set of funky soul from none other than George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic. The weekend worked to erase the memory of 2007’s false start, and, despite a few setup troubles, seemed to leave most attendees wondering what West Beach ‘09 would bring with it.
West Beach Music Festival 2009
- When: Friday, September 18, 2009, 6 p.m.
- Where: West Beach, 306 W. Cabrillo Blvd., Santa Barbara, CA
- Cost: $25 - $105
- Age limit: Not available
Full event details
This Friday at 3 p.m., the West Beach Music Festival kicks off year three with an afternoon and evening of eclectic and epic proportions. S.B.’s own Sunshine Brothers start things off, to be followed by punk from The Aggrolites, surf rock from Donavon Frankenreiter, worldly hip-hop from Ozomatli, reggae from Steel Pulse, and electronica-driven dance tunes from Bassnectar-and that’s just day one. In short, there’s no denying the twins have upped the ante for their third go-around in terms of talent, leaving many to hope that the issues that plagued last year’s fest-walking distance, sound bleed, poor vendor setup-will also be rectified.
“They spoke and we listened,” said Josh Pemberton recently. “We took a survey last year after the fest, and we were able to make a few stellar changes. The biggest change is we are now allowing ins and outs. We didn’t allow it last year because we didn’t want to impact the neighboring businesses, but nearly unanimously, they are all in support of it. So, you can come and go as you please until 7 p.m. We’ve also brought the footprint down by 33 percent. Walking in the sand can be pretty tiring, [so] this was a no-brainer. We’ve got a great team and careful programming to ensure our stages aren’t competing with each other.”
Together with a staff of more than 650 people per day, the Pembertons are also planning to bring this year’s event out into the downtown bar scene, with West Beach-sponsored after-parties taking place around town throughout the weekend. On Friday, Velvet Jones hosts S.B. stalwarts Shades of Day and The Naybrhood, Sandbar welcomes The Aggrolites and Marc B., and EOS plays host to the after-party. On Saturday, SOJA, Passafire, and The Movement hit Velvet, Shwayze gets down at Wildcat, and Sashamon takes over Sandbar. And on Sunday, the official post-fest shindig heads to the Wildcat. For $20, festival attendees can score a VIP After-Party Pass, which gets you into all the festivities sans cover fee.