A fantastic BeachLife weekend despite an abrupt end


BeachLife Music Festival is a wonderful yearly event that takes place in Redondo Beach, California. Last year’s festival was a grand showing so this year had a lot to live up to. However, the organizers put together a great lineup filled with stellar artists that had many fans both local and afar excited to have fun on the beach.

Enthusiastic audiences entered the fairgrounds to find two large stages, Hightide set on the turf floor and Lowtide set on the sandy beach. There were also two smaller stages, a Riptide tent and a Speakeasy lounge space with a more intimate setting. The in-between spaces were decorated with local art pieces and sprinkled with a range of food and drink vendors. 

Seal by Ron Vasquez for BeachLife

Things were off to a fantastic start camping out on the HighTide turf listening to Seal serenade his mellow tunes. The artist talked a bit about his The Masked Singer appearance before performing “Hold On” and then slowing things down with a guitar rendition of “Jade”. Seal continued with songs like “Future Love Paradise” and “Bring It On” before ending with his iconic track, “Kiss From A Rose.”

Californian native rock band Dirty Heads performed later on the  Lowtide stage and those fortunate enough to snag an unoccupied hammock got to sway in the ocean breeze enjoying their set. Seal did a great job of speaking sweetly to the crowd near sunset, but Dirty Heads had a bit more excitement to their sound which felt like a much-needed jolt of energy on the chilly beachfront. The Huntington Beach natives had the perfect Cali style for Redondo. Reggae rock tracks like “One Hand”, “Medusa,”  and “Bum Bum” echoed on the shore against the susurration of the ocean. Before leaving Dirty Heads made sure to take the crowd to a place they knew called, “El Dorado”.

Dirty Heads by Bobby for BeachLife

The main event headliner for the evening was the legendary musician Sting who wasted no time with introductions diving straight into “Englishman In New York”. The singer’s audio wasn’t as loud as some felt it should’ve been making attendees further back feel a bit left out. Regardless, Sting had fun engaging with the crowd, admitting it was his first time at Redondo. The setlist included Sting’s greatest hits across his solo career as well as time spent with The Police. Each track in his catalog evokes a different emotion. We bopped along to “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” and cast away to the shores for “Message In A Bottle”. Even at 72 years old, Sting can still rock out especially while performing “Can’t Stand Losing You” and “Roxanne”.

Sting by Ron Vasquez for BeachLife

The following festival day was breezier with overcast clouds blanketing the sky but fans were determined to have a great time. Once by Lowtide most removed their shoes and dug their toes in the cold sand. Witnessing old-school reggae band Steel Pulse inspired many attendees to reconnect to their roots. From the bottom of their soul, the proud rasta group spoke into existence the message of peace and prosperity for all mankind. They preached the ongoing fight against bigotry, racism, fascism, police brutality, and any injustice that would keep people from uniting. Steel Pulse championed those to continue to be fighters playing “Soldiers” before taking it to another level on “Higher Than High”. We all grooved and mellowed out a bit for their 1977 love song, “Nyah Love”.

The second night highlight for many was getting to watch Incubus, the recent remastered release of their album Morning View undoubtedly contributed to this excitement. The loyal fanbase erupted before the band even got to their instruments. Noteworthy tracks such as “Pardon Me,” made many transport to their youthful angst. “Nice To Know You” lyrics howled over the speakers leading to some head bumping. Incubus continued to awe the sea of onlookers with a cover of The Beatles’ “Come Together” leading to “Wish You Were Here”.

Incubus by JP Cordero for BeachLife, top and cover image

The last day was slated to be a great day. The sun seemed to want to stay out and attendees were ready to play lining up before the gates opened. Opening duties went to the alternative band Atlas Genius. The trio of brothers from Australia were grateful for the early turnout and to BeachLife for having them. Being their first time in the United States in four years, vocalist/guitarist Keith Jeffery was happy to be back and got to work with the electric, groovy tune “Back Seat”. The brothers were excited to introduce their new upcoming album End Of The Tunnel and performed a slew of newly released tracks like “If  So,” “Nobody Loves Like You,” and “Don’t Let Love Be A Stranger” before ending their set with their most known track and summer hit “Trojans”.

Atlas Genius by Bobby Rivero for BeachLife

Sugar Ray by JP Cordero for BeachLife

Mark McGarth’s band, Sugar Ray, has been a staple at BeachLife Festival for 5 years straight, and for a good reason – you can always depend on McGarth and Company to give you a shot of 90s pop nostalgia. Songs like “Fly” were practically written for the beach while the catchy lyrics in “Someday” get stuck in your head and then quietly whispered later at random. Mark McGarth has been in the entertainment industry forever and knows how to engage crowd reactions such as crowd participation or poking fun at his movie roles like in Scooby Doo

The Riptide tent quickly filled with excited spectators waiting in anticipation for the arrival of Tito Puente Jr. honoring his father, ‘The King of Mambo’, Tito Puente Sr for 100 years of gracing the world with mambo. Throughout this performance, Junior’s small orchestra used every bit of the tight space to pay homage to the Caribbean classics. Without hesitation, Tito Jr. elated the crowd by playing his timbales for“Mambo Gozon,” leading to adorning chats, “Tito! Tito!”. Junior was appreciative of the diverse crowd, preaching the importance of preserving the art of Afro-Cuban music. Tracks like “Juventud del Presente,” “Cha Cha Cha,” and a cover of Santana’s “Oye Como Va” were a huge hit.

ZZ Top by Bobby Rivero for BeachLife

ZZ Top closed out the weekend with a taste of southern blues-rock. They made the Chicagoans happy when they began their set with “Jesus Just Left Chicago” before stepping into “Gimme All Your Lovin”. 

Unfortunately, during the ZZ Top set strong gusts of wind led to a swift evacuation, and due to safety protocols, the event wouldn’t continue for the rest of the evening. While the attendees may have been disappointed to miss out on Trey Anastasio of Fish and My Morning Jacket, the safety of eventgoers is always the top priority.

BeachLife event organizers offered fans a refund for the third day, a notable gesture that’ll go a long way in getting the support of people to attend the festival next year. While it wasn’t the ending we all wanted, it was overall a great weekend to experience seeing some supreme talent live. The BeachLife team’s commitment to bringing great artists together for locals to see is why it is one of the best events of the year.

All images courtesy of the festival

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