Back To The Beach Fest – Huntington Beach, CA – 4.28+29.18
Back To The Beach Fest
Huntington Beach, CA – 4.28+29.18
Words by Salma Bustos
Photos by Jay Mendez
Travis Barker and John Feldman present Back to the Beach Fest for the first time ever in Huntington Beach. This two day family friendly ska festival on Saturday and Sunday April 28th and 29th had an amazing lineup and various vegan food stands.
As you arrive at the fest on both perfect sunny days the welcoming vibes are prominent. There are several inflatables and 3 giants beach chairs for photo ops. There are several food and drink stands that line the entire perimeter of the festival that also includes vegan options. In the middle of the fest there is a vendor village with companies that promote their products, food, drinks and clothing. There are also multiple beach games to play with your friends bean bag tosses and even giant cup pong for the audience to entertain themselves between sets.
The turnout was great and consistent on both days, hundreds of families brought their children along with them to enjoy the weekend. Back to the beach also offered a kids area with face painting and several games. There are colorful tents that offer shade from the sun whether you want to lay out or sit in the hundreds of bean bags that they had at the fest.
Big D & the Kids Table kick off the first day and the dancing/ skanking does not stop for the rest of the weekend. The rest of the afternoon The Suicide Machines, Mad Caddies and Less Than Jake have their loyal fans that set it off for each of them. Hepcat, veterans in the scene, bring the old reggae ska back listening to them feels like walking down the street in your favorite film to their soundtrack.The Aquabats puts on a theatrical performance immediately throwing inflatable sharks into their crowd during their opening song “The Shark Fighter!”, the most fitting set opening at Back to the Beach. The Aquabats have former member, drummer Travis Barker join them for a few songs. The Mighty Mighty BossTones play a magical end to the first fest during sunset and as the crowd begins to wind down they prepare for the headliner, 311. 311 sets the tone of the night with “Beautiful Disaster” as the sun slips into the ocean. The entire crowd sings and dances to the classic 311 songs and it’s an incredible end to the first day of Back to the Beach fest.
Day 2 of Back to the Beach is opened by The Untouchables and the crowd immediately opens up a dance pit to groove out. The Aggrolites bring the harder side of reggae ska, with raw vocals and strong bass lines. Mustard Plug is a ska classic with catchy loops and choruses. Their harmonizing makes for an epic sing along. They make you want to get up and skank. The Interrupters bring a responsive crowd with their upbeat bouncy tunes, their drum and bass combo make you want to move your feet. Save Ferris takes the stage with a demanding presence, they interact with the crowd and the crowd goes wild when they play their version of “Come on Eileen”. Fishbone’s original lineup is another throwback and subtle head nod to those who have been listening to ska music for several years prior.
Goldfinger’s set during sunset with Travis Barker on the drums is nothing short of spectacular. John Feldman puts on the ultimate show by bringing out some prominent friends in the ska scene from bands like Reel Big Fish and No Doubt to join him on stage. If he’s not running around with a guitar in his hand John Feldman could be found walking amongst the crowd as they hold him up. Next up, the long awaited band of the weekend, Sublime with Rome. Sublime with Rome plays a set of older songs that allows the crowd to enjoy and revel in their experiences with the band from previous years. They are the perfect band to watch as a headliner on a festival on Huntington Beach.
Back to the Beach fest was a perfect opportunity for everyone that enjoys listening to ska music to watch several of their favorite bands on the same stage. The festival had such a wide selection that listening who now have families are given the opportunity to bring their spouses and children to collectively enjoy the music and experience.