BeachLife Festival 2024 | Review & Photos

Article Contributed by Alan Sheckter | Published on Saturday, May 18, 2024

In this its fifth incarnation, the BeachLife Festival, May 3 to 5, brought a splendid mingling of ocean vibes, colorful people and unique, multi-genre mélange of music to the Seaside Lagoon at Redondo Beach, Calif.

Devo performs to a large Low Tide crowd on Saturday night

Long-established musical luminaries who began plying their craft in the ‘70s, performers who’ve blossomed to stardom in the ‘90s and 2020s, and others who are poised for soon-to-come big recognition, all shared the distinctive seaside surroundings with equal fervor. The weekend’s biggest names included icons Sting, Incubus, Seal, ZZ Top, and Devo, with compelling and captivating stage shows by some important women in the business, such as Santigold, Courtney Barnett, Margo Price, Gaby Moreno, and Grace McKagan. In addition, there was a bevy of other significant musical personalities of many flavors on display, including Dirty Heads, City and Colour, Tito Puente Jr., Donavon Frankenreiter with G Love, Pepper, Steel Pulse, Local Natives, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and Sugar Ray.

Margo Price and her band | Beachlife Ranch

Music was offered as always from four stages and the audio quality was awesome throughout as music co-mingled with ocean breezes and pleasing vantage points. Both main stages, as they’ve been since the festival’s founding in 2019, were massive formations. Dubbed High Tide and Low Tide, they each supported audiences of several thousand though they were very different in terms of settings and accompanying features. The High Tide stage, standing tall in front of a cool, grassy meadow, was officially the main stage, and the Low Tide Stage, also giant, offered a vast beach-sand viewing area. The Low Tide Stage, a recipient of direct and brisk ocean breezes, offered its own cooler microclimate. A third, Rip Tide stage, with room for about 500 onlookers, thrived as well, with a steady itinerary of ambitious acts. A fourth, stage, the Speakeasy, was a three-walled living room kind of vibe, with room for about 75 people plus about 100 more that stood outside the unwalled side in the art-display zone.

Entrace to the High Tide stage area early on Friday
Toward the back of the expansive Low Tide stage beach

Perks for VIP audience members, who paid extra for their one- or three-day pass, included access to raised decks at the large stages with elevated stage views, luxury bathroom trailers, and an intimate, carved out ”VIP Oasis” lawn area surrounded by food and beverage vendors and large-screen stage simulcasts for watching a performance away from the masses. Captain ticketholders, who ponied up upwards of $3,000 each, were privy to close-to-stage viewing access, artist meet-and-greets, free snacks and appetizers, dedicated parking, and other perks. There was, as has been a tradition at BeachLife, a “SideStage,” at which select celebrity chefs such as Ian Gresik, Nyesha Arrington, David Slay, and Jacob Ramos were the stars, presiding over a 50-seat, sit-down, pop-up restaurant that served meals. The SideStage gave those who plunked down an appreciable separate fee an upscale multi-course dining experience just feet from the Low Tide stage.

VIP ticketholders on Sunday afternoon

Enjoying the view from the Low Tide stage VIP platform on Sunday

The entirety of the fest’s offerings, in addition to the vast assortment of abounding music, were grand at BeachLife: seaside beauty, nicely placed art installations, an abundance of craft beers, gourmet food trucks, and other food vendors, as well as a large picnic-table area for consumption, South Bay nonprofit causes being represented, trendy products being sampled and sold, a kids activities area, and a weekend to share a colorful South Bay vibe with 10,000 on one’s closest friends. Cigarette smoking was almost nonexistent and there was a friendly, mutual respect between all attendees.

Sunset Paulaner Orange Cola samples

Good place to celebrate a birthday, Friday afternoon during the Donavon Frankenreiter / G Love set

Indeed, gale-force winds late Sunday afternoon caused a public safety risk that triggered an early evacuation, then cancellation, of the final three major acts that evening. But that day too, which wound up concluding with a classic ZZ Top performance, was a fine, though a bit truncated, festival day. (See more on Sunday’s early shutdown towards the end of this review.) Here, rather than dwelling on “what was not” on Sunday, we will focus on “what there was,” and that was plenty, even on Sunday.

Sunset at the back of the Low Tide stage viewing area
The expansive beach viewing area of the Low Tide stage, between bands on Saturday

Sting: Forty-five years after The Police’s “Roxanne,” “Message in a Bottle,” and “Can’t Stand Losing You” became big radio hits, that band’s front-man and solo superstar Sting serenaded a massive High Tide stage crowd as Friday’s headliner. Including all three of the above-named songs, as well as Police faves “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic,” “Walking on the Moon, “King of Pain,” and “closer “Every Breath You Take,” the soulful ska-flavored English pop/rock vocalist/bass playing superstar’s performance was one big sing-along.

Sting during his headlining performance on Friday
Sting | BeachLife Festival

Spanning his entire career, the well-toned 72-year-old Sting (and his band) reminded us what a wonderful song-crafter he is, and also included post-Police hits, like this four-song sequence: “If I Ever Love My Faith in You,” followed by “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free,” “Fields of Gold,” and “Brand New Day.” The 90-minute set, which was the final performance for this particular band conglomeration, Sting told the crowd, also included The Police’s “So Lonely,” which seamlessly segued in and out of Bob Marley’s “No Woman No Cry.” Each song, which also featured lead guitarist Dominic Miller, who has been with Sting since 1991, was its own distinctive piece of work, with each tune’s layers and musical expressions unlike any other song. And, it was pleasing to hear Sting’s always intelligent, poetic, thoughtful, and topical lyrics.

Sting and part of his band at BeachLife Festival
Sting | Redondo Beach, CA

Incubus: Los Angeles County’s own hard-driving Incubus took over the High Tide Stage as Saturday night’s headliner, with a commanding, 90-minute show that put a lot of focus on their “Make Yourself” (1999) and “Morning View” (2001) albums. Still led by founding members Brandon Boyd (lead vocals), Mike Einziger (lead guitar), and José  Pasillas (drums), along with DJ Kilmore and brand-new bass player Nicole Row (from Panic! At the Disco), Incubus’s bright stage lights, full-throttle songs and jams, with some reminiscences of old Red Hot Chili Peppers and early-‘90s Seattle grunge, Incubus was more than up for the task of being top dog on Saturday. They opened with “Quicksand,” and “Nice to Know You,” Boyd’s hair flying as he passionately delivered vocals atop a bombardment of sound. The set included covers by The Beatles (“Come Together”) and new for 2024 – Portishead, of all people (a rocked-out “Glory Box”). Following a splendid take on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance,” also new for 2024, the alt-power-rock outfit, closed with a triad of “Drive,” “Wish You Were Here,” and “Aqueous Transmission.”

Incubus’s Brandon Boyd during their Saturday night headlining set at the High Tide Stage

Incbus's Nicole Row

Seal: Utilizing the walkway in front of the stage, Seal’s performance on the High Tide stage on Friday was certainly one of the high points of BeachLife 2024. The British singer/songwriter, guitarist, and record producer lamented early on, “How can I fit 35 years into an hour?” Seal made a good point, but proceeded to deliver, with outstanding renderings of his biggest hits including a fabulous three-song-stretch of the beautiful power ballad “Kiss From a Rose,” followed by two prominent pieces of music from his 1991 self-titled first album, “Killer,” then “Crazy.” He made the setting more intimate by performing the final three songs down on the field with the crowd.

Seal | Beachlife Ranch Festival

Seal and the High Tide stage crowd

Seal’s passionate musical presentation also included “The Beginning,” and “Future Love Paradise,” along with “covers of T. Rex’s rocker, “20th Century Boy,” and Prefrab Sprout’s alt-pop song, “Bonny,” both of which were apparently performed by Seal for the first time, and lovely set-ender, “Love’s Divine.” Toward the end of the set, he shared, “I realize that coming here tonight and seeing the look in your eyes and your faces, and seeing my reflection in your eyes, I realize how important it is to have a sense of purpose.”

Seal | Redondo Beach, CA

Seal in the crowd at BeachLife Festival

ZZ Top: Following the death of Dusty Hill in 2021, ZZ Top these days consists of co-founders Billy Gibbons (lead guitar/vocals) and Frank Beard (drums), along with bass player Elwood Francis, who was formerly ZZ Top’s long-time guitar tech for Gibbons, as well as for the Black Crowes, Aerosmith, and Guns N’ Roses. Showcasing an armload of classic hits on Sunday, the blues/boogie/Southern rock trio did not disappoint in manifesting one of the most highly anticipated festival performances. Opening with a spark, a high-throttle version of “Got Me Under Pressure” that got the feet in front of the Low Tide Stage kicking up a little sand, the band moved on to Sam & Dave’s “I Thank You,” “Waitin’ for the Bus,” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” The set also included iconic favorites such as “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Sharp Dressed Man,” “Legs,” and “Sixteen Tons” (by Merle Travis, made famous by Tennessee Ernie Ford).

ZZ Top’s Elwood Francis (left) and Billy Gibbons

ZZ Top’s lead guitarist Billy Gibbons

As their set was drawing to a close, ZZ Top offered “Tube Snake Boogie,” which broke down near the end, with Gibbons declaring “things are getting weird up here” as officials were about to evacuate the place due to high-wind dangers. They then played a few notes of “La Grange,” but were told to immediately stop. All in all, it was still an awesome showing by the veteran band.

ZZ Top at the Low Tide stage | Beachlife Festival

Billy Gibbons | Redondo Beach, CA

Dirty Heads: Combining hip-hop and reggae rock, Dirty Heads dished out a high-level performance as the final band on the Low Tide stage on Friday. Hailing from Huntington Beach, Calif., about 30 miles down the coast from Redondo Beach, Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell and Jared “Dirty J” Watson led the band in an energetic set of tunes that spanned their career. Somewhat reminiscent of 311 and/or Sublime, Dirty Heads expertly rhymed and harmonized, from “Lay Me Down” from their first album, to five tunes from their 2022 release, “Midnight Control,” including opener “Heavy Water,” a fun, reggae-flavored version of Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good,” and closing number, “Island Glow.” The upbeat set also included “Medusa” and “Vacation,” an entrancing tale of achieving success by staying true to oneself: “Ay, ay, ayy / I'm on vacation / Every single day ‘cause I love my occupation.”

Dirty Heads’ Dustin “Duddy B” Bushnell (center)

Dirty Heads’ Jared “Dirty J” Watson | BeachLife Festival

Dirty Heads | BeachLife Festival

Devo: One of the bands that brought the most pre-fest intrigue, and came through with flying colors, was punk-pop eccentrics Devo, performing amid their 50 Years of De-Evolution Tour.  Devo performed as the last Low Tide stage act on Saturday, in front of a massive beach crowd, who moved in unison in what was a giant surf-punk party. The BeachLife crowd witnessed the band, which included founding members Mark Mothersbaugh, Bob Mothersbaugh, and Jerry Casale (all now in their 70s), disseminating all their quirky classics and yes, wearing those famous red plastic pyramid-shaped “energy dome” hats for a few songs. And indeed, the band performed “Whip It,” the 1980 hit that launched their uber-popularity, before which Mark Mothersbaugh declared, “If ever we were living through a time when we needed to whip it, that time is now!” Devo also carried out multiple costume changes, with several oddly captivating video shorts providing attention diversions while the boys in the band changed getups. The fellas in the band, clearly enjoying their time onstage, were in fine musical form, working hard on their instruments, vocals, and shtick to create the Devo magic that the public has long since endeared.

Devo lets loose on Saturday night | Beachlife Festival

Devo’s Bob Mothersbaugh

Devo’s set included such popular tunes as “Jocko Homo (We are Devo),” “Uncontrollable Urge,” and “Smart Patrol/Mr. DNA.” They also churned out a couple of their famous covers: The Rolling Stones’ 1965 hit, “(I Can’t Get Me No) Satisfaction” and “Secret Agent Man,” made famous by Johnny Rivers, who had a hit with it in 1966. The set ended with a long, jammed-out rendition of “Beautiful World,” sung by “Booji Boy” (portrayed by Mark Mothersbaugh outfitted in an orange nuclear protection suit). Devo’s performance, on May 4, came 54 years after bass player Jerry Casale, a political activist at Kent State University at the time, was interviewed by the BBC regarding the four student deaths by the Ohio National Guard, on May 4, 1970.

Devo’s Jerry Casale

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh | Beachlife Festival

Devo’s Mark Mothersbaugh book signing: Earlier Saturday afternoon, Mark Mothersbaugh took part in a Speakeasy Stage interview, followed by a book signing for “Apotropaic Beatnik Graffiti,” “a collection of ‘neo-dada beatnik stream of consciousness poetry and graffiti pieces’ representing one human's shamanistic observations of life in a wiggly world.”  

Mark Mothersbaugh signs a copy of “Apotropaic Beatnik Graffiti”

Santigold: Along with her band, including two artistically pleasing dancers, Santigold’s soulful, riveting performance early Saturday evening turned a lot of heads that hadn’t before been exposed to the artist’s unique magic. Her stage show, a cross-genre of dub, reggae, hip-hop, and alt-pop with deep bass and rhythm layers, came on a day that she said she was under the weather. Nevertheless, lots of dancing and swaying on the beach of the Low Tide stage took place. Santigold’s set included 2008 breakout hit “L.E.S. Artistes,” as well as “GO!,” “Unstoppable” and “Disparate Youth.”

Santi White, aka Santigold, on Saturday

Santigold and her band | Beachlife Festival

“‘L.E.S. Artistes’ by Santigold was amazing as I listened to that album a ton in high school,” said Elizabeth Shabazian, who traveled with her fiancée up from San Diego for the festival. “Her voice is so unique, and the chorus of the song, ‘I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up,’ always reminded me of the importance of being at peace with the sacrifice of whatever choices I was making for the future I hoped to manifest. We both find that seeing music we’ve listened to a lot during a certain time of our life heals that inner teen, child, young adult, etc. which is one of the coolest things about BeachLife’s lineups. They tend to pick indie artists that were very popular about 10 years ago, which gives a really cool nostalgia to the festival.”

Elizabeth Shabazian and her fiancée grooving to Santigold

Santigold and her band | Beachlife Festival

Artwork to be admired, purchased, or created on the spot adorned the expanse of grass between the Speakeasy stage and the far reaches of the Low Tide stage viewing area. This year’s collection of amazing visual art creators, most of whom were onsite, included Kristin Koefoed’s vibrant, unabashed abstract illustrations; Dennis Jarvis’s colorized rock-star portrait art and airbrushed surfboards; G Love’s acrylic and spray paint on canvas works; Danielle Rush’s Illuminated Art Hawaii “makeup on canvas” works; Bob Dob’s pop culture icons; and Ukrainian artists Olya and Vira Ishchuk’s, aka “Mad Twins,” dazzling musician portraits.

Checking out some artwork on Friday at Beachlife

Kristen Koefoed (left), from Philadelphia, and Danielle Rush, from Oahu, Hawaii

Dennis Jarvis’s art | Beachlife Festival

Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett brought her blues/rock trio-with-a-twang to the High Tide stage late Sunday afternoon for a spirited set of originals. With her hair blowing across her face, foreshadowing even stiffer breezes that would cause the fest to end early, Barnett, who sang and shredded on lead guitar, had an onstage aura of a rocked-out Brandi Carlile. It is important to note that, even during the windiest of times, the audio was seemingly unaffected and remained just fine. Barnett, drummer Stella Mozgawa, and a solid bass player kicked out a set that leaned quite a bit on her debut record, “Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit,” and included “Avant Gardener,” “Small Poppies,” “Depreston,” “Pedestrian at Best,” and “History Eraser,” as well as closer “Nobody Really Cares If You Don't Go to the Party.”

Courtney Barnett, about 90 minutes before Sunday’s proceedings ended due to high winds

Courtney Barnett | Beachlife Festival

City and Colour: Indie rock band City and Colour, fronted by Dallas Green, entertained a Low Tide stage crowd early Friday evening with tunes of varying tempos. Green, known for work with Alexisonfire (pre-City and Colour) as well as the You+Me folk-duo project with Pink that yielded an album in 2014, led a rendering of the title track from their current album, “The Love Still Held Me Near,” as well as many of their best-known songs, including “Two Coins,” “We Found Each Other in the Dark (which Green said “is about being kinder to other people”),” “Hello, I'm in Delaware,” “Thirst,” and “Lover Come Back,” as well as Alice in Chains’ “Nutshell.”

City and Colour’s Dallas Green | Beachlife Festival

City and Colour | Beachlife Festival

Local Natives: Orange County, Calif., indie rockers Local Natives performed a set of nicely textured tunes at the High Tide stage in a high-profile slot on Saturday night, immediately before Devo and Incubus. The set included three songs from their 2009 debut record, “Gorilla Manor”: “Wide Eyes,” “Sun Hands,” and “Who Knows, Who Cares.” Local Natives also played “April” for the first time, from their “But I’ll Wait for You” album, released just two week prior. They invited onstage Jordana, who appeared on the Riptide stage with her band on Friday, for “Dark Day.” They also performed their highest-charting single, “When Am I Gonna Lose You,” to end their set. That song “was extra special as I remember listening to it constantly when <fiancé> Drew and I started dating,” said Ms. Shabazian. “We’d drive around listening to the song since we both loved it, though he didn't know partially why I liked it so much was because it resonated with my inner sad girl – ha ha.”

Local Natives’ front man Taylor Rice

Local Natives with Jordana | Beachlife Festival

Roots-reggae band Steel Pulse, led by band co-founders David Hinds and Selwyn Brown, dazzled at the Low Tide on Saturday afternoon. With their typical inclusiveness and human unification advocacy, the eight-piece British band, which has been a force in the reggae music scene for almost 50 years and was making their second BeachLife appearance, delivered their musical messages to the beach crowd and seemingly, the world. Their set included “Steppin’ Out,” “Worth His Weight in Gold (Rally Round),” “Babylon Makes the Rules,” and “Ravers,” as well as a feel-good, horns-infused version of the Grateful Dead’s “Franklin’s Tower.”

Steel Pulse’s David Hinds performs on Saturday | Beachlife Festival

Steel Pulse | Redondo Beach, CA

Steel Pulse from a distance | Beachlife Festival
Causes: BeachLife, an environmentally friendly event, helped showcase a bunch of nonprofit philanthropic partners who offered community outreach and education, including the Surfrider Foundation (defending the impacts of climate change on the coast), Redondo Beach Education Foundation (RBEF, inspiring the community to invest in local schools), Heal the Bay (mobilizing Los Angeles communities to protect the coastline and advocate for clean-water policies), the Wyland Foundation (promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life), the South Bay Park Land Conservancy (Restoring native habitats) and the Redondo Beach Police Foundation.

Heal the Bay setup, ready to spread the clean-ocean gospel

Pepper, the reggae-rock band of four featuring Kaleo Wassman (lead vocals, guitar), Bret Bollinger (bass, vocals), and Yesod “Yee” Williams (drums), who have remained with the band since their formation in 1996, rambled nicely through an energetic High Tide stage set on Saturday afternoon. They also had an onstage artist painting live. Their set included “Tides” from their new “Makai” EP, “Ashes,” “Stone Love,” “No Control,” “Stormtrooper,” “Ho’s,” “B.O.O.T.,” and “Crazy Love,” as well as a closing performance of George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.”

Pepper’s Kaleo Wassman | Beachlife Festival

Pepper | Beachlife Festival

Margo Price, a storyteller through song, led her feisty alt-country/roadhouse-rocking band in a well-received set at the Low Tide stage on Sunday afternoon. Price, who performed in Denver with Nathaniel Rateliff the prior evening at a benefit concert for the Colorado Academy school, said, “We got up at 3:30 in the morning to be with you-all today.” Leading a sextet that included her husband, Jeremy Ivey, on guitar, Price ran through a set that opened with “Been to the Mountain” and closed with “A Little Pain,” which was the Americana Music Honors & Awards Song of the Year in 2018. Price, who left her guitar to adeptly play drums for a song or two, also delivered “Tennessee Song,” “Four Years of Chances,” “Cocaine Cowboys,” and “Shelter Me,” which appears on the 2023 “Downtown Owl” movie soundtrack.

Margo Price | Beachlife Festival

Margo Price | Beachlife Festival

Margo Price handles the drums | Redondo Beach, CA

St. Paul & the Broken Bones: Immediately prior to Margo Price’s set, flamboyant vocalist Paul Janeway led his large Alabama-based St. Paul & the Broken Bones ensemble in an emotional, horn-enhanced rock ‘n’ soul throwback session on the High Tide Stage. The amazing singer and his band’s performance included “Apollo,” “Half the City,” “Wolf in Rabbit Clothes,” “Flow With It (You Got Me Feeling Like),” and “Remember When.” They closed with the beautiful ballad, “Broken Bones and Pocket Change,” for which Janeway said, “This is the song that started it all for us.”

St. Paul & the Broken Bones’ Paul Janeway

St. Paul & the Broken Bones’ Paul Janeway | Beachlife Festival

Donavon Frankenreiter & G Love: Friday afternoon, old pals G Love (of Special Sauce fame, from Philadelphia), and Donavon Frankenreiter (musician and surfer, and BeachLife’s official “Director of Vibe,” Hawaii) got together for a set on Friday afternoon at the High Tide stage. The hip-hop/blues musician (G Love), and beach rocker (Frankenreiter), along with a band of capable players, sang and jammed on songs from both musicians’ catalogs. For instance, G Love took a rousing harmonica jam during Frankenreiter’s “Move By Yourself.” G Love and Frankenreiter have occasionally teamed up over the years, including as two-thirds of the trio Jamtown, an album project with Jack Johnson, and the pair recorded an album, “Live in Boston,” in 2023.

G. Love | Beachlife Festival

Donavon Frankenreiter (left) and G. Love (right)

Sugar Ray: It wouldn’t be BeachLife without the quintessential ‘90’s surf-friendly pop/rock hits, like opening songs “Someday” and “Every Morning,” the latter of which yielded a big arms-above-the-head wave from the crowd in the sand. That prompted Mark McGrath to declare, “Hey, you guys remember the ‘90s!” following that up with, “Where are my frosted-tips people at?” The set, delivered at the Low Tide stage just after noon on Sunday, also included “When It’s Over,” a beautiful version of “Fly” to end the show, as well as “What’s Gone Wrong,” by The Untouchables (soul /ska-light band from Los Angeles), a song that McGrath has apparently just added to the Sugar Ray repertoire.

Sugar Ray | Beachlife Festival

Sugar Ray motivates the crowd during “Every Morning”

Sugar Ray | Redondo Beach, CA

The Samples: Active now for more than 35 years, the Colorado alt-rockers dished out a fine set as the fest’s first High Tide stage performers on Friday. Still fronted by Sean Kelly, the foursome performance included “Nature,” “Did You Ever Look So Nice,” “Feel Us Shaking,” and “Giants Without Hearts.”

Sean Kelly of The Samples | Beachlife Festival

The Samples | Beachlife Festival

Chevy Metal: Returning to BeachLife after their Van Halen tribute show in 2019, during which the now-late Taylor Hawkins fronted the classic rock/metal cover band, Chevy Metal early on Saturday delivered a jukebox mix of hard-rock hits, generally from the ‘80s and ‘90s. This time, led by vocalist/bass player Wiley Hodgden and Brent Woods (Wildside, Vince Neil, Sebastian Bach) on lead guitar, the band’s drummer was 16-year-old Shane Hawkins, son of Taylor, who was drummer for Foo Fighters for many years, was the star of the band. Chevy Metal’s party mix of offerings included Thin Lizzie’s “Jailbreak,” The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me,” Led Zeppelin’s “Moby Dick,” which included a massive drum solo, David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” Thin Lizzie’s “Bad Reputation,” the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch.” Lee Ving, from seminal punk band Fear, joined the band on harmonica, then on vocals for the last two songs. Note to Mr. Hodgden: you can still be “rock ‘n’ roll” without having to say the F-word in every sentence.

Chevy Metal’s Brent Woods | Beachlife Festival

Drummer Shane Hawkins and Wiley Hodgden

Gaby Moreno: While ZZ Top was the final band to perform on the large stages on Sunday  before the venue was evacuated due to high wind danger, Gaby Moreno closed the proceedings at the small Rip Tide stage.

Gaby Moreno | Beachlife Festival

Gaby Moreno and her band | Beachlife Festival

Tito Puente Jr.: Son of the celebrated Tito Puente, who died in 2000, bandleader/percussionist Puente Jr., brought likely the largest crowd to the Riptide stage for a Cinco de Mayo set of joyful Latin jazz, mambo, and cha-cha-cha. His large-band’s set of brass and percussion  included a masterful version of his father’s “Oye Como Va,” popularized by Santana.

Tito Puente Jr. | Beachlife Festival

Tito Puente Jr. | Redondo Beach, CA

Grace McKagen: Daughter of Guns N’ Roses Duff McKagen, Grace McKagen led her band in a passionate set of punk/pop early Saturday evening on the Riptide stage.

Grace McKagen at the Riptide stage on Saturday

Grace McKagen | Beachlife Festival

Wall of Sound: The Grateful Dead tribute band opened the Rip Tide stage roster on Sunday, drawing a sizeable crowd. Their set of songs and jams included opener “Here Come Sunshine,” and closing sequence of “Dancing in the Streets” (the Martha and the Vandella song that the Grateful Dead made their own), followed by “Unbroken Chain.”

Wall of Sound | Beachlife Festival

Up front during Wall of Sound’s set at the Riptide stage

Saxon Weiss: The 12-year-old prodigy performed at the Speakeasy stage early Sunday afternoon, accompanied by Tal Wilkenfeld on bass and Kiel Feher on drums.

IMG 6008 – Saxon Weiss (left) and Tal Wilkenfeld

Saxon Weiss (left) and Tal Wilkenfeld

Sunday night, festival comes to an early close: At about 5:25 p.m. on Sunday, as ZZ Top was concluding their invigorating set on the Low Tide stage, an official came out to the front of the High Tide stage, to which people were migrating for a 5:30 p.m. Fleet Foxes set, and said something like, “We all have to leave due to the wind, temporarily, then we can come back in.” A collective look of “Is he serious?” came over the audience, and gradually we all realized the plea was genuine. So we all filed out, quietly, politely, and without incident. Turns out, the fest was over at that point, leaving three large-stage performance to never take place. Even when the winds were to die down, which usually happens along the beach here by sunset, the festival would’ve needed to a) re-check all parts of the stage structure to make sure they was sound, and b) have all attendees file back in through security, all of which would take a great deal of time. And with a Sunday-night curfew looming, it was not reasonable to re-start the fest for the three final acts.

Resident palm tree in the wind early Sunday evening

Enjoying Sugar Ray’s set early Sunday afternoon

A joint statement released on Monday, May 6, by Redondo Beach public safety officials and BeachLife organizers, began, “BeachLife’s Sunday evening performances were canceled by Redondo Beach public safety officials after sustained 40 mph (with maximum gusts reaching 51.1 mph) winds began to compromise the free standing stage structures creating a public safety risk and life hazard to the attendees and event personnel. As part of the preparation for BeachLife the United Command Team of the Redondo Beach Fire Department and Redondo Beach Police Department developed pre-scripted emergency response plans with BeachLife staff designed to address large scale emergencies at the venue… Given the sustained winds and a broad spectrum of threats and complexities required to re-open the venue, Redondo Beach Fire Chief Patrick Butler and Police Chief Joe Hoffman made a command decision to cancel the remaining three hours of the show.”

Beachlife Festival | Redondo Beach, CA

Part of the expansive beach in front of the Low Tide stage on Friday

Though BeachLife had been a great fest all weekend, festival co-founder Allen Sanford regretted that, not being able to have the Fleet Foxes, Trey Anastasio’s Classic TAB, and My Morning Jacket perform represented a disappointment, especially for those who came specifically that day to hear those bands. In an instance of turning lemons into lemonade, on post-festival Monday, he helped BeachLife donate 600 lbs. of food prepared for Sunday’s final SideStage experience to the local Salvation Army.

At the rail of the Low Tide stage on Friday

Jordana (left) performing with her band on Friday at the Riptide stage

Upon reflection, reasonable people agreed with the situational assessments and decision-making that went into Sunday’s early closing. Sanford and festival co-founder Rob Lissner issued a statement a couple of days later, stating, “While we were incredibly disappointed that we could not continue with our show on Sunday due to the Fire Chief’s call to execute an emergency evacuation,” Sanford wrote, “we wholeheartedly agree with the decision to prioritize public safety and want you to know that there were no failed structures and no injuries as a result of our precautionary measures. As such, we’ve been working diligently with our advisors, the artists, and our moral compass & responsibility to our music fans to develop a plan to compensate fans that came to see one of the several bands that didn’t get the opportunity to play. We appreciate that you spent your hard-earned money on our festival, and that some of you might not have received the full experience you paid for. As such, if you believe you are entitled to some sort of refund. Such refunds, including certain compensations or discounted tickets for BeachLife 2025, are detailed on the BeachLife website.

The BeachLife is evident at Hermosa Pier, where this Tim Kelly Lifeguard Memorial stands, about one mile from the festival grounds.

Living the BeachLife at Redondo Beach

See you next year!