This Friday, Santa Barbara’s West Beach will transform into a reggae-rock stage for a three-day music festival on the water.
The event — which promoters expect to draw a crowd of 25,000 — will include major bands such as Pepper, Ben Harper and Isla Vista’s own Rebelution. After the performances end, the festival will host after-parties at downtown nightclubs.
Show promoter Joshua Pemberton said musical performances will be held entirely on the sand.
“From day one we’ve always been fans of positive music and that kind of backyard barbecue vibe,” Pemberton said. “Being able to recreate that out there on the beach and maybe have 10,000 friends with you is what we’re going for.”
Reggae-rock themed acts will take center stage throughout the festival, including bands like Slightly Stoopid and Steel Pulse. Rebelution, a group that formed in I.V., will play Sunday evening. Being a local act, the band said it is especially excited for the show.
“The bands are all great and the festival site is 100 percent on the sand — couldn’t ask for more,” Rebelution said in an e-mail.
Show promoters are making a point to bring out students from UCSB and I.V. Students can purchase discounted Sunday tickets at $25, down from the standard $45 ticket. In addition, Bill’s Bus has been chartered to provide free transportation from I.V. to West Beach.
Pemberton said he expects the show will also be an economic boost for Santa Barbara.
“We’re bringing in over a million and a half dollars directly,” Pemberton said. “There’s a lot of money and energy that’s brought to town with an event of this magnitude. Hotels across the street are selling out right now.”
The West Beach Inn, a hotel adjacent to the beach, is no exception. Mike Dales, a clerk at the hotel, says nearly all of his 46 rooms are booked for the weekend.
“We’ve had to turn down a lot more people than we usually do because we’re full,” Dales said.
For those concerned about potential damage to the beach, festival organizers said they have taken preemptive steps to reduce the environmental impact. Vendors are prohibited from using styrofoam, and clean-up crews will canvas the beach on Saturday and Monday. Biodiesel will also be used.
While the festival is set to be a musical celebration, it has also caused controversy.
Jacalyn Kane, a former business associate of Pemberton, is suing Pemberton’s company Twiin Productions in Santa Barbara County court for allegedly breaching contracts relating to the 2009 festival. The filing requests more than $470,000 in damages from Twiin.
Pemberton said his lawyers are addressing the suit and that the festival will not be affected by it.
The festival will begin at 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18 and will last until Sunday night. Ticket prices range from $30-$35 on Friday to $45-$50 on Saturday. Sunday tickets are $40-$45.