Despite nearly being canceled this year due to community pressures, West Beach Music and Arts Festival will reappear near the scenic Santa Barbara beachfront from September 24-25.
The festival, put on by Santa Barbara-based Twiin Productions at Chase Palm Park, was nearly shut down earlier this year after running into complications with city Parks and Recreation Department officials over the planned size and scope for this year’s festival. Last year’s attendance was estimated over 30,000 in and drew complaints about the noise and chaos caused by attendees of the weekend festival.
According to festival administrative assistant Tony Reinauer, a community meeting on Sept. 8 allowed city officials to draft a new set of requirements and expectations for the festival that included cancelling the first day of the event — originally planned for September 23. Event promoters say they have about 12,000 tickets for sale for this year’s two-day event, while last year’s festivities saw nearly that amount on a single day.
“By the end of the meeting, the community members commended our efforts,” Reinauer said. “We opened the meeting up to general questions and answers and were able to alleviate some local concerns.”
Reinauer said the festival took all issues into consideration. In one case, community members raised a point about festival entrance policies and fencing. “One woman was concerned about the in-and-out privileges that attendees had last year and there will be none this year,” Reinauer said. “A couple community members also mentioned they wanted to see fencing to protect the landscaping around the site and vegetation. That will be there as well.”
In addition to accommodating those surrounding the festival area, promoters also plan to implement a number of plans to keep the event environmentally friendly, including beach clean ups.
“We have an environmental coordinator and a lot of volunteers,” Reinauer said. “We try to make our office and events environmentally friendly.”
This year’s event will showcase bands ranging from Rebelution to UB40 and DJ Skeet Skeet. The festival will also play host to late night shows in downtown Santa Barbara, bringing in reggae groups such as the Easy Star All-Stars.
While tickets for the event are being sold online, tickets are also being held on consignment at locations through Santa Barbara, including Isla Vista’s own Dogtown and Hempwise.
Grant Robertson, owner of Dogtown, said selling tickets has increased customer traffic.
“I was born and raised in Santa Barbara,” Robertson said. “I think that I.V. is a good outlet for getting the word out.”