Despite a municipal quagmire that threatened to cancel the event, the West Beach Music and Arts festival went off without a hitch this weekend, featuring popular artists and a variety of activities for thousands of concert-goers.
Festival coordinators spent months in permit disputes with the city of Santa Barbara before being granted permission for the festival’s fourth annual appearance. However, the planners, locally-based Twiin Productions, had to scale back and move the venue to Chase Palm Park — several hundred yards up from the Santa Barbara West Beach — before they were allowed to go forward this year. Additionally, coordinators were permitted to hold the music festival for two days, instead of the three day-festival it was in the past.
This year’s two-day festival boasted three different entertainment stages for quick transitions between musical acts. Major headliners for this year’s event included The Easy Star All-Stars, Pretty Lights, UB4 and Rebelution.
Rebelution, a band comprised of UCSB alums, headlined the festival on Friday night. According to the band’s drummer, Wesley Finley, Rebelution credits UCSB for their inception.
“If it wasn’t for UCSB we probably never would have met and started the band,” Finley said.
This is the second year Rebelution played the festival but their first appearance as one of its headliners. Finley said the band was honored to play at home for all of their local fans.
“It was awesome because it was our hometown crowd,” he said.
In addition to the musical acts, this year’s festival featured Cuervo games, which attracted hundreds of people both days. The tequila company sponsored a series of American Gladiator-type team events, including a barrel roll competition and a waterfall climb during which contestants embarked on challenging and often intoxicated obstacle courses. The addition of games to this year’s festival created an atmosphere for people of all ages. According to Finley, its family environment makes the festival a big local hit.
“Reggae-rock is an eclectic mix and we try to bring in different elements like hip-hop,” Finley said. “I think that’s why we’re so successful. We fit a niche that is sort of an expansion on Reggae. The crowd was vibing and the energy we gave in, they were giving back.”
While some attendees were disappointed with the location change, the overall vibe of the event is what seemed to attract people from all over the coastline.
“This is my third year,” Cal Poly SLO student Breeana Bryant said. “I liked it being on the beach, but it’s still nice.”
Karla Hegz, a student from UC San Diego, was excited to experience the music festival, regardless of the travel time.
“We’ve been to Coachella and we wanted to check this festival out,” Hegz said. “We’re really into music and we go to a lot of shows. We’re really looking forward to Pretty Lights.”
Jack Pendergrass, a friend of Hegz, said this year’s festival met his expectations.
“I came here last year. I have no complaints about this year,” Pendergrass said.