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Paul Mann: West Beach Music Festival Ready to Rock
It’s almost here! The biggest beach bash in California is set to take place in Santa Barbara this Friday through Sunday.
The third annual West Beach Music & Arts Festival will feature rock, reggae and jam bands from around the world — and some of the best local acts, too.
The lineup keeps getting better with such surprise additions as Chali 2na. The former member of the seminal hip-hop group Jurassic 5 will be playing with Ozomatli. A founding member of the band, he rarely appears with them since launching his solo career.
More local bands also have been added to the lineup, including up-and-coming, Carpinteria-based Lonesome Dub. They generated a lot of excitement with their fresh take on a reggae beat and won the Battle of the Bands for a spot on the festival lineup. Reggae-style band The Kicks also is on the lineup, with members from Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.
Also playing are Santa Barbara- and Carpinteria-based band Loomis & the Lust. The young band of rockers offers a fresh take on retro-rooted, bluesy, rock and roll. It’s one of the cleanest, tightest sounding rock bands to come out of the local area in quite some time.
With the addition of several other headlining acts, including Ben Harper and Relentless 7, Slightly Stoopid and The Bravery, the lineup has begun the final countdown. This year’s festival promises to be the biggest and best yet, with more than 30 bands and DJs playing on four stages. Other headline names include DJ Bassnectar, G. Love & Special Sauce, Pepper and Steel Pulse.
Last year, the festival moved to September to take advantage of better beach weather, and attendance exploded to 20,000 from a mere 1,500 at the first event. Bigger acts and longer hours won’t be the only improvements this year. Music fans will be able to come and go as they please anytime before 7 p.m., so they can change from their beach clothes and grab a drink or dinner at a local restaurant before returning for later performances. The dance music stage will be transformed to an Oasis, a multimedia refuge for dance fans to escape into their own world of electronic beats.
Families are welcome at the festival. Perks for kids include free admission for those younger than 10, a special kiddies music stage, and rides and activities. The festival Web site offers options for alternative transportation, including a ride-share bulletin board and information on Amtrak schedules with a 20 percent discount offer. For out-of-town festival-goers, the Santa Barbabra Amtrak station is only blocks from the festival site.
First-day headliner Steel Pulse, formed in Birmingham, England, went on to become one of the country’s most popular reggae bands. The Grammy-winning group has produced many masterful albums and continues to be one of the most popular purveyors of reggae in the world.
Saturday’s headliner, Harper and his Relentless 7, may be the guitar guru’s most ambitious project to date. Harper has been making records since 1994, three of which have been certified gold albums. He has won two Grammys and multiple music awards and is credited with discovering Jack Johnson at a Santa Barbara show in 1999. His music has many influences, including rock, reggae, gospel and blues. He plays a number of instruments, but he is most known for his proficiency on the guitar. The Relentless 7 is Harper’s newest group, formed in 2008. Members are Harper (guitar, lead vocals), Jason Mozersky (lead guitar), Jesse Ingalls (bass and keyboards) and Jordan Richardson (drums). They play seamlessly together and are recognized as one of the best jam bands touring the national concert circuit.
Sunday headliner Slightly Stoopid is one of Santa Barbara’s favorite bands. Returning from its recent sold-out Blazed and Confused tour, in Santa Barbara with Snoop Dogg, it is sure to be a local crowd-pleaser. The rock, reggae, fusion band from San Diego has released six albums since being discovered by legendary Sublime singer Bradley Nowell in 1994.
Click here for more festival information, including tickets, updates and specials, such as a partnership with the Lions Club. Receive a $5 discount on a festival T-shirt for donating an old pair of glasses.
If you’re a late-night party-goer, there is a special after-hours pass offered for select performances at local night clubs. The exclusive After Party VIP Pass allows free entry, a special line pass and bottle discounts. Swayze will perform at 11.15 p.m. at the Wildcat Lounge, and Slighty Stoopid is throwing a birthday party for one of its members. The VIP pass will get people in, or pay at the door.
— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor.
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