I drove 8 hours to go to a festival alone, and it was totally worth it. Beach Goth was located at The Observatory in Santa Ana, California. It was two days of rad music, bipolar weather, a couple complications, and cool people.
The first band was on at 12. My car decided to die on me AGAIN, so I ended up arriving around 3pm to get my lay of the land. I was able to skip the massive will call line and glide through the pretty thorough security check. Boys on one side, girls on the other.
The Scene: Upon entering, merch, food, and product booths lined the narrow street. With Halloween looming around the corner, many people were dressed up like zombies, vampires, sugar skulls, babies, clowns, and any other funky creature deemed appropriate. I loved all the crazy colored hair people rocked. From pink to blue to green to orange, the whole crowd looked like a rainbow wonder. As far as the weather goes, the sun was as high as the people, the sky was clear, and wind was minimal.
The Production: It was so extremely crowded, and the venue was terribly small. The Observatory is a great music venue for regular sized concerts but it wasn’t the best for hosting a growing festival. There were four stages: BGV Dome Stage, Outdoor RX Stage, Observatory Stage, and the Constellation Room Stage. Lines extended for days trying to get into the indoor stages. The BGV Dome Stage was my favorite. The structure was great and the music was loud! Some sound clashing occurred between the two outdoor stages, but that was expected due to the small space constrictions.
The Music: Albert Hammond Jr. of The Strokes kicked off my day followed by the Violent Femmes who opened with “Blister of the Sun.” My favorite (and one of the main reasons I went to Beach Goth) was TLC. I mean, how many times will you get the chance to see TLC? Between the jean jumpsuits, No Scrubs, and Waterfalls, it was as if I transported back to the early 2000’s. A simpler time… (I was 4 lol) Later, I caught King Krule, James Blake, and The Growlers – the men of the weekend. King Krule evoked their grungy, English vibe, James Blake’s smooth electronic yet soulful sound was transcending, and The Growlers rocked the stage for their first of two nights performing.
By the end of the night, my camera died, my phone was on 3%, I was by myself, and I still had to get an uber back to my hotel; so unfortunately, I had to skip out on Bon Iver. You win some, you lose some.
As far as being alone goes, it was great! Everyone was so nice, and there was no one to lose or find.
Day 2… where do I start…
The Scene: The sun was hiding behind the dark clouds despite it smiling the day before. When I arrived, the rain from the morning had settled. Costumes were covered by ponchos and trash bags and umbrellas filled the air. As much as I love the rain, everyone including myself seemed slightly more miserable. The festival vibes were still lively until the rain really started pouring. I hid inside with all my camera equipment watching the rain fall through the empty door frame.
The Production: By 5 pm, the Outdoor RX Stage was completely shut down due to flooding. This led to all the acts from that stage being moved around with hardly any updates on social media from The Observatory. Attendees were confused, and no one knew where to catch their favorite band. Weather is uncontrollable, so I wouldn’t place blame on the production, yet more notice would be helpful. I guess the stage reopened when the rain finally died down, but I had no idea.
The Music: When I got there, I wandered around and caught XXYYXX whom I didn’t know before but he was great and I have to remember to add him to my Spotify playlist. Gucci Mane performed his first California show since being released. Due to the outdoor stage being shut down, The Drums were moved into The Observatory, then followed Sebastian, who killed it. All the stage and set time confusion led me to missing RL Grime! Oh well. The Growlers performed their second night and Justice ended the weekend for me which was absolutely perfect.
When the stage shut down, I considered leaving because the rain was such a buzzkill and the confusion was frustrating but I am so glad I stayed. I met new friends to dance with at Justice and somehow ended up backstage… still don’t know how that happened…
Final thoughts: The lineup for Beach Goth was awesome and eclectic. I would totally attend next year if they move venues. The great music made up for the overcrowded small spaces. Overall, I recommend going to Beach Goth if you love the lineup! It is definitely worth it. Rumor has it, the festival was supposed to be at Oak Canyon Park (where Woogie Weekend takes place) this past year but they decided to keep it at The Observatory. Since this festival is growing rapidly, we shall see where it takes place next year! If it is at Oak Canyon Park, count me in!
Also, if you have ever considered going to a festival alone, go! If you like the music, you should do it. You are bound to make friends and may have some fun unexpected events unfold. You can see whoever you want to see and don’t have to worry about a meet up point or bathroom trips. Obviously having friends around is the best, but it isn’t as scary as you think it will be going solo.
More pictures coming soon…