Longtime punk and ska fans flocked to Huntington Beach, CA for a festival coordinated by Travis Barker and John Feldy.
Back to the Beach was an amazing experience that I was so proud to be a part of, and I was surprised to see myself so immersed in such a community. It’s safe to say that the punk scene is more alive than ever.
Not only was this geared toward parents and adults–who are more likely to know some of the older acts–with a variety of food vendors, craft cocktails/beer, but it also catered to younger fans with their “Lil’ Punk Kidzone,” including a giant (inflatable) rideable shark for photos and fun.
I was surprised at the number of children sitting on their parent’s shoulders in the front row screaming along with every word to Blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again?”
The festival sponsored by Rockstar Energy featured a sold-out show on Saturday, April 27th for fans to see bands like The Aquabats, Save Ferris, Reel Big Fish, Goldfinger, Blink-182, and more! (Be sure to check out Reel Big Fish AND The Aquabats on tour this summer!) I spent nearly all of Saturday wandering the grounds of the beach taking it all in. I was able to meet some amazing people from very different backgrounds and make some long-term friends. Many fans weren’t as fortunate as I was to only live an hour and a half from the venue, but I was inspired by their commitment for the music they love (One group of friends drove over six hours each day to watch the bands they had used to obsess over in high school).
I had seen Blink-182 before when they were on tour with The All-American Rejects back in 2016, but this show was so different. The amount of energy that they put into performing for 20,000 fans on Saturday night was remarkable. Crowds were shoving their way to the front, young and old alike crowd surfed together like it was their last night alive (security had to warn us multiple times to watch out for flailing legs and excited fans while we were taking photos). It was definitely a performance I will never forget.
Sunday’s lineup featured bands such as Less Than Jake, The Wonder Years, Anthony Green, The Story So Far, and to finish out the day, The Used. A lot of these bands I had heard of but wouldn’t consider myself a real “fan” until now. All of the performances had such high energy, but you could also tell that every artist truly loved what they did. Even with a few technical hiccups, the day seemed to progress flawlessly. By far my two favorite sets during the weekend were The Story So Far and The Used. The Story So Far definitely has the younger fan base of the two, but that was the most interactive crowd I have experienced in a while. I don’t think there was a moment during the entire set that there wasn’t at least ten people being held up above the crowd, screaming their heart out while they made their way to the front.
The final set of Back to the Beach 2019: The Used. Soooo different from when I saw them perform on Vans Warped Tour in 2018. Everything was beautifully coordinated, from the flames that shot out in the back, to the giant smoke machines that would erupt right before the chorus to their songs.
Barker & Feldy’s Back to the Beach festival was an experience I hope to be a part of in the years to come, and you definitely don’t want to miss whatever they have in store for 2020!
Photo – Brittany Taylor | Follow @brtixiv