Images by Johnnie Crow and Sandy Beitler
Words by Sandy Beitler
As my first experience in San Diego, I got to be part of the inaugural Wonderfront Music + Arts Festival which took place November 22-24, 2019. Wonderfront was a 3-day Music and Arts festival along the beautiful downtown San Diego waterfront. This massive festival extended from the Broadway Port Pier all the way to Hilton Bayfront Park. Now, if you’re an out-of-towner like me, you had no idea how far that really was until you tried walking it from stage to stage to see bands. Lucky for me I was with someone who knew their way around, but we still had a hard time getting where we needed to be when we wanted to be there. There was a lot that we got to see but also a lot we had to miss with so many things being scheduled at the same time or being so far apart that you just had to choose something closer. The plus to that was, I got to see new bands that maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise.
Wonderfront had over 100 Artists and more than 10 stages for the 3 day event, with a myriad of genres to choose from. There was Jazz, Reggae, Rap, Hip Hop, Punk, Dance and even Comedy. Not only did the festival have a plethora of musical acts, it had silent discos, arts, crafts, skateboarding, local food fair, craft beverages, jet boat rides, sunset cruises, and yacht parties. There was so much going on that the fun didn’t have to end when the festival finished at night. They had offical after parties at local clubs and on ships. So if you weren’t done enjoying the scene you didn’t have to be.
Day 1 started late Friday afternoon, and featured performances by Aminé, Bad Suns, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, CNCO, Cofresi, Don Omar, Duckwrth, EarthGang, Earthless, Gioli & Assia, Lil Baby, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Miguel, Parquet Courts, Pepper, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, The Schizophonics, X Ambassadors, Ximena Sarinana, Banda Tierra Brava, Los Crecidos, and Seis en Linea.
Day 2 got things going before noon on Saturday, and included sets by Migos, Big Gigantic, J.I.D, Bob Moses, Bryce Vine, Common Kings, Flatbush Zombies, MGMT, Nicky Jam, Pennywise, Phantogram, Reykon, Slightly Stoopid, The Knocks, Thievery Corporation, TOkiMONSTA, Vince Staples, Zion y Lennox, Jhay Cortez, Alice Merton, Allie X, BoomBox, Z-Trip, Fakear, Goldfish, Grandson, The Vandals, Wild Belle, Andy Frasco and The U.N., Capyac, Chesca, Henry & the Invisibles, Jordan Hollywood, Marie Monti, Steve Fulton Music, The Routine, Wild Prxfits, Grandma, Jesse Baez, and Brewfish.
Day 3 was another all day affair capped off by Guitar Legends 3, a partnership with America Salutes You – an all star benefit concert to support Military, Veterans, First Responders and their families which was recorded for future broadcast. The show was led by Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), joined by George Thorogood, Nancy Wilson (Heart), Steve Lukather (Toto), Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers), Charlie Starr (Blackberry Smoke) and Kenny Aronoff and the LA All-Star Band. Other perfomers were Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Los Angeles Azules, 3LAU, Banda Los Sebastianes, Bas, Big Wild, Busta Rhymes, Grace Vanderwaal, Hippo Campus, Jonas Blue, Lil Dicky, Los Tucanes De Tijuana, Manchester Orchestra, Moon Taxi, Suicidal Tendencies, Tribal Seeds, Tyga, Walk The Moon, X, Khea, Broods, The English Beat, Japanese Breakfast, Z-Trip, Chrome Sparks, Diamante Electrico, Donna Missal, Exmag, Ghost Light, Victoria La Mala, Haddon Cord, SoDown, SunSquabi, Cydeways, Glades, Donavon Frankenreiter, Rob Machado & Friends.
Wonderfront and San Diego have an exciting and interesting festival here. San Diego makes the perfect back drop for this very diverse and spread out event and I look forward to seeing how they improve the event for 2020.