At the Beach: West Beach ’09 Music & Arts Festival

WHO: All of your favorite artists preforming over one weekend – including Steel Pulse, Ozomatli, Donavon Frankenreiter, Ben Harper, G. Love & Special Sauce, Slightly Stoopid & Pepper!

WHAT: A 100% on-the-beach music festival with 4 stages and over 50 sets to be played!  Tickets range from $30 – $50 depending on the day, or $115 for a 3 day pass.

WHERE: It’s all taking place right smack dab on West Beach, in between Stearn’s wharf and the beautiful harbor!

WHEN: This weekend – September 18, 19 & 20.  The first bands kick off Friday @ 3pm.

WHY: Great music, cold beer and a hot beach…why not?!

Now in its 3rd year, the West Beach Music Festival has established itself as the annual event for Santa Barbara.  Rallying after its dissapointing debut event in 2007  (the then one day event got sacked with rainy weather) 2008′s event saw increased crowds, thanks in part to gorgeous weather and the likes of Jason Mraz, Natasha Bedingfield, Ziggy Marley and George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelicthis.  This year is sure to top even last year’s successful turnout.

Brothers (and twins) Jeremy and Joshua Pemberton, the events orginizers, worked with hundreds of event staff to cure the few complaints that event-goers had from last year:  large event grounds, sound bleed, and poor vendor setup.  “They spoke and we listened,” said Josh Pemberton. “We took a survey last year after the fest, and we were able to make a few stellar changes. The biggest change is we are now allowing ins and outs. We didn’t allow it last year because we didn’t want to impact the neighboring businesses, but nearly unanimously, they are all in support of it. So, you can come and go as you please until 7 p.m. We’ve also brought the footprint down by 33 percent. Walking in the sand can be pretty tiring, [so] this was a no-brainer. We’ve got a great team and careful programming to ensure our stages aren’t competing with each other.”

Another factor that contributes to West Beach’s success is that the whole event focuses on the “community first” mentality – something that goes a long way in a close-knit community like Santa Barbara.  Jeremy says, “If we ever ignore the amazingly talented local acts, we’ve lost track of where this whole thing started—with the locals.”  Orginizers have conciously extended the offer for local bands to dominate some of the most sought-after positions on the lineup.  Isla Vista artists Rebelution and Iration are opening for Pepper and Slightly Stoopid, and Santa Barbaras own Sunshine Brothers are playing before G. Love & Special Sauce and Ben Harper and Relentless7.

2009′s event will also be more integrated with the Downtown Santa Barbara businesses – there will be afterparties following the final preformances each night:

Friday: @ Velvet Jones – S.B. stalwarts Shades of Day and The Naybrhood
@ Sandbar – The Aggrolites and Marc B.
@ EOS – after-party

Saturday:  @ Velvet – SOJA, Passafire, and The Movement
@ Wildcat – Shwayze
Sandbar - Sashamon

Sunday: @ Wildcat – the official post-fest shindig

*For $20, festival attendees can score a VIP After-Party Pass, which gets you into all the festivities without paying a cover fee.

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