REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — As the sun sets over the Pacific on September 12, reggae superstars Ziggy Marley and Stephen Marley will close out the 2021 BeachLife Festival playing the songs of their father, the legendary Bob Marley.
The festival, which is making its post-pandemic return following a smashing 2019 debut, will also feature headline performances by Cage The Elephant and Los Angeles natives Jane’s Addiction on Friday, Sept. 10, and Counting Crows on Saturday, Sept. 11.
More than 40 artists — including Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Portugal. The Man, Fitz and The Tantrums, The Revivalists, and dozens more national and local acts — will perform at BeachLife 2021, at Redondo Beach’s King Harbor.
The lineup was scheduled to release at 9 a.m. on Friday, May 21 — until Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro leaked the poster early to his Instagram page one day early. There is still at least one surprise remaining, however, with band names still blurred out in Navarro’s post.
The lineup is "crazy," said BeachLife co-founder Allen Sanford. “I think we’ve actually surpassed what we were doing the year before, in just growing to who we are,” he said.
The previous festival was headlined by country music superstar Willie Nelson, jam band legend Bob Weir, and Beach Boys founder (and the South Bay’s native son) Brian Wilson. All three are legends in their own right, but their popularity might have skewed the festival’s demographics to an older crowd.
The 2021 festival promises to draw more contemporary audiences with current bands playing alongside veteran acts, all while paying tribute to the California coastal lifestyle BeachLife hopes to represent.
“We were super fortunate to get Willie and Wilson and Weir, which was a dream come true,” said Jim Lindberg, BeachLife Festival’s Director of Brand and Content, looking back at 2019 headliners Willie Nelson, Brian Wilson and Bob Weir. “This year, we’re going in a completely different direction…I think it’s going to take us to the next level and hopefully establish a precedent for years to come.”
Lindberg is the curator for BeachLife’s new SpeakEasy stage, which he’s calling the “outlaw town out west” on the festival grounds. That stage will feature “stripped-down” acoustic sets from punk rock musicians and special visual art performances tying into the music.
“Punk is a big part of the South Bay and Hermosa Beach especially…everyone’s going to be stoked,” Lindberg said. He’d know — he’s the lead singer of beloved punk band Pennywise, which formed in the South Bay in 1988. Lindberg promised Trevor Keith from Face to Face, Jason Crews of Strung Out and Chris Shiflett from Foo Fighters, as well as a performance of his own, at the SpeakEasy stage throughout the weekend.
BeachLife will also bring back its SideStage restaurant, situated just off of the festival’s main stage. Restaurateur David LeFevre — owner and head chef of MB Post, Fishing with Dynamite and The Arthur J in Manhattan Beach — will lead an as-yet-unnamed team of chefs, curating menus to fit alongside the music.
That the festival will close with the music of Bob Marley is hugely important to Sanford. He’s the father of a two-year-old daughter (born not long before the first BeachLife Festival), and Marley’s music was a constant in their household throughout the pandemic.
Every night, Sanford would sing Marley’s “Three Little Birds” to her as she fell asleep, singing “Don’t worry / about a thing / ‘cause every little thing / gonna be all right.”
“I don’t know much about kids, I don’t know what they’re retaining and what they don’t. But about two months ago, I told her hey, the festival is going to happen, and Bob Marley’s going to play,” Sanford said.
Not long after, as he and his wife settled into bed, they heard something on the monitor: their daughter had learned the song, and was singing it to herself. It was the most poignant moment of the pandemic, which had turned Sanford's life upside down.
“What I’m looking forward to most is Sunday night, standing on the stage with my wife and her. That means the festival went off, that everybody’s safe, everybody had a good time, and I’ll get to listen to that,” Sanford said.
Tickets are on sale for BeachLife Festival now, starting at $350 for three-day general admission passes, and $125 for single-day passes. Visit BeachLifeFestival.com for more information.