Riot Scene Beach Bash, Shut Down Before it Even Started
Months of planning, coordination, permits, and money all deemed a waste within an hour before kicking off. Bella’s Beach Bash, the 7 band live music beach party featuring some of San Diego’s best local artists, had it’s permits revoked and was ejected from the beach.
The first two of us arrived with full stage, generator, and more by 7am. The sun was barely creeping out and the morning hikers and beachwalkers were already breaking a sweat. After taking in the breath of fresh ocean air the heavy task of setup was plotted, and started.
Rolling and carrying ten 4’x4′ 75lb stage panels, 400lb generator with full tank of fuel, canopies, tables, and much more out of the parking lot, up the paved hill to the opening of the sand lined downhill trail leading to our destination on the beach. As more friends, family, and the bands started to arrive the task got smoother and the vision of the day started to align.
As the pieces meshed together, the local Ranger stopped by to let us know he didn’t have any events on his calendar for the day. He was very pleasant, in fact he had joked with us about how much work we were putting in to get everything down to the beach. After verifying our permits he gave us the thumbs up and continued his patrol.
With the last click of a lock, the stage was upright and larger than life. Bands couldn’t hold in their excitement for the unique opportunity to perform directly on the beach celebrating Bella’s birthday and another year of great music. We had the look and feel of a high profile event, and were ready to start bringing the audio equipment through the familiar path from the lot to the beach, when the phone rang…
The people at State Parks were very pleasant to work with over the last couple of months, and the message they called with was very much the opposite of previous experience. We were shut down! We were required to cease setup, and leave the beach. They were revoking our permit because of the level of invitations published on the internet, and the anticipation of going over our permitted capacity. With the permit clearly stipulating “Open to the public,” this point was also dismissed. At the time there were about 15 people present, and no activity to merit any issues or concern.
After some discussion, it was clear that there were some conflicting statements living in the permit, but nothing solid enough to revoke the permit, yet the fate of the day would lay in the hands of the local Ranger assigned to this part of Torrey Pines State Beach for the day. Stresses lightened as we approached the Ranger to discuss continuing the event, he seemed positive and empathetic to our efforts, everyone was very hopeful.
All efforts to pursuade the Ranger came up short. He let us know that they were understaffed for an event of this anticipated size, and he didn’t want live music on the beach the weekend directly after Labor Day. We had offered to hire private security, more lifeguards, or even pay the cost of having an additional Ranger help for the day. Nothing would budge the situation, they simply didn’t want music and a crowd on the beach that day.
Did our permits mean nothing? Were we actually shut down because of one man? Was the lack of communication to extreme that the Rangers simply didn’t know about our permitted, insured, event?
The devastating blow to the day’s event would impact friends and family, the guest of honor celebrating her 13th birthday, 7 San Diego bands, and of course Riot Scene. Quickly switching to damage control, everyone scrambled to their phones to find an open venue, restaurant, anything to salvage our celebration.
Like a hero in the comic books, Legacy Brewing Co in Oceanside saved the day! With an open slot for an event, they quickly offered to give the beach bash a home! All hands immediately switched to tearing down stages, loading vehicles, and alerting social media of the last minute change.
6 out of the 7 bands took the stage in Oceanside and put on an awesome performance! The guest of honor, Miss Bella, arrived and had a fantastic celebration, including a special on-stage moment with her favorite band Fishing for Chips.
All negative impact aside, with quick thinking and the amazing support of our community, we were still able to pull off an epic day that was just as rewarding as it was exhausting.
We can’t thank everyone enough for the hard work, the positive words, and killer performances!
We will be planning another beach bash, on another beach. We want to open this up to a community event with vendor row, beach activities, multiple stages of music, and a beer garden. If you or anyone you know has experience with getting through the red tape and possibly protecting us from this happening again, feel free to connect with us!
Special thanks to:
Dead End Pacific
The Danger Field
Knight Time Entertainment
Fishing for Chips
Everyone who made it out and still had a great time with us!