Allen Sanford dreaded having to sit through traffic and meander his way through Downtown Los Angeles to see a show at The Greek or The Hollywood Bowl.
He was also fed up with concert promoters scheduling shows west of Interstate 405, away from what he considers the mecca of culture and taste making.
“I selfishly thought that if I could figure out how to throw an event that I didn’t have to drive to and could skateboard to it, that would be pretty rad,” Sanford said.
As a restaurateur with a portfolio spanning 14 eateries, Sanford wanted to offer a festival coupled with a culinary experience.
“I was talking to some friends when I started this, and we talked about how cool it would be to have a restaurant on the side of the stage,” he said.
Sanford then considered locations like Redondo Beach, where he often surfs, swims and spends time with his daughter. This plans came to fruition in 2019 when BeachLife Festival was born.
He wanted to keep the party going, but the great COVID-19 interrupter buried the festival in 2020, leaving Sanford feeling uncertain about 2021.
BeachLife Festival returned last year, and the 2022 iteration is Friday, May 13, and Sunday, May 15, in Redondo Beach. This year’s lineup includes Weezer, Black Pumas, 311, Cold War Kids, the Smashing Pumpkins, Stone Temple Pilots, Capital Cities, Phantom Planet and Sheryl Crow.
“This is the third year we’ve done this, and last year we were one of the first festivals back from the pandemic,” Sanford said.
“Everything ended up turning out like something out of a storybook. Attendance was great. People wanted to have a good time and smile. We were overly cautious with our COVID-19 protocols, and the artistry that we put together overdelivered on the day.”
Heading into this year’s festival, Sanford aimed to curate a diverse lineup.
“What we’re trying to do is book according to the emotion that you have at a festival rather than book a bunch of good bands,” Sanford said.
“Friday is when you’re usually amped and have a ton of energy. Our Friday night is high-level, raging party music. Saturday is like a day off from work, hanging out with friends and having a good time with enjoyable music. Sunday is more of the music lovers day, where it’s maybe a little more musically advanced or nostalgic as you round out the weekend.”
With headline acts ranging from classic rock and pop to reggae, each day offers a blend of sounds and experiences.
“It’s already enough fun going to the beach with your friends on the weekend, but when you add on these bands, it goes to the next level,” Sanford said.
BeachLife will host three stages — two for headliners and one for smaller acts. The fourth space pays homage to one of California’s most celebrated genres.
“The fourth stage is the speakeasy stage, where we’re displaying our punk rock roots through acoustic sets to where we can focus more on the artist’s songwriting chops rather than the loud distorted guitars,” Sanford said.
In addition to offering a stacked lineup on the stage, BeachLife will offer an experience that sets it apart from other festivals.
“The dining part is key to the whole puzzle,” Sanford said.
“Dining is one of those things that goes hand in hand with live music. Imagine having a five-course dinner from a Michelin Star chef while you’re 20 feet from Billy Corgan sipping on amazing wine on the beach at night. That’s about as cool as it gets.”
Michelin Star chefs will feel like rock stars, too.
“I just like that whole creativity that goes along with the culinary arts and the musical arts and putting those things together,” Sanford said.
He hopes the event will be memorable for everyone involved.
“If anybody from around the country comes and has this experience, I would think that it becomes one of their treasured memories or one of their moments in time that they’re going to share for the next 30 years,” he said.
WHEN: 1 p.m. Friday, May 13, and 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14,
and Sunday, May 15
WHERE: Redondo Beach, 137 N. Harbor Drive
COST: Tickets start at $159 for single-day general admission tickets
INFO: beachlifefestival.com for set times