Wonderfront Festival Exceeds All Expectations At Inaugural San Diego Installment

November 25, 2019

Celebrity-backed Wonderfront made grandiose promises that made many fear a Fyre Fest-like disaster, but the inaugural 3-day event fired on all cylinders and raised the bar for what a modern music festival should be.

With a celebrity team of organizers which included skateboard legend Tony Hawk, surf great Rob Machado, and Padres All-Star pitcher Trevor Hoffman, Wonderfront promised an ambitious festival experience that had many skeptical it would never come to fruition. There were to be 7+ stages strategically placed around San Diego's urban waterfront, from Broadway Pier to Embarcadero South, with water taxis between areas, yacht parties, a Tony Hawk-led skatepark, art installations, craft beer and cocktail gardens, local vendors, and seamless transitions between musical acts. It sounded all too unrealistic for a first-time festival, but the results exceeded everyone's expectations, making for one of the most unique urban music festivals of our time.

With a diverse range of attendees spanning from babies to Boomers, Wonderfront offered something for everyone over its 3 days of live performances. There was rap, jazz, punk rock, and everything in between. Sound quality was incredible, the setting was magically curated, and all the seemingly idealistic aspects the organizers said would be available actually were. Water taxis, check! Yacht parties, check! There were two and both overflowed with revelry, one even boasting an onsite casino. Instagram-worthy pop-ups galore, check! Wonderfront had an ambiance featuring a freedom that you don't experience anymore in today's authoritarian America. Installations were plentiful, from Sierra Nevada's Hazy Beer Garden, to Aperol's spritz-themed swing set, to Uncle Ed's Damn Good Vodka's campground cocktail lounge, all set before the epic backgrounds of downtown, the Coronado bridge, and the San Diego harbor.

Being attendance wasn't at full capacity, it was easy to get up close and personal with your favorite performers, and we did. Ben Harper killed it and had attendees actively participating while he played his hit song "Burn One Down." X Ambassadors were fantastic with front man Sam Harris showing off his angelic voice range. Pennywise had patrons moshing like maniacs (including yours truly). And Thievery Corporation played one of the most eclectic, outstanding live performances we've ever seen. A truly brilliant aspect of Wonderfront was placing two stages nearly adjacent to one another in both the primary performance areas sited on Embarcadero Marina Park North and Seaport Village. This resulted in almost instant transitions between one performer and the next, as well as little need to move much between stages.

We are most appreciative to have been a part of the inaugural event and look forward to Wonderfront returning in 2020! For more information, including how to get your tickets to next year's incarnation, visit wonderfrontfestival.com.