One of my favorite things to do after attending themed festivals is coming up with hypothetical bills for the next year’s iteration. Back to the Beach this year was an absolute blast–so much so that I am already fully planning on going again for next year’s. But who would make for a great show? Here is my wishlist.
Back to the Beach’s positioning as a Ska festival first and foremost is perhaps its greatest strength and appeal as well as its weakness. Ska is still beloved and people will still turn up for any of the bands that have already played either 2018 or 2019. Ska fans are nothing if not loyal. But this doesnt preclude an audience–even Huntington Beach, one of the capitols for ska–from getting burnt out on the same list year after year. Much as anyone (and I count myself among them) loves Less Than Jake or Mighty Mighty Bosstones, a more general audience is going to lose interest eventually. So who do you bring in? How do you adapt a festival without losing its roots?
The answer, actually, is seemingly already being addressed by the festival. This year saw the inclusion of a number of both legacy and current darlings of pop punk. While the genre is still popular for the most part, a lot of the fervor has seemingly died down. Even for headliners like The Story So Far. The festival did something smart, though in diversifying their bill and including bands like Blink 182, the Used, Story of the Year, and the Wonder Years. They gave themselves a bit of space to maneuver by going big by jumping to a relatively popular genre like pop punk, which might allow them not only to maintain a hold on their Ska origins, but may allow them to expand or host other more niche subgenres in the coming years.
So lets get into the nitty-gritty. Who could the festival tap to keep up the quality of the last two years, and perhaps even up the ante? Besides pulling from their 2018 lineup (Mad Caddies and Suicide Machines PLEASE) First up, the ska bands;
This Article was written by Lex Voight
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