Veronica Torres performs at a Graffiti Beach event in Hermosa Beach
Veronica Torres performs at a Graffiti Beach event in Hermosa Beach
Mitch Reiter Photography

Graffiti Beach Party at the Camp

Blame the economy if you’d like, but consumers as a whole are bored. We still want stuff, but we want better stuff that’s less expensive, well-crafted and unique.

And sometime around 2004, retailers discovered a new way to get our attention: pop-up stores.

Pop-ups are temporary storefronts—though you wouldn’t be able to tell by just looking at them—meant to draw crowds, create hype, sell items of what business types are calling “massclusivity,” then disappear as suddenly as they came.

The concept has proven effective, with everyone from big-box stores such as Target hawking their designer-diffusion lines (Anna Sui, Isaac Mizrahi, et al.) in fancy tents in Manhattan to TOMS peddling their cloth footwear for the greater good on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach. And you’d better believe people came.

It balances somewhere between retail and amusement, setting up quickly—and once it’s gone, it’s really gone. In fact, sometimes these pop-up stores even serve as temporary venues, inviting bands and performance artists, similar to what the Costa Mesa-based BB Dakota did in a shipyard in December 2009, with Joe Sib (founder of Side One Dummy Records) and friends Randy Bradbury of Pennywise, Jay Bentley of Bad Religion and Steve Soto from the Adolescents doing an in-store acoustic performance. It was, undoubtedly, hip. Temporary. Exclusive.

And now, Costa Mesa welcomes another new pop-up starting Saturday at the Camp: Graffiti Beach.

Combining fashion, music and the arts, Graffiti Beach also plans on selling goods (at wholesale prices, I might add) alongside events such as a bikini fashion show, a flamenco guitarist, live bands and even live art.

After the last Graffiti Beach pop-up met success in Hermosa Beach, owner Melanie Michaud decided to create another temporary location that was triple the original’s size.

“Graffiti Beach really takes into account everything that is going on in the economy,” Michaud explains. “It gives emerging brands a chance to reach the public and gain media exposure—empty retail spaces can be utilized, and customers can shop for unique products at wholesale prices.”

You can expect everything from beachwear, graphic tees, skateboards, accessories and original artwork at the Camp’s two-day version of Graffiti Beach.

“It has been an amazing experience to work with such a positive group of artists and designers that are truly passionate about their product,” Michaud says.

With the success of other indie outlets such as, we know how much the DIY ethic and fledgling merchants and artisans are being embraced right now.

Graffiti Beach at the Camp, 2937 Bristol St., Costa Mesa; Sat., 1-8 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m. For more information, including performance schedule, see the website.


This column appeared in print as "Graffiti Beach Party."



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