By: Taylor Morgan
August 16th, 2014
For a couple years now, Pacific Festival has worked on mastering the art of the large scale OC beach party. On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in Newport Beach, blonde beauties sip ice-cold beers out of pink flamingo cup holders, designed to look like miniature floaties. Beach balls fly through the air as Cherry Glazerr perform on the main stage and toes dig into the sand of this years Pacific Festival: The Dunes.
Pineapple t-shirts, bikinis, and barely-there shorts hug swinging hips. Sweat drips down the backs of fat boys, who have collectively decided to forgo their tank tops. After all, their fanny packs, serving as the vessel for menthol cigarettes, is creating quite the sweat pocket already. In the near distance, kids in life jackets paddle board effortlessly and cannonball from a large floating whale into the Eco preserved water.
The festival, which began at Oak Canyon Ranch in Irvine in 2009, aims to celebrate OC's bacchanalian beach culture by providing people with boutique amenities while creating awareness of a non-profit organization. However, it seemed like they were downplaying the latter a little too much. For the second year in a row, Pacific Festival donated $1 for every ticket sold to the Surfrider Foundation, aimed to protect our coastline. Unfortunately, there wasn't any noticeable postage of this organization at the event! Red Bull, a sponsor of Pacific Fest, had the biggest presence selling the only advertised non-alcoholic beverage as well as providing a few umbrellas and circular cushions for those quick enough to claim them.
Goddollars & Paradise DJ on the A Club Called Rhonda stage serves as background music for a drink and food ticket line, which is easily a 45-minute wait. At a certain point, chatter in line switches from, "I've seen festivals that have been run a little more smoothly," to "I went to this thing two years ago and it was much better." A man wearing a Speedo kicks his feet up into a faded red hammock while purple haired boys sit in the back of truck beds, scrolling through smart phones just behind the festival's gate. Painted Palms walk onto the main stage and suddenly there begins to feel like there is purpose in attending this poorly staffed and somewhat disorganized event.
Eighteen-and-older fans place conversations of Hollywood nightlife and party reputation on hold to scurry towards the San Francisco band who released their new psych-pop album Forever this past January. With seagulls flying overhead and palm trees beginning to shake in the distance they sang a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Little Darling." The crowd jumped up and down eager for more and Painted Palms moved on to perform "All Of Us." A mix of Beach Boys and Animal Collective is what the band successfully achieves with distressed break beats and bouncy tunes.
South of the main stage, the LA club scene injected it's contribution to the party as a DJ announces, "This is A Club Called Rhonda y'all!" Yolanda Be Cool spins and the grinding and booty shaking takes full effect. In the middle of the party, two guys hold up a sign that says "Butt Snorkeler" and girls move whatever flowy kimono or fringe sarong they have on to the side for a photo-op of their behind. Yolanda Be Cool plays, "your daddy must have been a drug dealer/why? – cause you dope" from The Cataracts single "Top Of The World" on repeat. Meanwhile, a guy to the side of the stage dances somewhat like an ostrich. Next, a remix of "Faded" by ZHU comes on and cigarettes are lit and Shock Top beers are chugged.
Even in the midst of all the stereotypical party crowd, the nonstop music has some highlights for more discerning music fans, or at least the weirder ones. At one point, before Miami Horror came on stage, we spot an older lady in black overalls dances alone with a silver paper airplane around her neck. As the Australian band enters the stage, it becomes apparent that their herd of fans have arrived just to see this Melbourne-based band play indie electric tunes. Benjamin Plant wore a thin layer of ivy round his head singing "I Look To You."Miami Horror stole the spotlight from Plastic Plates & Sam Sparro spinning across the way.
Soon Poolside was up on the main stage to perform a retro acid, disco sound as hipsters flocked to the front to continue the beach party. Bag Raiders assumed the stage on A Club Called Rhonda and the more fratty crowd danced to "Shooting Stars." Finally, the sun set and 20 minutes later Holy Ghost! was on the main stage commanding the waterfront.
A layer of dust covered the legs, sunglasses, and smart phones of its attendees as the smell of marijuana and farts wafted through the crowd. Maybe it wasn't the best orchestrated event you've ever attended, but as the festival security ushered the masses back to their cars it was apparent that the night allowed for a change of pace from the typical peninsula bars and offered great enjoyment from Painted Palms, Miami Horror, Poolside, and particularly Holy Ghost!