It wasn’t any regular Sunday in Hermosa Beach as the 2019 Teen Choice Awards brought some 10,000 fans to the sand August 11.
A stage set up just south of the pier—featuring giant beach balls, a blow-up lifeguard shack and crashing waves made of multicolored bubbles—was the backdrop for the two-hour show hosted by "Pretty Little Liars"actress Lucy Hale and YouTube personality David Dobrik.
Some 6,000 screaming teens and adults swarmed the beach in the ‘pit’ area in front of the stage, including lucky recipients of 3,000 ‘locals only’ passes reserved for residents.
Members of local youth band XYZPDQ, who have competed in several community competitions, weren’t able to secure a performing slot, according to drummer Dax Corcoran, but were stoked to be in front of the crowd nonetheless.
“We’re really excited to be here....we’re standing pretty close to (the stage),” said singer Nicolette Obuljen.
Live musical performances included rock band One Republic, singer Zhavia, South Korean pop group Monsta X, Latin American boy band CNCO, duo Sarah Hyland and Jordan McGraw and country rapper Blanco Brown.
The star-studded evening also included appearances by Choice Action Movie Actor Robert Downey Jr. and Choice Comedy Movie Actor Noah Centineo, as well as Choice Summer Movie Actress Zendaya.
But for locals only wrist-band holders Lucia Wolf, 13 and Camila Martinez, 13, the excitement really tipped over when singer-songwriter Taylor Swift was honored the Teen Choice Awards’ first-ever Icon Award for her impact over the course of her career.
“My favorite so far is Taylor,” said Lucia, who noted her father waited in line for more than four hours at on the east lawn of the Hermosa Beach Community Center last Thursday to score the girls the limited passes. They ended up standing right in front of an auxiliary stage.
“It’s really cool to be so up close because like we watch them on TV all the time and to see them in person is so cool,” added Camila.
The colorfully-clad Swift accepted the award—a custom-created surfboard decked with pictures of her three cats—with an inspirational speech aimed at the teen audience.
“Mistakes are inevitable...no one gets through life unscathed, be kind to yourself,” Swift said.
“Everyday I know that you’re the reason I have the life I have,” she added.
Swift wasn’t the only megastar to be given a special award at the show.
Brother act The Jonas Brothers were also bestowed with the prestigious Decade Award, which celebrates the group’s evolution on the heels of a comeback album that came out in June, the first the group has released in ten years.
The brothers accepted the honor and closed out the Awards show with a heartfelt speech about overcoming bullying and embracing acceptance.
“The thing that’s most important is that we share with you that those things that make you feel like you’re singled out...that you’re bullied about, that define you in your teen years, can become the thing that makes you special. It’s your gift. It’s your power,” said Kevin Jonas.
After the motivational acceptance speech, dozens of vibrant beach balls bounced around as the crowd filed out of the enclosed area on the shoreline and into the labyrinth of backstage area off Pier Avenue.
It was the first time the event has been held in the beach town and Hermosa Beach Mayor Stacey Armato thanked local fire and police teams for ensuring the safety and fun of the event.
“We saw so many (people) having the times of their lives and heard such great feedback from them,” Armato said.
It was unclear if there were any issues, but parents said the event seemed well-organized.
“You guys had water and sunscreen for people and bathrooms so good job,” said Monique Sardie.
“Security was good, the traffic wasn’t bad,” added neighbor Elizabeth Gustave.
“Everything was easy, they’re very organized,” said Michelle Velasquez.
“We’re here to support our kids,” added husband Londo.
Armato said the city would be accepting feedback about the Awards in the coming days.
“We know this large event was an inconvenience for some of our residents and businesses,” she explained. “This was our first time hosting such a high-profile event, and we have taken note of the concerns that were expressed and will be seeking input in the days ahead.”