The BeachLife Festival will not take place as planned in Redondo Beach in May as organizers announced Friday it has been postponed due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“It is with heavy hearts, but a strong sense of community that we announce the postponement of the BeachLife Festival in May,” a statement on the BeachLife Festival Facebook page announced. New dates for the festival have not yet been announced.
“We are working closely with Redondo Beach city officials and staff to determine the most prudent course of action moving forward with the well-being of our BeachLife fans and staff as the guiding light in our decision-making process.
“We’re all in this together — and we’ll all come out of this together,” the statement concluded.
Fans responding to the Facebook announcement were mostly supportive, if sad and disappointed that the second annual festival — which had been scheduled for May 1-3 at Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon with sets by The Steve Miller Band, Counting Crows, and Ziggy and Stephen Marley, as well as Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and G. Love & Special Sauce — would not happen as planned.
“Thank you, BeachLife — uncharted territory,” Carolyn Partridge commented on the festival’s Facebook post. “Looking forward to coming out of this crisis and going to the festival when it is rescheduled.”
Jonathan Coleman expressed concern for the festival promoters and staff, adding, “Unfortunate, but these are challenging times. As we have seen, even if you are not sick yourself, you may pass it on to an elderly loved one or someone else who is impaired and the results could be devastating.”
A few were critical of cancelling an event not scheduled to take place until the first weekend in May, when few if any other major events that far in the future have been cancelled yet.
“It’s hysteria,” wrote Karin Jm. “It’s in May. Bad decision.”
Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand said for now, the city is playing it safe and looking to do all it can to contain the spread of COVID-19. And, even though delaying the concerts will have a significant economic impact on the beach city, Brand said public health is more important.
“We want to be more like Japan and Singapore,” said Brand, of countries successful at flattening the curve of community spread. “Rather than Italy and Iran.”
Brand, who is immuno-compromised as he battles stage 4 lung cancer, is staying home and having little contact with the public.
He said he has been in contact with BeachLife Festival co-founder Allen Sanford all week as discussions over the festival took place.
“I think he’s (Sanford) made the right decision in the interest of public health and the realities of the business environment,” Brand said. “BeachLife isn’t going anywhere. For now, we’re playing it safe and looking to do all we can to contain the spread of this deadly disease.”
The BeachLife Festival, which debuted in May 2019, is the South Bay’s biggest beach party with a lineup of nearly 40 bands on multiple stages covering genres such as reggae, rock, funk, blues and alternative.
The festival was founded by Sanford, a local entrepreneur owns the Sainte Rocke venue in Hermosa Beach, and business partner Rob Lissner. In its first year, BeachLife presented 40 musical acts over three days on a 8.6-acre plot of seaside land that included three stages. The festival attracted about 12,000 people each day.
Besides the music, BeachLife includes the SideStage, a 50-seat, sit-down restaurant on the side of the main stage run by chef and restaurateur David LeFevre who was to be joined by Nyesha Arrington, who appeared on season 9 of Bravo’s “Top Chef,” Sherry Yard, a James Beard Award winner, and Jonathan Whitener, who runs the popular Here’s Looking at You restaurant in Koreatown.
—Lisa Jacobs contributed