Posts Tagged ‘Live Music’

Beautiful California: a state unlike any other. From the luscious weather to the so-called California Girls, California almost represents a unique country of its own. As one of the major metropolitan states of this nation, California has one of the largest populations of virtually all demographics, but especially young adults. As society can guess, young adults sure love their hard beverages, and California has no shortage of festivals featuring hard beverages. Practically every week of the year, a festival occurs that features either craft beer, wine, or cocktails/spirits. When adults think festivals that include alcohol, they immediately think about what other activities and forms of entertainment to expect at the events. The days of simple tasting events have long gone by the wayside, and now people expect to find more than just drinking at such festivals. Typical events may include some games or live music, plus some some of food either included with admission or at a separate cost. The more these events feature, the more they feel like they bit off more than they could chew. Some events promise everything yet deliver underwhelming content, while some events promise the best of a few specialties and deliver all they can to satiate the attendees, such as at the 3rd Annual Beer X San Diego Beer & Music Festival.

The Beer X San Diego Beer & Music Festival returned for its third year running this past Saturday. Taking place at Waterfront Park in Downtown San Diego, this festival combines craft beer, drinks, food, and reggae music all in one location. With over a hundred different beers and other beverages to sip on, attendees had a plethora of options to get their buzz on. With so much to do in so little time, one would expect to try to rush around to see everything before the event ended. The beer stopped pouring at 4pm, while the entertainment continued to 10pm. This created an unpleasant crowding effect by the 3pm hour, as the people who attended primarily for the entertainment instead of the craft drinks continued to arrive even after 3pm. At this time, all the beer booths had ridiculously long lines, and almost everyone in those lines no longer cared about the beer pouring – they simply wanted to get drunk. This created a culture divide with the attendees of this event: those who care about the quality of the drinks, and those who attended for the entertainment that cared less for the drinks. Anyone who arrived early enough certainly got to enjoy any drink without needing to wait in lines, and could take time to discover the different types of drinks. However, as time passed, the type of attendees present quickly became apparent that no one cared for the drinks.

Although I did not attend the previous years, I believe that this event marked the first time the organizers teamed up with the organizers behind OC Brew Ha Ha. As such, I would expect that they would handle the festival quite well as they always do with their events. However, prior to entering, I clearly saw faults that Brew Ha Ha would never commit, such as having an inefficient entrance and laying out the booths in confusing spots. Nevertheless, I believe that the genre of music had a large effect on the people who showed up. Consider that the entrance still had a massive line in the final hour of drinks, and that the reggae culture eventually overtook the craft side of the festival. In the meantime, check out Beer X on Facebook and Twitter for future updates, and for news about upcoming events.

D.I. performing Guns at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 16, 2013.

D.I. performing Johnny’s Got A Problem at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 16, 2013.

D.I. performing Amoeba at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 16, 2013.

Glassjaw (FB) performing Two Tabs of Mescaline at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 2, 2013.

The largest Irish festival in Southern California returns this weekend for its 42nd year running. The BIG Irish Fair returns to El Dorado Park in Long Beach this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 7pm both days, delivering two days’ worth of Irish fun in the sun, filled with many activities, live entertainment, animals, merchandise, vehicles, food, drinks, kids’ activities, games, and much more. Just to name a few of the things guests will experience at the Irish Fair:

  • Spectate thousands of Irish dancers participating in numerous competitions at the various stages at the far end of the festival.
  • Listen and dance to dozens of live Celtic bands, including the Irish Ska Pirate band California Celts.
  • Watch marching bands compete for best in show, with plenty of bagpipes to go around.
  • Pet lots of animals from Ireland, such as sheep, border collies, and more.
  • Gasp in amazement at the athletic feats of the sports competitions in the far field across from the entrance.
  • Stroll through reenactments of older times in the countryside of Ireland.
  • Cheer for all the participating individuals in the grand parade, including the Rose of Tralee.
  • Peer at the Irish vehicles, including real DeLoreans like the one from Back To The Future.
  • Taste the Irish culture with authentic Irish food, such as bangers.
  • Peruse through the various merchandise vendors, selling lots of Irish souvenirs and memorabilia.

The BIG Irish Fair will contain plenty of fun and excitement for the entire family. The festivities run from 10am to 7pm on both Saturday and Sunday. General admission presale costs $15 per adult per day, while a 2-day adult admission costs $25. Seniors and students can enter for $13 each. Kids 12 and under enter for free with a paid adult admission. Admission will increase by $3 when purchasing at the gate. Parking will range from $5 to $10. This festival takes place entirely outdoors, so dress appropriately for hot weather, and apply sunscreen prior to leaving home. The venue does not allow attendees to bring chairs, coolers, canopies, or any other large camping item; however, the park will provide more than enough tables and benches in the shaded areas. If you plan to purchase anything, bring cash, as the vendors cannot accept cards.

Returning to the Anaheim GardenWalk for its 22nd year, the Taste of Anaheim took off last Thursday evening. This annual event covers most of the northern portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests could enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. Due to the House of Blues relocating from Downtown Disney to here, all of the walkways leading to it had to remain open to the public, so the space normally taken up by the Taste of Anaheim went away. As a result, the Taste of Anaheim had to condense the participating businesses into less space for this year’s event. For $40 presale or $45 at the door, all attendees received admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees could sample all the food they could handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more.

After browsing through all the participating businesses at Taste of Anaheim, one could almost call this a Taste of Disney & Friends, as Disney generally takes up most of the space. Can a city continue to live under a notion that one business entity represents the entire city? When you have great local establishments like Slater’s 50/50, Noble Ale Works, Anaheim Brewery, The Ranch, and more, why settle to puff the space up with corporate entities that operate only for themselves and not the locals? Sometimes, event planners need to scale back and plan smaller, more intimate events. By hosting a smaller food fest consisting of only local establishments and no corporate entities, visitors can truly receive a taste of the city. For example, if I traveled up to San Francisco for a food fest, I would want to try food from restaurants only found there, not from standard corporate entities like Hooters or Buca Di Beppo. I suppose that if a corporate donates enough money, they can earn a good spot in the food fest, which explains Bubba Gump Shrimp Company’s position at the front of this food fest. Because of this, I always advise visitors to start from the back, since most attendees start from the front, where the corporate vendors usually set up, whereas local vendors set up in the back. Regardless of this all, I still enjoyed my time at the Taste of Anaheim, as I got to try lots of great food and talk to lots of great people. Always stay on the lookout for local businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.

The 22nd Annual Taste of Anaheim returns to the Anaheim GardenWalk this Thursday evening. This mega event covers an entire portion of the GardenWalk, closing the area off as guests can enter to savor the local flavors of Anaheim’s great food & drink businesses. For $40 presale or $45 at the door, all attendees receive free parking and admission to this all-ages festival, where attendees can sample all the food they can handle, bid in a silent auction, jam to live music, sip on finely crafted cocktails, and more. The entrance to the tasting area starts at the center of the GardenWalk, and the event covers the entire northern section.

  • Once attendees get past the entrance gate, the restaurants will start to line up, set up tables, and serve their food and/or drinks.
  • A silent auction typically takes place at the Taste of Anaheim. Items mainly include gift cards and event tickets to Angels games and concerts at The Grove, plus a few other random goodies. The location of the silent auction changes every year, as it could happen near the back, or near the front.
  • Once past this initial entrance area, guests enter the open promenade area of the fest, filled with chairs and stages for the bands.
  • While guests will find most of the food upstairs, the strong businesses generally take up residence downstairs toward the back, such as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Slater’s 50/50, and Noble Ale Works.
  • Upstairs at the GardenWalk, plenty of participating restaurants set up to serve all the guests their unique eats. Vendors up here may include local restaurants like The Ranch and The Catch, local caterers like Sally Ann and Mother’s Market, local breweries Hangar 24 and Bootlegger’s, local artists selling their work, and corporate businesses like Rubio’s and Hooters. For all other spaces, Disney takes up the rest, with restaurants from inside the Disneyland park and from Downtown Disney.
  • Though the lineup of participating businesses will certainly change since last year, the general setup and structure will remain the same. Guests will find most of the food upstairs, while guests will find other things downstairs, such as more places to sit, the music stage, non-food vendors, guest services, and more.

Although the Taste of Anaheim usually has more Disney establishments present than anything else, this event still has great local establishments. If you do go to this event, spend more time with the local businesses as opposed to the corporate businesses, as supporting local business stimulates the local economy, providing growth and jobs necessary for that area to flourish.

The second Taste of Downtown Long Beach of 2017 will occur this week on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Free to attend for all ages, numerous businesses in Downtown Long Beach will set up along Pine Avenue to serve food & drinks to guests who purchase food tickets. Guests can purchase 12 tickets for $10 online, or one ticket for $1 each at the event. The restaurants that serve at this event range from the many restaurants around the East Village to those along Pine Avenue to the handful of restaurants in Shoreline Village and Rainbow Harbor. In addition to all the food, local bands will play music throughout the night, and local artists and vendors set up to sell their merchandise and other work.

If you cannot make it out to this food fest, the Downtown Long Beach Association will host the taste one more time in late August. For a simple method to sample what Downtown Long Beach has to offer, you do not want to miss the next taste or two.

Glassjaw (FB) performing Tip Your Bartender at The Observatory in Santa Ana, CA. Filmed on November 2, 2013.