Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival coming to San Diego this weekend

Fans of all ages, locations and backgrounds will be excited by the sights and sounds of Embarcadero Park this Friday through Sunday.

“It’s great that we have more festivals in the city now. I feel like most of the time there’s not much going on here,” festival attendee Deeni Baez said. “But now we have a really good roster, so I’m excited to see what (more) is out there.”

The Wonderfront Music and Arts Festival returns, featuring a host of established names and emerging artists. These include some local bands such as Saint Luna.

“As we’ve gotten older, I feel like our sound has grown a little bit with us,” band member Bradyn Jace said. “I feel like we’re trying to be a little heavier, a little grittier — more like alt-psychedelic desert rock.”

Two members of Saint Luna grew up in Point Loma and Lakeside.

Others met at San Diego State University and on TikTok. Now they can play their music on a big stage in front of their hometown.

“It’s definitely been a trip. I remember coming to this festival two years ago to see Kings of Leon, and now I feel like I’m playing at this festival,” drummer Paarsa Heidari said.

San Diego band Saint Luna was interviewed by KPBS at the Wonderfront Arts & Music Festival. Music Festival, May 10, 2024.

San Diego band Saint Luna was interviewed by KPBS at the Wonderfront Arts and Music Festival on May 10, 2024.

In addition to local acts, headliners at the three-day festival include Beck, Kaytranada and Weezer.

These performances, as well as others in the lineup, seemed to be popular with those who came out.

“This was my first time at a music festival. The line-up was great, the prices were cheap, and I live here and it was easy to get here. Everything went smoothly.

This is the third time the festival has been held. Although it started in 2019, it has been postponed many times due to the epidemic.

Now, the event enters a new time of year.

Wonderfront founder Paul Thorton said: “This is the first time we’ve played in May, so now we can say it’s the kickoff to the summer festival rather than the last one of the year, so that’s really nice.

He said the festival was originally held in November.

“Just from that shift alone, we’re getting over two, almost three hours more sunlight a day. That makes a big difference,” Thornton said.

In addition to the performances, founders say this year’s festival has a new feel – a more compact setting, with each day’s music catering to a specific genre.

“It’s a little tricky to have all those genres in three days. So now we’re more focused every day. Like Friday is EDM, hip-hop, pop; Saturday is all our rock genres; Sunday is like Americana, Jam, roots rock, alt-country,” Thornton said.

He added that up to 50,000 people were expected to come to enjoy the music over the weekend.

The festival features eight stages, one of which is a cruise ship sailing in San Diego Bay that can accommodate up to 550 people.

For Santa Luna, the feeling was surreal.

“We’ve definitely paid our dues, so it feels like we can all kind of pat each other on the back here. It’s going to be a great day, everyone is excited to play and we’re going to have a lot of fun,” the band member said. Wick Hauser said.

Their set was packed and the band members were full of energy throughout the show.

“Just being asked, especially when you’re in San Diego and you know what this event means to the area, like what it is, it’s just so cool to be a part of. Thanks so much for being here,” band member Tanner Lampugnale said.

Whether people attend for three days or just one, the energy is high—especially since this is probably the largest music event in San Diego.

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