Pacific Festival: The Dunes Strips Down By the Sea

Categories: festivals
Mayer Hawthorne photo-001.jpg
A little more intimacy from Mayer Hawthorne
See Also:
*Josh Epstein of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. on Pacific Festival, His Favorite Housewife of Orange County
* Pacific Festival: The Dunes Announced
* Boys Noize Talks New Album, Working With Snoop Dogg and Skrillex

The standard model for a music festival these days is all about one-upsmanship. Each year, archetypes such as Coachella and Electric Daisy Carnival insist on changing shape--getting larger, more expensive and tech-savvy, and progressively impersonal. When OC-based entertainment company the Pacific Festival prepared to announce the next installment of its namesake event, we assumed it'd also follow suit. Another expanded two-day marathon perhaps? How about a surprise headliner that makes last year's Snoop Dogg/Cut Copy bill look like child's play? Maybe throw in hologram of a dead rapper to spice things up?

Instead, this year's Pacific Festival takes last year's bacchanal at Oak Canyon Ranch in a totally different direction by spinning it into a new event. Relocating to the sandy shores of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina, Pacific Festival: The Dunes is curated to reflect the breezy, oceanside aesthetic of its notably posh surroundings. Think of it as the laid-back cousin of an agitated and sweaty FYF Fest. Headlined by retro-soul singer Mayer Hawthorne, more than a dozen groove-oriented, indie pop bands such as Fools Gold, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. and Poolside will plug in on a single seaside stage on Sunday. "If we followed the traditional path of what most festival producers are doing, our third year, we'd be trying to go even bigger, more acts, more flashing lights and bigger stages," says Pacific Festival co-founder and Detroit Bar talent buyer Mike Tunney. "But for us, this year, that doesn't really define success." What does define success, he says, is the ability to draw celebrated up-and-coming acts to OC in a format that carves out its own identity.

In 2009, Tunney and fellow Costa Mesa/Newport Beach natives Justin Ruiz and DJ/Dim Mak founder Steve Aoki started the Pacific Festival brand, launching a two-day event at Triangle Square that drew more than 4,500 people to hear Chiddy Bang, the Aggrolites, Morgan Colett and more. The event took over the complex, spilling into surrounding clubs such as Sutra.

The second installment in August 2011 boasted five stages, with a glut of national-marquee acts, all exploding with laser lights and relentless, untz-untz energy. A dancing tribe of 10,000 local revelers covered the sprawling, lakeside location of Silverado's Oak Canyon Ranch, howling and bouncing around to the likes of Ghostland Observatory, Calvin Harris, Cut Copy and Snoop Dogg.

Relaxing with Poolside

Sponsor Content

Now Trending

From the Vault