I love music and I love the beach. When you combine the two, music (especially live music) on the beach, it’s the absolute perfect kinda day or evening for me.
You don’t find a lot of music festivals on the actual beach, but here in San Diego, we’re pretty lucky, we’ve get OMBAC and the Switchfoot Bro-Am.
OMBAC is a music fest at Mariners Point on Mission Bay that occurs each May for the most part (there was a year they had to skip because of conflicting events). You can even drink legally on the beach during the OMBAC fest (a 21+ event) and it tends to have a lot of the reggae inspired bands that are a perfect fit for the laid back San Diego vibe here. I went last May and had an absolute blast! Whether you’re hanging out with friends, running into people you know, and even bumping into friendly good looking strangers, everyone’s in a great fun and friendly mood when they’re chilling at the beach with a drink in hand and great music vibing out! I look forward to that event every year.
The Switchfoot Bro-Am is another fun live music event on the beach in the summer/July in Encinitas and it also hosts a surfing contest for groms. I say it’s what the Huntington U.S. Open should be!! It’s a family/friendly environment and the contestants donate used clothing instead of money for entry fees. The event also includes nerf surf jousting – it’s so much fun to watch!
My goal was to surf while Switchfoot was playing as I thought that would be kinda cool to do, however I always don’t want to miss out on anything so ended up roaming around the concert area people watching and saw the guys leave after the event and the train of people following them! The event overall raises money for the youth and is a great cause!
Although I had a blast at the larger beach events such as OMBAC and the Switchfoot Bro-Am, nothing beats hanging at a cool and secluded surf spot with a smaller group of people and friends listening to one of your favorite bands!
The Wheeland Brother’s are two brothers who surf and make music and their music is squarely based on the lifestyle they lead, truly authentic to their life! If you are a surfer and you enjoy great music, I guarantee you will love their music. The Wheeland Brothers have a song called The Hideaway, about one of their favorite secret surf spots that they like to go to and get away from it all. Many of their songs have been inspired from surfing and hanging out there and they wanted to bring that experience to their fans.
Therefore they invited a smaller group of fans who were interested in seeing this Hideaway place out to the San Onofre Trails camping area and I was excited to be able to attend a bring a couple of my friends! I even bought my first true tent! A little 1-2 person pop up tent that was as easy to assemble as ever! I’ve borrowed tents before but figured it was time to get my own. To make it the true Wheeland Brothers Experience, they also provided burritos for us, as they do have a song that is dedicated to the signature food of SoCal, called Beans & Rice!
When we arrived at the San O Trails, we said we were with the Wheelands, as they had invited us. The park rangers seemed taken aback when we said this, the one park ranger lady said verbatim, “You’re with the Wheeland’s?” like they were some sort of celebrity or legend around those parts or something (well, they are now – ha). We simply told her that yes we were with them and here to camp but had been running a bit late. Apparently, most all of the other campers had already been there for a bit and the park rangers told us that the Wheeland Brother’s had gotten into trouble for bringing their electrical equipment down to the Hideaway Place (another version of this story in a second). They told us we could come in and camp but not to associate with The Wheelands for a bit while things were getting worked out. We heard another story that one of the park rangers saw a promotional poster about this Camp Hideaway event and then looked it up online and saw how the Wheeland Brother’s were saying to keep it quiet as we might be doing some things that aren’t allowed (nothing illegal by the way, just not according to ridiculous park rules).
We had been there a bit and hadn’t heard anything from anyone so we decided to just go down to The Hideaway to at least enjoy the sunset view from there. I already knew where The Hideaway was (as I walked the entire San O Trails to find it one day on an exploration adventure) so I led the way down to where we needed to go. When we got down there, it turns out that The Wheeland Brother’s were already there with their acoustic instruments and getting ready to play some jams! One of the things I did observe was how Travis Wheeland just was running barefoot over the rocks with no caution at all, which is pretty impressive to me, as rocks are kinda my nemesis. I’m pretty scared of them and am always looking down when walking on them to make sure I don’t fall, as I’m a bit uncoordinated at times, especially around rocks!
We thought the rangers were going to kick The Wheeland Brothers and all the other campers out, however they told them that they could stay until the day visitor hours were over at 10pm (even though they had paid for the camping slots and weren’t refunded anything and in fact were fined).
The rest of the evening was an absolute blast and is what’s so great about an intimate get together with a group of friends on the beach enjoying some jams at sunset by the campfire!
The Wheeland Brothers started playing a lot of their fan fave songs, including The Hideaway. I finally got my burrito that I had been anticipating as I didn’t pack much food for camping and pretty much inhaled the thing in a few bites!! As I was eating my burrito and drinking my adult Crystal Light in my thermos, the sun began to set and was just such a picturesque backdrop! As it got dark, the campfire lit up and I moved up closer to the band, to get closer to the fire as I do love soaking up the sun as well as the heat coming off a crackling fire. That night by the fire, people were so consumed with it, they even started breathing it!! I even breathed out a bit of fire with an interesting after effect, as I kinda got flustered for a bit with the whole thing as it was a new experience for me that I wanted to partake in! Then, the Wheeland Brother’s sang their song “Summer Stars” as we were literally looking up at the open empty sky and all the stars staring down at us. It was one of the favorite nights I’ve had here in San Diego since I first visited here actually and there was drinking and bonfires allowed at the beach. There’s just something magical about fire and something you truly can’t beat about a great group of people just chilling by the beach enjoying great music that reflects the appreciation of this great place we live!
When the clock was about to strike 10, The Wheeland Brother’s and most of the fans had to get up and out, however since we got their late, we weren’t included in this group and were able to end up camping at San Onofre that night. That next morning I got up and looked down at the beach from the cliffs and was just so appreciative that I get the opportunity to live this life here in San Diego!
I called this weekend, Camp Hideaway or the Wheeland Brother’s experience as I think both terms fit. We definitely got the Wheeland Brother’s experience by seeing how they tend to get in trouble from the park rangers for pesky things that are just about getting $$$ to justify their salaries vs. any real safety/noise concerns. I believe there are some types of events you truly need a permit for, with the larger events like OMBAC or the Switchfoot Bro-Am. However for something more intimate like the Wheeland Brother’s were trying to do, it’s just a joke to me really, how you need to pay in order to get permission to do those types of things! We all paid for our camping spot, plain and simple and nobody was complaining about them. Oh well, Camp Hideaway was a blast, I hope the Wheeland Brother’s try it again, as I have a plan for diverting attention with a decoy next time around!!
So that’s it, just one more reason why The San Diego Life is so great, with all the amazing music we have around here and the ability to hear it live on the beach. Even though the Wheeland Brothers are from Orange County, they think of San Onofre as their home, and contrary to lots of surf guides, etc. San Onofre is in San Diego County.
Signing off with
“Ya gotta break the rules, if you wanna break free” The Wheeland Brother’s (Toast to the Coast)