San Diego’s Wonderfront Festival Premier

This November 22-24, 2019 Wonderfront Festival in downtown San Diego had its premier weekend celebration! Boasting huge names including Miguel, Nicky Jam, and MGMT, Wonderfront stopped at nothing to make this weekend an unforgettable start to the future of San Diego’s newest music festival.

The Set Up: Exploring Downtown

San Diego, commonly known for its white sandy beaches and laid back vibes, also boasts one of the most beautiful downtown areas in all of California. With art, music, and food festivals happening what feels like every single weekend, Wonderfront had to bring something new to the equation. And that they did. With stages spread across downtown, it was highly encouraged that attendees incorporate the city itself in their festival experience. Unlimited exits and reentries, speedy lines, and chill security all added to the ease of this festival experience. Fancy a nice dinner over festival food? Want a cheaper beer? Need to buy some chapstick? Easy, just leave and come back!

However, depending on what artists you were hoping to catch, the spread out nature of the festival may have posed a slight issue. Alternating stages were set up adjacent to one another making it easy to catch entire sets. But other stages had up to a 30 minute walk between them. It became clear I was not the only one rushing between entrances when setting foot on the walkways. Pedicabs transporting attendees rushed by in both directions and people jogged ahead trying to catch the beginning or end of a set.

I am all for exploring cities, but I unfortunately didn’t have enough time to even truly leave the festival grounds. I was either watching a set I wanted to watch, or rushing to a different stage to catch the next one. However, this is a direct result of my obsession with music and having far too many artists that I wanted to see. If there are only a few names on the lineup you are set in seeing, this festival offers the perfect set up to fill your time with adventure and exploration.

The Music

Truly, the best part about Wonderfront in my opinion was the diversity of their music lineup. Rock, Hip Hop, Rap, Reggae, EDM, Alternative, Americana, Indie, and Latin artists all came to support this premier weekend. This made exploring the festival even more fun. Additionally, the diversity in music brought a diversity in attendees. Enjoying the festival with people of all ages and races truly was a celebration of San Diego’s arts culture.

Artists to Explore

The highlight set to my Wonderfront experience was Nicky Jam. He delivered an emotional, full-hearted set backed by incredible dancers. However, this was no surprise to me. My real favorite part of attending music festivals is falling in love with unfamiliar artists. This festival I happened upon Goldfish and The Knocks, two artists I knew about but didn’t expect to love as much as I did. If you attended Wonderfront let me know in the comment section who your favorite surprises were!

The Extras

Comedy

Need a break from the music but are still craving entertainment? Wonderfront has you covered. With two comedians per day it was easy to find some laughter and fun in even the smallest corners of the festival.

Boats

Yacht parties and cruises were ample seeing as Wonderfront is stationed right on the waterfront. Enjoy DJ sets and drinks as you cruise around the San Diego harbor or take a water taxi complete with bars and performers between stages. Maybe even watch the sunset from the water!

Skateboarding

Tony Hawk brought the HuckJam ramp to Wonderfront where a crew of some of the best profession vert skaters and bmx bikers in the world (including Tony himself) performed choreographed and freestyle skating along side live music.

Afterparties

Since Wonderfront is located in the heart of downtown, you are mere steps away from an entirely different nightlife scene. Late night yacht parties on the harbor, performances by bands and DJs at the local nightclubs, craft breweries, and bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp district and Little Italy are just some of the options downtown San Diego has to offer. Whether you do the short walk back to your hotel room or move the adventure into downtown, you can’t go wrong!

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If you enjoyed this review leave a comment below and check out some of my other recent reviews!

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FestPop Senior Staff Writer, Julia Osteen

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