The first stop for Sabroso Festival was held in beautiful Dana Point, California, at Doheny State Beach. This sunny, two-day fest was filled with tacos, beer tasting, Lucha Libre wrestling matches, and most importantly, music.
This event comes together seamlessly, every year, thanks to SGE (Synergy Global Entertainment) and Brew Ha Ha (check out Season 1, Episode 7 of the podcast for more about these guys). The main sponsor of this event is Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce owned by Dexter Holland of The Offspring, and that stuff is everywhere! A complete list of partners, sponsors, and charities can be found on Sabroso Festival’s website. These sponsors pulled off one of the best events of the season. From music, to beer, to tacos, to lucha libre wrestling - it all came together perfectly.
Between band performances, theatrical and exaggerated Lucha Libre matches took place. These matches were not to be missed, quite possibly being every wrestling fan’s dream. Wrestlers in tight bodysuits, adorned with sequined masks, conjure images from Nacho Libre. It was hard to resist picking a wrestler to root for, and feeling like a part of the match.
With over 150 craft beers to taste and a limited amount of time to do it, it's best to have a good game plan (which should include taking breaks for tacos). Many of the breweries are local to California. It's a great opportunity to try beers you might have never seen or heard of previously. Many breweries brought different varieties on day two. There was something for every one.... at least in the over 21 crowd. My personal favorite of the weekend was Ace pineapple craft cider. Click HERE for a full list of breweries. If beer's not your thing (or if you needed a caffeine boost), various flavors of Rockstar Energy drinks were given out free of charge, including Kiwi Strawberry, Green Apple,Cotton Candy and Peach Iced Tea.
The Sabroso merch tent offered various tee shirts, hoodies, and accessories from most of the bands on the roster. There was no shortage of merch options, especially for fans of The Offspring. Hooligan was there with their iconic skateboards; Garageland brought a variety of posters, and hosted a meet-and-greet with Face to Face. Many other vendors were also present, fully stocked with inventory to sell to eager masses.
Both days were stacked with bands not to be missed. Picking just one day would have been really hard (thankfully I didn't have to). Punk rock veterans D.I. got things started for the weekend, and they did not disappoint. They brought the energy and got the crowd revved up for what was to come. Adolescents were next to hit the stage. The love for these guys runs deep in Orange County. Fat Wreck Chords' heavy hitters Strung Out were up next, they always perform with high energy, especially bass player, Chris Aiken. My favorite songs they played were “Blueprint of the Fall”, and “Matchbook.”
My personal favorite of the day, Lagwagon played next. The members of Strung Out There is something so familiar and comforting about Lagwagon. I never get bored of seeing these guys on stage. The highlights of their set, for me, were “Violins” (of course) and “Cog in the Machine.” Lagwagon closed with “May 16”, which was perfect, because it was on a Saturday.
With Bad Religion up next, a giant crowd formed and people were packed in tight. Bad Religion played at least 15 fast-paced classics, from “No Control” to “American Jesus.” Flogging Molly closed out Day One. Admittedly, I've never really been into Celtic-punk, but I'd be lying if I said Flogging Molly didn't keep my attention. The entire crowd came to life with “Devil’s Dance Floor”, and “If I ever Leave this World Alive.”
By the end of the day I'd completely drained my phone battery AND my external battery. I was relieved to stumble upon a booth by Electric Standard Company. They had external batteries available for $30, and the best part was you could trade them back for a fully charged one as often as needed. Brilliant and a live saver!