Delayed but Determined, BeachLife Festival Returns for a Second Highly Anticipated Outing in September

Back to the beach.

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  • Written by
    Kat Monk

It was 2020, and there was a little box at the bottom of the document. The text next to the box read: “Pandemic Insurance.” Allen Sanford, managing partner for BeachLife Festival, was highly aware that checking extra boxes meant extra premiums. Ultimately, the insurance policy was signed without that box being checked, and the team made plans for BeachLife Festival 2020—a return of the three-day music festival hosted in King Harbor. 

BeachLife premiered in 2019 with more than 26,000 concertgoers and headliners such as Willie Nelson, Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead and Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. The 2020 lineup promised to feature the Steve Miller Band and Counting Crows as the headliners.

BeachLife distinguished itself from other festivals by offering the SideStage Experience restaurant—a venue for fans to have dinner while viewing their favorite musician. In 2019, for approximately $150 you could sit near the side of the stage at a restaurant table enjoying dinner. And not just any dinner. These menus were prepared by some of the leading chefs in the South Bay and designed to complement each musician playing on stage during the service. When you finished your meal, you could get up and walk a bit closer and check out the rest of the set.

In early 2020, Allen was in a meeting with Michael Greenberg of Skechers. Michael mentioned to Allen that there was news about a potential pandemic. Not long after, the unimaginable became reality and the United States effectively shut down due to COVID-19. Concerts, sporting events, retail stores and restaurants all closed their doors. During the early days, the collective belief was that the pandemic would pass quickly and BeachLife would be rescheduled for the end of summer 2020.

California was especially hard-hit by the pandemic, with Los Angeles being the epicenter and having the highest numbers of cases in the state. Allen’s father, with a fiscally conservative mindset, taught his son to save for a rainy day—and BeachLife was about to experience approximately 500 consecutive rainy days. After a series of false starts and cancellations, the staff was reduced to bare bones.

After the restaurant closures, new restrictions were put in place by authorities to safely increase outdoor dining. Allen had been in the restaurant business for 23 years and was on the board of the Redondo Beach Riviera Village Association when parklets were discussed to help with social distancing. The parklets would allow diners to socially distance themselves by a minimum of 6 feet from each other in what was originally a street, street parking area or parking lot.

Allen realized that the BeachLife crew could build these parklets for restaurants—helping them flourish and potentially stay in business during the pandemic. Allen believes that you help yourself by helping your community, and this project was a great way to enable his staff to work during the pandemic.

The next project for the BeachLife crew was to raise money to avoid restaurant closures. BeachLife worked with Skechers and helped restaurants stay in business with a COVID-19 relief fund. All in all, they raised $500,000.

Now BeachLife is back, scheduled for September 10–12 in Redondo Beach’s King Harbor. This year’s headliners include Jane’s Addiction, Cage the Elephant, Counting Crows and Ziggy Marley. Allen is “cautiously optimistic” that this year’s concert will not be canceled, but he notes that little box about pandemic insurance no longer appears on the insurance contracts.

Written by Kat Monk

For more on BeachLife Festival 2021, visit

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