San Diego, CA – August 5 & 6, 2023
One of my more rash decisions includes taking the Amtrak train down the gorgeous Californian coast, while preparing to cover a full weekend lineup of amazing indie-pop artists at Bleached Fest, curated by Tight Knit. I had never been to San Diego, nor seen the majority of this impressive lineup, so I was nervous to push myself out of my comfort zone for an event like this. However, the grassy industrial port-side and towering palm trees at Waterfront Park, along with the outstanding set up by festival organizers, ensured for a weekend to remember.
The staff was friendly, helpful and attentive all weekend, with a gorgeous backdrop of the Pacific waves lapping and planes flying overhead. My first impression was hesitant, because while many festivals are able to pull off a gorgeous location and unique set up, it can be difficult for festivals to support concertgoers with proper food, water, restrooms and oasis from the scorching summer sun.
Despite my concerns, I was quickly put in my place by the beautiful tented areas that provided an aesthetic bowtie to the much more simple space Waterfront Park offered; It was a truly transforming, immersive experience at whatever level of involvement you preferred. You could try the wide variety of drink and food vendors while lounging in the grassy shade, or line up on the barricade and dance in the multiple mosh pits forming and dissipating throughout the day. Regardless, there were always open porta-potties and a well organized line of free water spouts.
Day one artists and sets at highlights include Subtle Orange, Sam Austins, Lily Meola, Rainsford, Riovaz, Baird, Aluna, The Jungle Giants, Jeremy Zucker, Inner Wave, Stephen Sanchez, Dayglow, Remi Wolf, Channel Tres and Leon Bridges.
While The Jungle Giants was such a standout favorite for me it warranted their own article, other great performances included Riovaz and his crowd, and Remi Wolf’s ability to charm a thousands people with ease.
Day One: People and Outtakes
Day two was a wicked lineup of indie pop artists Binki, Blondshell, Bulow, BADBADNOTGOOD, Cat Burns, Cannons, Maude Latour, Ethel Cain, Lizzy McAlpine, Caroline Polachek, Lovejoy, Omar Apollo, Surf Curse and Joji. Some artists, like BADBADNOTGOOD, used their unique stage set up to keep the crowd enthralled in the music; their use of a film projector live on stage, combined with their flowing transitions from song to song forged a new environment that Bleached Fest had yet to see. Stand out stars such as Ethel Cain left me breathless while watching her intense focus. Joji left much to be desired, unfortunately, but Surf Curse’s energetic and carefree performance wrapped up day two as a success.
Day Two People and Outtakes: