Festivals, Music, News
May 15, 2024

Wonderfront Music Festival is Here to Stay

Wonderfront has returned for 2024 for the third time in six years, and this time seems likely to stay. With the initial festival occurring in 2019, a pandemic hiatus from 2020-2021, an attempt to jump back into the swing of things in 2022, a step back in 2023 because of logistical reasons; 2024 finally sprung to life with a killer lineup, a stellar attendance, and seems to be a great foundation for years to come.

With this year’s Coachella, the country’s largest music festival, to see a second year in a row with declining attendance; Wonderfront seemed to soar in proportional comparison. Parked at the Embarcadero Marine Park North, venue; sandwiched between San Diego Bay and the marina, right at the foot of downtown SD.  

The Wonderfront festival presents itself as a nice alternative to driving out to the California Desert, near Palm Springs, which is only close to itself, to catch some popular acts. Instead, sip on some spiked seltzer hard kombucha, and feel the ocean breeze, in Ron Burgandy’s hometown. At the end of each night, walk back across the street to San Diego’s plethora of large quality hotels.

Multiple stages and even a multilevel boat , that toured the harbor with live music showcased many of today’s established modern acts. Even Sunday’s headliner, Beck, quipped on stage, “I can almost hear the yacht rock from here”, in reference to the beautiful setting.

This year seems to have gone off without the logistical hitches of years past. Each day focused on a separate genre and crowd.

Friday’s Day 1 of the festival kicked off with a sold out crowd of 15,000 attendees eager to enjoy the hip-hop and electronic-driven lineup. Artists such as Bakar, whose performance also topped 1.8M views on the festival’s social media, Dayglow, Joey Bada$$ and Channel Tres drew big crowds.  JID and T-Pain energized the festival and Katraynada crushed it as the headliner.

Saturday’s Day 2 brought out alternative bands and rock legends with the likes of Action Bronson, Sun Room, BadBadNotGood, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Briston Maroney. German band Milky Chance had the crowd dreaming about being ‘disco boys’ with their song “Living in a Haze,” and Carly Rae Jepsen had everyone singing along to “Call Me, Maybe” as she jumped in the crowd to dance along!  Dominic Fike seamlessly blended his experimental style of alternative rock and rap, capturing the crowd’s full attention, and legendary rock band Weezer took the show to the next level. Day two saw a total of 14,200 fans.

Sunday’s Day 3 featured artists, including Rayland Baxter, Fruit Bats, and Steel Pulse, and Marcus King, drawing sizable crowds. The infamous hip-hop/jazz band The Roots and Mt. Joy were crowd favorites. To close out the festival, the incomprehensible Beck took the main stage with hits Devil Haircut and Loser. Simultaneously, Natasha Bedingfield gave an energetic performance at the more intimate Whiteclaw stage, leaving the packed capacity crowd feeling like the “the rest is still Unwritten.” The excitement for 2025 was palpable as fans left the Embarcadero and Ruocco Parks.

In addition to the performances on site, the festival included an array of local artists, free community stages at the Seaport Village, and events and activations throughout San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and bayfront, including yacht parties and live performances on the Adventure Hornblower ships. Even this year’s festival merchandise was a big hit, selling out of most of the products!

All in all, the festival seemed to be a success and has laid the groundwork to be a mainstay for San Diego and Southern California for years to come.

Looking ahead to Wonderfront 2025, stay tuned for what will take the great 2024 elements even further and for some exciting new 2025 additional elements to the festival. Make sure you stay in the know by following Wonderfront at www.wonderfrontfestival.com.

The event was brought together by La Jolla based, Events.com.

Check out our artist galleries shot by resident Photographer Ed Batres.