Shhh...they're about to rock

KX 93.5's first-ever Festival of Music in Laguna Beach will keep residents' noise concerns in mind.

October 28, 2013|By Rhea Mahbubani
  • From left, Michelle Ray, development director at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach; Tyler Russell, KX 93.5 founder; Susan Davis, director of special events at the Festival of Arts; Bobby Serna, surf experience director at Mauli Ola Foundation; Kim Novick, development director at the Tony Hawk Foundation; and Jason Feddy, KX 93.5 midday host, pose for a photo at the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach on Wednesday. Feddy will be the emcee for the first Festival of Music event in Laguna Beach.
From left, Michelle Ray, development director at the… (KEVIN CHANG, Coastline…)

For ticket holders, music festivals can be a treat. But for area residents, the only upshots can be bawdy fans, gridlocked traffic and noise de trop.

Anticipating such criticism, Tyler Russell was determined to do things differently. So he conceived an event that straddles the line between exciting and toned down.

Starting out, he rifled through a list of a couple hundred musicians and contacted only those who were of a high enough caliber, who then had to agree to a charity show. Staying away from punk or heavy metal types, his team lined up mostly acoustic acts — don't be surprised, though, if someone whips out an electric guitar. While the musicians themselves get increasingly mellow as the night proceeds, sound and production teams know not to turn up the volume too high.

And thus, KX 93.5's first-ever Festival of Music was born.

In keeping with the channel's commitment to air "Generational alt rock from the 1960s to today," it will feature Los Angeles indie rock band Trapdoor Social, actor John Ritter's daughter Carly and Colin Hay, an Australian vocalist previously associated with Men at Work and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band. Costa Mesa musician Matt Costa will be the headlining act at the Festival of Arts grounds Saturday.


The space, which during the summer can house up to 2,600 Pageant of the Masters viewers, has over the years been leased out to the AIDS Services Foundation of Orange County, Laguna Beach Rotary Club (for its annual Classic Car Show), Pacific Symphony and others. The last event on this large a scale, though, was the Moonshine Festival, which starred Jack Johnson in 2004.

"There have been lots of events on the Festival grounds — some of them have had music and some of them have not," Festival of Arts events director Susan Davis said. "But we, meaning the Festival of Arts and city of Laguna Beach, are trying to be mindful of our neighbors who have, in the past, had moments where they've not been OK with the sound. We have been cautious about having events where the decibel levels might disturb people, some of whom live right behind us."

Organizers have done their part, Russell said, by being doggedly conscientious about the type of music they've chosen. His goal is not to push past any sound regulations — it is to present a festival that locals can be proud of.

Coastline Pilot Articles Coastline Pilot Articles