Crowds get ‘surfy’ with it on the 101

LEUCADIA — For the second consecutive year, Summer Fun on the 101: A Festival of Surfy Music, delighted visitors and locals alike July 8 and July 9.
“It’s like being transformed to the early days when I was just starting to surf,” said Louisa Belcourt, an Encinitas resident. “It brings up a lot of good memories.”
Surf music — as the genre has become known — emerged on the scene around 1961. It was an extension of Rockabilly and 1950s Rhythm and Blues compositions.  Beginning with instrumental compositions, surf music later incorporated vocal harmonies. The Bel Airs and Dick Dale are the most commonly referred to pioneers in the surf music scene. “Those guys were heavy on the guitar and gave you this driving beat that served as our soundtrack in the early days,” said Bob Walker, an Oceanside resident and longtime surfer. “It reminds me of the days when you knew every guy on your local (surf) break and there weren’t that many of them.”
The surf music festival was the brainchild of local lifeguard Mike Schmitt. Starting out with 10 bands in Leucadia’s busiest area along Coast Highway 101, music lasted throughout the day and into the evening.
This year’s expanded event featured 16 groups plus a beer garden and giveaway drawings. While the performances were free, a $10 donation was requested to benefit the Leucadia Main Street Association and Paul Ecke Central Elementary School garden project.
“I like the fact that the money I donated is going to a great cause,” said Pamela Hastings, a Vista resident who brought her family to the event at Roadside Park on July 9. “We got to hang out at Beacon’s (beach) and then walk to the park to hear awesome music. It gives the day a real feeling of beach culture that is far beyond what my kids know.”
The school’s garden project serves as a “living lab” for students. Organizers said it also acts as a community education hub for all things “green.” Included in the themes addressed though lectures and hands-on demonstrations are home energy conservation, reduced footprint on the environment, healthy food choices and opportunities to participate in the emerging green local economy.
Leading by example, Stellar Solar was on hand to power the sound for the bands.
“I think walking the talk is important, especially when it comes to events like these that can actually be a burden on the environment,” said Stan Simpson, a Carlsbad resident and environmental engineer. “It’s a great idea to combine something so relevant to a beach community like surf music and have the benefits go to everyone when it comes to the garden.”
Schmitt coined “surfy” in the festival’s title as an umbrella term since not all the acts play traditional surf music. Headliners Mattson 2, for example, meld jazz with surf, while the band Slacktone exudes a progressive surf sound.
The laid back crowd was also in the mood to take advantage of the deals at various shops and restaurants along Coast Highway 101.
“I love all the eclectic places down here,” said Paige Watson, an Oceanside resident. “I’ll use any excuse to do a little shopping while I’m in Leucadia,” she said smiling and holding two bags of merchandise from nearby boutiques.

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