Festivals are a pretty common thing in the summer, as we all know. But how about a festival on the beach? In December? Now we know all our northern friends are jealous! The first ever Riptide Music Festival took place on December 3rd and 4th, spanning the weekend and bringing tons of bands and around 20,000 music fans to the beach. Day one of the festival was brought to us by 104.3 The Shark and it was a day full of old fashioned alternative and indie rock.
The festival was stationed on Fort Lauderdale beach, with the grounds backing up right towards the water, just north of the 17th Street Causeway. The festival was massive for it’s first year, with an Underground area that heralded pop up acoustic sets – most notably a surprise set from The Struts, more food and drink vendors than you could possibly need, and tons of freebies to the festival goers including beach chairs, cups, bags, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and so much more brought out by the festival’s sponsors.
With only one stage, the crew did a great job of switching between bands using a massive lazy Susan-esque rotating device that made the transition easy and quick. The fans had little time to wait between bands, which kept the energy up in the crowd.
The day kicked off with Saint Motel’s indie rock with their keyboard/vocalist amping up the steady growing crowd. Florida favorites Pepper were up next, and their reggae rock brought out the beachy vibes. Andrew McMahon in the Wildnerness played third, and unfortunately their equipment was lost while flying in for the show. Andrew made the best of it though, with a purely piano set, which was much more mellow than expected but with acoustic sets of “Dark Blue” from his days as Jack’s Mannequin.
Last minute edition, The Dreamers, played next in place of Good Charlotte who had dropped of the show just a week earlier without addressing their fans. A lot of the crowd was pretty upset, as you could overhear plenty of people complaining about the last-minute change. The Dreamers, however, put on an energetic electronic rock show that kept people talking about them all day. “Did you catch The Dreamers? They rocked!” The band flew into Fort Lauderdale on a red-eye after playing a show the night before in Seattle, but you’d have never known with the way they threw themselves into their live performance. Glass Animals were up after and the crowd went crazy for their smooth grooves. Miike Snow, Swedish indie pop band, took the stage after Glass Animals.
The Struts were up next and were easily one of the most anticipated acts of the day. Singer, Luke Spiller, is the embodiment of 80’s glam rock. He’s like the perfect embodiment of Mick Jagger, Steven Tyler, and Freddie Mercury. The music is just pure rock and roll and they brought insane amounts of energy to the stage. Robert DeLong was up next, and he definitely takes MVP of the day in my opinion. Despite a crazy electrical issue involving none of his computers working, the electronic artist took his guitar and treated the fans to a rare three song acoustic set. While it must have been stressful for DeLong, he handled it with ease and that shows talent in my eyes.
Dirty Heads played next and it seemed the entire crowd sparked up all at the same time. The second reggae rock band of the day was perfectly set on the beach and the crowd vibed along to their opening hit “Burn Slow.” The bands set started off energetic and ended with a mellower vibe with transitioned well into the last two bands of the night, Silversun Pickups and Awolnation. Silversun put on a great show as always, including some of their biggest hits “Lazy Eye” and “Well Thought Out Twinkles.” SSPU are veterans in the alternative rock scene so it was great to see an older fan favorite playing towards the end of the night. Awolnation closed out day one to an insane crowd that was screaming with anticipation. Admittedly, I’ve only heard “Sail” previously before the night and was expecting a full set of electronic tones, but the bulk of their setlist was actually much more on the alternative side, which was a great surprise. While “Sail” is a great hit, it was nice to hear the band has a much harder and faster style than it – which I’ll definitely be checking into more.
That wrapped up day one of the Sharkwrecked at Riptide Fest. Stay tuned for day two!