October 4, 2021 | Festival Review by Jimmy Alvarez
Another weekend and another great event in the OC! The Afterburner Music Festival landed in Huntington Beach. The concert was set for two-days of fun under the sun and the stars. The sun part provided the canvas for three-day Pacific Airshow.
Truthfully, I didn’t know what to expect about the airshow. Despite coming from a military family, I had never attended an airshow, honestly… I was amazed by those incredible men and women in their flying machines! This year the airshow would fly in tandem with the Afterburner Music Festival. That’s what threw me a little; I didn’t know what to expect. The airshow was free to the public, which brought out a ton of people. The concert part was not, nevertheless, that too brought out the masses.
To me, it didn’t seem to matter which event you attended as it was a great day for all! As much as I was amazed by the planes, and how low they flew, it was as if you could almost reach up and touch them as you felt that wind and heat from their flyovers. Everyone there felt like a kid at a carnival for the very first time.
What captured me were the skydivers who dropped out of the clouds with their parachutes wide open and in full glory. There were a few that glided and descended from the heavens, while a few took that leap of faith and dropped down to earth like a meteor falling from space. Those brave souls gave me a moment of pause, holding my breath as they propelled themselves at incredible speeds only to pump the breaks at the last moment to glide down and touch down on the beach like a feather floating down from a bird.
As for these daredevils, they are part of our military, they are the “Navy Leap Frogs Parachute Team.” Let’s be honest, sometimes the hype doesn’t always live up to the billing, but this time… it did. The elite team is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. Honestly, I have been to a lot of shows over my lifetime as journalist. I have to say that watching this group risk life and limb the way that they did was the coolest thing I have ever seen!
With the Anaheim Ducks preshow DJ Mark Moreno at the helm, the crowd was set to see AFTRBRNR! The show was definitely all ages as just about every age group imaginable was there. I don’t know who the show promoter was that hired the stage company, but that stage was kickass. It looked great and the video elements were top notch with an amazing sound system.
With that as a backdrop, the crowd enjoyed the openers 90’s Rockshow and Umphrey’s McGee. They did a fantastic job of entertaining the crowd as the festival grounds quickly filled. With so much going on, nobody lost sight of the fact that legends were about to take the stage. Just like that, before you knew it, no pomp and circumstance, the band everyone came to see took the stage, Sammy Hagar and The Circle.
The band is a dream lineup of heavy hitters. Led by front-man Sammy Hagar, the band includes fellow Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony on bass, former BusBoy Vic Johnson on lead guitar, and royal lineage was in the house with drummer, Jason Bonham.
The band was nothing short of electric, coupled with their humorous banter between the bandmates and the crowd. Concertgoers of all ages and all ethnicities sang-a-long to every word of every song. It was quite the sight to see grown men and women in tears and with lighters held up over their heads to certain songs. It was an incredible night! The crowd especially went nuts over “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do).” Sammy and the guys proved that even after all these years, they still can’t drive 55! Friday night was by far one of the best nights in SoCal for a show in a very long time.
Despite some underlying issues brewing for the Saturday event, it went off without a hitch. Fan after fan couldn’t say enough great things about Sam Hunt. The Georgian Country crooner took names and killed it Saturday night. While New York-based Alt Rocker X Ambassadors brought their magnetic personalities and signature sound to the HB concertgoers who couldn’t get enough of their tunes. They were entertained by some of their favorites like “Jungle,” “Renegades,” and “Unsteady.”
Despite the oil spill that was a developing story, the crowd was fully engulfed in a night of great entertainment. Sadly, the airshow scheduled for Sunday morning had to be canceled as the magnitude of the oil spill was just coming to fruition.
The spill is an ongoing story, but it doesn’t take away from what the airshow and the concert did for the hearts and souls of everyone who attended.