Like Totally ’80s Festival Brings a Superior Sonic Time Warp to OC

The Human League (courtesy of the band)

Its Déjà vu all over again; it’s time for the 3rd Annual, Like Totally 80’s Festival. This year, the fest returns to Huntington State Beach on Saturday, May 12th. This year’s lineup is as stellar as in years past. For all of us, music means different things…for some, it’s music to work out to, for others it reminds us of family, friends and great memories.  This year, the festival is pressing the button and sending us back into time for another great ride.

To get the allure of festivals like this, we need to remember what these bands meant to the masses. In the 80’s, everyone was watching John Hughes movies like Pretty in Pink, Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. The soundtracks to these feature films were amazing; they included ‘80s favorites OMD, Echo & the Bunnyman  along with the Psychedelic Furs. We were watching TV shows like Seinfeld and Married with Children. Everyone loved the big hair, spandex, DayGlo, shoulder pads and acid-washed jeans. Our favorite phrases were “Gag me with a spoon”, “I’m So Sure”, and “Where’s the Beef?!” In the 80’s, MTV brought the music from the radio to our homes. Video may have killed the radio star, but it didn’t kill the radio stations that rode the new wave synth sound. Back in the day, there was a local radio station that was at the epicenter of the New Wave Revolution. That station was from Pasadena, it was KROQ FM. There were several DJ’s at KROQ that caused all the fuss. The big names included Freddy Snakeskin, Jed the Fish and Richard Blade just to name a few. They were playing bands like Boingo, Berlin, Missing Persons, The Cure, and Depeche Mode. Collectively, all of this contributed to our flashback reality.

Circling back to the future, then back to a few years ago, a local promoter came up with a plan to bring the soundtrack of our lives to Orange County, and the plan was to land it on the beach, Huntington Beach to be exact. His name is Scott Tucker, of Sell Out Productions. Tucker teamed up with his partner, No Limits Marketing’s Vanessa Turbay and the idea of the Like Totally 80’s Festival went from being on the drawing board, to being reality. The first show was in Santa Ana and it was a success. So-much-so, they planned for the second one and that too was an overwhelming success. Now came the tough part, how to prepare for the third act.

Truthfully, there are several 80’s festivals you can catch throughout the year; they’re all good shows. The HB show simply stands out. It’s not just good, it’s proven to be great. To make this work, Sell Out Productions had to provide the same quality bands, and it had to be a heartfelt show. It had to be the kind of show fans would take their family and friends to. The thing about great festivals, they become great by listening to reviews and comments from past shows. With that in mind, more and more features were added to this year’s festival.

The obvious choice for the promoters was to bring this festival indoors, to a large high-capacity venue. The down side to that was by doing that, it might have taken the festival out of Huntington Beach, and maybe OC altogether. When asked why Tucker wanted to do the show in Orange County again, he was quick to say because he loves Orange County. He grew up in Huntington Beach, and loves the kind of bands only ‘80s festivals can showcase. Doing a show at an indoor venue may be more cost effective, but it doesn’t have the same impact or vibe playing on the Beach gives the concertgoers.  For Tucker and Turbay, they have two things they wanted to accomplish. 1) Give the fans a great experience and 2) give their investors a show they could be proud of. Anything beyond that was secondary in every way possible. In the end, Tucker said he was born and raised in Huntington Beach, and to be able to do these festivals in HB, his hometown, makes going to work a great day.” There’s much to be said about holding yourself to a higher standard for the benefit of others.

That all being said, this year’s lineup includes bands that shaped the 80’s. This year you’ll see The Human League– a band synonymous with synth and new wave. This band was a mainstay that landed MTV on its ear with songs like “Don’t You Want Me”, “Keep Feeling (Fascination)”, “Love Action”, “The Lebanon”, “Mirror Man” and “Human”. Another ‘80s icon playing this year will be The Alarm. This is another band that set the world on fire with songs like “Strength”, “Rain In the Summertime” and “Sixty Eight Guns.” If you desire, you can catch the motion of love with Jay Aston’s, Gene Loves Jezebel. Remember “Free Yourself”, “What’s Gone Wrong”, “Wild Child” and “I Spy for the F.B.I.”? If so, you’ll take in the 2Tone Ska and Soul sounds of Jerry Miller and The Untouchables will also be on display.

Another ‘80s favorite taking the stage will be Martha Davis and The Motels. Songs you may recognize include Only the Lonely and Suddenly Last Summer. The Motels also have a new album called The Last Few Beautiful Days, and it’s getting very good reviews, so be ready for new tunes from them. This band may be originally from Jersey, but they’ve become favorites in SoCal. He’s the classiest guy in the biz, his name is John Easdale, and the band is Dramarama. Their hits that have touched so many people include “Haven’t Got a Clue”, “Last Cigarette”, “What Are We Gonna Do” and uber-hit, “Anything Anything.” Also appearing will be pop star Tiffany; and you’ll see a mega-band performance with The Reflexx featuring Tim Polecat of The Polecats, Clive Farrington of When in Rome UK and Slim Jim Phantom of The Stray Cats. Be warned, you just never know what other surprises may be in store. In normal Scott Tucker fashion, he and Turbay pulled one out of the hat and added one more band that’ll help take us back to places we remember… that band is Naked Eyes.

In putting this show together, Tucker and Turbay wanted to take what worked from the last two events, and consider what they heard from concertgoers about last year’s show to improve on the experience. All this in trying to do it right. They’ll be offering games, prizes, and following the Warped tour model, children 10 and under will be free with a paid admission. Like in past years, there’ll be retail vendors, food trucks, and 80’s-themed costume contest and celebrity impersonators. If that’s not enough, hosting this ’80s spectacular again will be legendary DJ Richard Blade. Also supporting the event are radio stations JACK FM, K-Earth 101 and locally, KX935 in Laguna Beach. If you want to turn back the clock for a day and have a great time, check out the 3rd Annual, Like Totally 80’s Festival.

For more information about the festival, and especially parking, visit Huntington State Beach is located at 21899 Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 92646.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *