Thousands Expected Saturday for Return of Bayfest at the Waterfront

The reggae-based festival will be the first major non-sports event in San Diego since pandemic restrictions were lifted

NBC Universal, Inc.

Ball games at Petco Park, the San Diego County Fair and, just this week, the Big Bay Boom firework show were some of the biggest events that returned to America's Finest City post--pandemic. Now, its time to cue the music.

Bayfest 2021, with a lineup featuring Dirty Heads, Sublime With Rome, Fortunate Youth, the Aggrolites, KBong and Denm, will make a big noisy splash starting at noon on Saturday at Waterfront Park outside the San Diego County Administration Building.

The inaugural San Diego Bayfest kicked off recently with good vibes galore thanks to beloved reggae/rock locals Slightly Stoopid and Tribal Seeds -- watch the SoundDiego TV video recap now!

Sublime with Rome bassist, Eric Wilson, told NBC 7 he was happy to be back onstage and playing Bayfest for the first time.

"I feel like things are back to normal, like I'm used to," Wilson said. "I enjoy playing for the fans, meeting people," he added, "my favorite thing to hear is how our music has helped people through tough times."

Wilson, who, in true rock-star fashion, overslept or his 11 a.m. phone interview, hinted the band may play some unreleased music tentatively dropping on a new album later this summer.

It won't be the first gig for Wilson, who's lived on a 17-acre spread in Bonsall for the past eight years, since the pandemic started.

"We've played a few shows," Wilson said. "During the pandemic, Sublime has played the drive-in shows and we played the Ozarks. That show was like a normal show. A sheriff there told me 'We don't do the pandemic here.' "

In fact, Sublime With Rome played one of those drive-in shows in Del Mar in October 2020. This weekend, fans will be able to get out of their cars and up to the stage.

Denm will kick off the festival at 1:10 p.m., with DJ GreenT spinning when doors open at noon until then.

Mikey “Beats” Beltran, a founding partner of Bayfest, said the festival is adopting the new state and county testing and vaccination requirements for events. These changes can be found here. Festival-goers will self-attest to their fully vaccinated status and won't be required to wear a mask. Non-vaccinated individuals will need to wear a mask. 

Aside from high-energy musical performances, the festival will also feature local food vendors, including taco stands, local bartenders pouring craft beer and craft cocktails and an assortment of local art and vending booths. 

General-admission tickets for Bayfest 2021 are $50; VIP packages are available for those willing to shell out $250.

Beltran said he expects Saturday's big event to sell out -- 13,000 tickets to be exact. They always say that, though, right? Might be true this time, though, with all that pent-up pandemic demand. Beltran said to get tickets now if you plan on attending.

"We do have tickets left but they are selling fast," Beltran said in an email. "We may not have any at the door." 

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