By: Aaron Gaudette
What takes place every Sunday afternoon at Wavehouse in Mission Beach isn’t your average weekend beach party, despite it’s beginning as such. Actually, it’s far from it.
If you manage to shake off your Sunday morning hangover and wander down to Belmont Park, you’ll be treated to an unparalleled concert series that has been getting bigger and better each of the five years that it’s been running—and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
“It’s a unique venue and there’s nowhere else like it,” noted Rifat Ziadeh, a San Diego-based DJ who frequently performs at Wavehouse’s “Sundaze” concert series. “Sundaze has an awesome vibe to it. You look one direction and see the ocean, turn your head a little and see a crowd of people from sunny San Diego dancing away, and look past the crowd and see people shredding in the surf machine.”
These is indeed something for everyone who wants to make the most out of their “Sunday Funday” at Sundaze, ranging from Beer Pong and Cornhole to a full-scale wave machine and sumo suits, not to mention the prospect of seeing top-notch talent perform a mere stone’s throw away from the beach.
“I love the courtyard environment; it’s fun without pretense,” agreed Shane Berry, the director of entertainment for concerts at Wavehouse. “The music format is just a cool mix of party tunes and it provides a separate vibe—almost like another party altogether. For us the most important thing is that the crowd has fun. We mix it up a bit, and while it works sometimes and sometimes it doesn’t, we keep experimenting until we find the right mix.”
And there fun is to be had at Sundaze, especially when the venue has showcased such premier artists as Tiesto, Dirty South, Steve Aoki, and Christopher Lawrence in the past with much more on tap for this summer.
“We’ve really started to step up our talent this year, bringing in breaking artists as well as heavyweights,” said Berry. “The response has been phenomenal.”
Berry credits a symbiotic relationship that he has with some of his counterparts in downtown San Diego as playing an integral part in enabling him to bring in the A-list talent that he has.
“By working with the guys at Voyeur, for instance, an artist is able to come and put on a show by the beach during the day and then turn around and do another one downtown in the same night,” said Berry. “The artists are happy because they’re getting paid twice, in the same city and on the same day, and we’re happy to have them because it allows us to keep our ticket prices reasonable.”
As a matter of fact, keeping ticket prices reasonable has been a longstanding priority for Berry, regardless of how much profit potential a performer has. By looking at his concert attendees more as investors than customers, he has sought to ensure a returning clientele while at the same time allowing them some extra change to spend at the shows.
“I’ve always believed that the experience shouldn’t be overridden by cost, and so I’ve always viewed our relationship with customers as more mutual than parasitic, as it can be at some other venues,” said Berrry. “We’ve always focused more on the party and less on the money aspect, and while we may not be able to offer some of the amenities that the glitzy hotels have, we believe that we’re able to offer something for everyone. We choose to be inclusive rather than exclusive.”
It is this “bottom-line good time” atmosphere that has helped propel the Sundaze concert series to the prominence that it currently enjoys and will help fuel its continued ascent in the southern California music scene. And while patrons are certain to get more than their money’s worth when spending their afternoon at Wavehouse, artists performing there are equally likely to get a lot of bang for their buck.
“Every local DJ wants to be able to play or say they have played Sundaze at Wavehouse,” observed Ziadeh. “And the venue has helped me grow tremendously by putting me in front of thousands of people who may not have heard of me prior to my playing there. It’s awesome”.
The Sundaze concert series runs through Labor Day weekend and has new performances being announced all the time—this upcoming Sundaze show features San Diego-based DJ’s Scooter & Lavelle. More information and tickets can be obtained by visiting:
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