This past weekend, a couple thousand outdoor-loving Southern Californians gathered for the second year of Same Same But Different Festival (SSBD). Taking place in Perris Beach, just a couple of hours east from Los Angeles and San Diego, this small and quickly-growing festival features up-and-coming artists as well as established musicians. Overall, most artists hail from the West Coast though, giving the event a homey and homecoming feel, which sets it apart from other festivals.
For such a small music and arts festival, it somehow still feels like there are endless things to do at SSBD. In addition to the music, SSBD hosted a myriad of local artists of all mediums, including live painters, ceramics, and more with a full lineup of workshops that included classes like “Mindful Eating,” “The Human Story,” “Abundance Activation,” and “Sunset Yoga”. Best of all, the festival took place right on the sandy beach next to the beautiful Lake Perris, so you could lay out and tan if you felt so inclined, or take an inflatable toy to the water and make a splash with other festival goers. The community-driven spirit around this event is one to be reckoned with.
Still, this festival is here for the music first and foremost, and the impressively eclectic and talented bands and DJs SSBD curates aren’t the ones you’re exhausted of seeing at every other summer music fest. This was immediately made clear by how varied the two headliners this year were: Friday night, Baauer was the main act, and he brought the energy for his entire 90-minute set. The “Harlem Shake” DJ threw in crowd favorites like “One Touch,” which features Rae Sremmurd and Aluna George, and he closed the night with his own remix to “Sicko Mode.”
Prior to Baauer’s set were two separate San Diego-based bands, Fashion Jackson and Elektric Voodoo. Fashion Jackson, a returning band from last year, played their signature unapologetic surf punk rock jams. Before leaving the crowd wanting more, they closed with their rowdiest song, “Gossamer.” But what was so beautiful about this festival is that the musicians wanted to enjoy SSBD just as much as the attendees, so it was easy to make friends with the performers after their sets, especially those in Fashion Jackson, who spent plenty of time floating on the lake.
Elektric Voodoo brought their signature tropical jam band sound as the sun began setting. Equipped with two saxophone players and a myriad of different percussion instruments, maracas, and tambourines, the group did a great job of mixing up the vibes while also getting everyone ready to dance for Baauer.
Saturday, the second and final day of the festival, saw equally memorable and varied musical acts. Another group hailing from sunny San Diego, The Moves Collective kicked off the afternoon with a set that can be best described as psychedelic bluegrass. Most notable was the fact that their horns player was continuously playing TWO saxophones at once. It was one of the most impressive things I have seen onstage in a while.
Later on, CAPYAC, another act from last year’s lineup, played arguably the best set of the festival. Intertwined between their easy-to-dance-to funk songs, the eccentric duo acted out the roles of aliens that had just landed on Earth. Somewhere in this nonsensical story, they managed to sing an ad-libbed song which entailed them selling a loaf of bread on stage, and ultimately trading their loaf of bread for a banana an audience member was dancing with. It was bizarre, but hilarious, and it really brought the crowd together!
Beats Antique headlined Saturday night. David Satori, who is also a member of Dirtwire, a band that played Same Same’s inagural year, showed off his musical prowess by changing instruments nearly every song. And to complement the group’s Middle Eastern flavor, there were incredibly talented belly dancers on stage, which made the set both a visual and musical experience.
On both nights at 2AM, everyone headed to the Coconut Club, a small sandy dance floor that played house music until sunrise. It was the perfect way to wind down the night with new friends from the day.
SSBD is a true hidden gem of the California music scene. The people are there for a good time, the venue is beautiful, and the music will keep you dancing for hours. It’s more affordable than other festivals, and it’s only two days if you are looking for something a little more low-key than some of the 3-5 day fests. Stay tuned for the announcement of SSBD III! We’re really hoping we can return for another year!
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.