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Shabang was a blast

Shabang festival weekend review
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Shabang Live Music & Arts Festival Logo. Photo by Shabang

San Luis Obispo’s exclusive music festival, Shabang, returned for its eighth year – and it did not disappoint.

The two-day festival was held at Laguna Lake Park May 13 and 14. The festival returned to the park after a two-year hiatus caused by the pandemic. 

This year’s lineup consisted of over 30 musical acts, various experiential installations and immersive experiences.

This festival was the biggest yet, and was expertly managed. From the friendly staff to the swift entry process, organizers ensured a great experience for all attendees. 

Upon entering the park I was greeted by volunteers who kindly checked my ticket and directed me to the parking lot. From there I was met with the helpful parking staff who led me to a designated spot. The lot was organized in a way that no car would be too far from the entry gates. 

The line to get in was well organized and had multiple entry points manned by staff to make getting checked in faster. Each entry point had a staff member to check tickets, and one to check bags.

To further ensure the safety of all attendees, there was plenty of event security present. I tend to be a bit apprehensive about large events like these given the recent gun violence plaguing our country, but with the amount of security around and the use of metal detectors, I felt very secure. 

Shabang had something to offer everyone throughout the festival. Local food vendors catered the event, bringing tasty treats to compliment the variety of craft beverages. Attendees also enjoyed an array of experiences such as live painting, guided yoga and meditation workshops, and a silent disco. 

Shabang also hosted a variety of local makers at their marketplace. Many small businesses set up shops at Shabang and sold everything from clothes to handmade art. One local artist describes her inspiration behind her resin trinkets.

“I like making things that bring people joy,” said Mariah Kate of Mariah Kate Art. “It’s hard to be sad with all this color and glitter.”

The festival also hosted an array of awesome musical performances. Shabang was a great opportunity for me to enjoy bands I already love, and pick up some new favorites – like the Bashdogs.

The four-man Southern California band has been making music for the past 10 years. They shared their excitement about playing their first festival in SLO.

“Being in a band, we get all these cool opportunities,” said Bashdogs member Schmoky. “It’s very special.”

They attribute their success to their love of music, and their friendship between them. Their goal is to spread love through music, most notably through an event they host called Soul Kitchen.

“It carries the spirit of the 60s and 70s,” says frontman Nate Barrett. “I think that’s something we all care about a lot – getting together listening to music and having a good time.”

They performed to an eager crowd at the Cuesta Ridge Stage on Saturday. Their loud sound and high-energy performance made for an unforgettable set.

The Bashdogs played some of their biggest hits including “Who’s Your Daddy?” and “Disco Cowboy,” which got the crowd jumping along with them. 

The Bashdog’s performing at Shabang 2022. Photo by Mackenzie Johnson

The star-studded list of acts made for great entertainment, and resulted in packed crowds at each of Shabang’s three stages. 

The must-see performance of the weekend was Friday night’s set by TV Girl. The internationally acclaimed group performed hits from their most popular albums “French Exit” and “Who Really Cares.” 

Their indie sound and moody love songs were beautifully paired with the glow of pinks, blues, and red stage lighting. With the recent resurgence in popularity due to TikTok, TV Girl played for a packed crowd of festival-goers.

Many of the students in attendance shared positive sentiments about the festival.

“If I had to rate it 1 out of 10, I’d give it a 10,” said George Coats, a sophomore student at Cuesta College. “I’m excited to see what next year is gonna be like.” 

Overall, I think that Shabang 2022 was an amazing experience throughout the weekend, and I am looking forward to seeing what 2023 has in store.

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