On Saturday Campland hosted Ocean Commotion. It is an all day, family-friendly fundraiser for San Diego Coastkeeper. It is camping, dodgeball, horseshoes, sunshine, live music, fundraising, more live music and beer. Lots of beer.
So there is this campground on Mission Bay. It’s called Campland on the Bay (COTB). It’s tents, rv park, a game room, cafe, beach and marina. It’s a community of casual camp vacationers sleeping in the backs of Volkswagon Westies & serious RV folk in pimped out rides, with rolled out grass carpets, patios & satellite dishes. This year COTB chose San Diego Coastkeeper as the charity it would support with events and donations from campers. As a business on the bay they are uniquely aware of not only their impact on waterways but also the benefits of having a clean water playground.
A ticket to Ocean Commotion got you access to the campground for the entire day. Kickball games started at 11am, followed by horseshoe competitions and a dodgeball. Being less motivated I found myself a spot on the grass near the marina and took a nap. Already worth the price of admission. Just before 4pm Wag Halen started soundcheck on the stage. The stage overlooks a grassy area, the beach and the bay. The sound was way more impressive than I expected for a campground. It is a legit music venue. The music started bringing campers and fest goers over to the grassy area. There was a little speech about why keeping our water clean is important, and then Wag Halen literally rocked out. If you hadn’t figured it out, Wag Halen is a Van Halen infused band. They cover songs & perform originals like, “Encinitas Mom’s are Hot.” Which they played after assuring us they think all the moms in San Diego County are pretty hot. Wag Halen is awesome. And if I were 2000% cooler, and less concerned about how I look in spandex I would try and join the band as a roadie.
Both Coronado & Ninkasi breweries had set up beer tents by this point so I made sure to stop by and get some rehydration fuel. They donated their time & beer to the event so all the proceeds of the $4 pints went to SD Coastkeeper. Badass. But since we were in a campground there were also plenty of people lounging on the grass with sixer’s of whatever beer they had brought with them. After Wag Halen, local band Ocelot rocked out with some classic rock jam band originals. Ben & Jerry’s showed up with an ice cream truck, and somewhere bingo was being played. Then as the sun was setting behind the palm trees Jah-N-1 & Mono Verde dropped some reggae on the growing audience. It was relaxed an idyllic. It left me in a zenned, slightly buzzed state of good vibes that also left me seriously unprepared for the vocal explosion about to be dropped on my ears like a ton of bricks in the form of Lee Koch.
I had met Lee earlier in the day when we were both getting beers. He seemed like a good dude. Very chilled out with a giant ginger afro, rocking a t-shirt, flip flops and a young looking face. He looked like a handsome version of a real-life Ronald McDonald. Soft spoken. When he took the stage, now clad in a green cowboy button down and no shoes he was a different person. Playing guitar and harmonica, and singing as if the heavens and hells of all the worlds had sent their rowdiest folk singers to compete in the form of Mr. Koch. Joining him on-stage were headliners, the Barnwell Shift, who were no slouches either ending the show with folk funk rock and a crowd of dancers. They’ve also been supporting this event since it’s inception, now in it’s fourth year. The show ended by raffling of
When it was all said and done, darkness had fallen. The crowd slowly started to disperse. Some off to cars along the roadside, but most off towards the warm light of a nearby campfire to continue cheers-ing beverages and have the types of leisurely conversations that always seem to happen around a campfire.
In the past Ocean Commotion was held as a contained show at the Belly Up in Solana Beach. San Diego Coastkeeper representatives seemed pretty enthusiastic about the new event format and venue. Nothing against the Belly Up (great venue), but there was something about being able to see the water & coastline they are trying to raise money to protect that resonated more than being inside at a show. Unofficially, this years Ocean Commotion raised nearly twice what they had done in the past.
The morning after there was an SD Coastkeeper organized beach clean-up on the shores of Campland by the bay. There was donuts, and a rumor of coffee. Despite a nagging suspicion that I was working into a hangover I made myself get out of bed to join. It wouldn’t have felt right to enjoy the party and not give a little back too. Coastkeeper organizes beach clean-ups bimonthly around San Diego County. You spend a part of your morning leisurely walking around the beach picking up trash, mostly cigarette butts, with these sticks with claws at the end. Yes, it is picking up garbage, but it is also at the beach so it is a win. And it made me feel good even though everything I had done the night before was making me feel a little less than. Last year the beach clean-ups combined to pick up more than 10,000 pounds of trash which is insane. The next clean-ups are Saturday April 25th, and meet at Crown Point Shores and Ocean Beach Pier. Surfrider will be co-hosting both locations.
I gotta say SD Coastkeeper threw a hell of a fundraiser. I’m thinking maybe this should be biannual instead of annual. More beach, camping, rock n’ roll and feeling good about it all by supporting something good. What do you say?