top of page

What is a San Diego Style Festival?

A recent Sunday afternoon in San Diego, I was sitting down enjoying a sunset and watching the planes take off over the water. A couple minutes go by and another 747 roars on in, booming over the city as they rise. It’s the weekend and summer is here. The fish were jumping and the tourist season was thriving.

Getting down to the beach becomes an entirely different scene. People in pastel colored shirts and beige shorts hit the sand. They look like sherpas as they carry and drag all possible beach equipment. They got coolers with wheels, pop-up tents and tables, plastic shovels, sunhats, and beach toys of all kinds. These groups are hunkering down for the day.

Thinking about the blend of our beach town, tourist sensations, and striving city living, thoughts were brewing. Perhaps even craft brewing...

What is a San Diego style festival? With only a month until the annual SaltDog Classic beach festival, I started to realize all the ways our crew of volunteers, non-profit organizations, and musicians have created an event that embodies our time here in southern California, aka SoCal, aka almost Mexico. The momentum behind this emerging grassroots festival has become something larger than the sum of its parts.

At Da Beach

Close your eyes and holistically contemplate the word San Diego. What are the first images you see?

Is it a quote from Ron Burgundy? Or a craft beer being poured by a bearded man? Right away for me it’s beach sand, ocean waves, and arching sea bluffs. I think of the seagulls and the sand pipers, the surfers and the sunsets. San Diego wasn’t voted as #1 U.S. Travel destination in 2016 for her skyscrapers ( It was for the amazing weather, the beaches, and the craft brew scene. A San Diego style festival has to be by the beach, and this year at the SaltDog we have been fortunate to book the Seaside State Beach to call our home for the day.

Serving Craft Brew

Now think of an image of the nightlife. Are you eating at a restaurant in North Park or Hillcrest? Are you barhopping Encinitas but now stuck in a line outside The Saloon, overdressed but down to impress?

In all these circumstances, there is one thing that they all have in common. Craft brew is on tap. For north county San Diego, we see over 3,900 jobs created out of the craft brew industry. As of August 31, 2017, there were 150 San Diego Brewers Guild members. ( No doubt at every respected establishment here in SD we find the craft brews of local legends and rising talents in the brew world. You will see the big names (Stone, Ballast Point), the rising stars (Pizza Port, Culture Brewing) and the underground protégés (Killowatt, Growler Hour).

Local Legendary Bands

San Diego has a music scene, be it more low key compared to places like New York City or Los Angeles. This can incidentally render many an unsung artist completely unseen for most of the nation. That doesn’t mean we can’t seem them though folks. Our local music is thriving in areas of Afrobeat, Psychedelic Rock, and sunny time Blues. Ok, that last one I made up, but local live music is a must for a festival on the water.

At SaltDog Classic, local legends will be performing such as the funkiest of afro soul bands down here, Surefire Soul Ensemble. Lead by the talented Tim Felton and a crew of amazing horns, percussions, and soul men. In this same fiery vein of funkadelic is the band Mestizo Beat, preceded by some rocking folk medleys by ChugBoat.

Giving Back

Our event was designed with the intent to raise money for local non-profits, state parks, and rising artistic talent. As a festival, it has been able to do this wall while bringing the community together for a truly great day of music, art, and dancing.

Without the non-profits, who would fight for just causes?

Without the State Park, who would protect our beaches from being polluted?

Without local artists, who would show us beauty through a different lens?

This year the team went deeper into the dog theme and we will proudly be supporting Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) for 2018. They have proven over 50 years of service to our community through pet rescue, companion animal education, and ultimately making happy households pairing pets and families together.

What else is iconic San Diego?

With September 22nd around the corner, there is a still time for last minute ideas to get thrown into the mix. If you have thoughts about what would make a true San Diego style festival, drop me a note and we will see if we can make it happen for the SaltDog Classic

Your Friend,

Elan Saltman

About SaltDog Classic

Founded by a handful of coastal Californians, this is a grass roots festival thrown San Diego style. The event features live bands, local vendors, talented artists, and a full on Tiki Bar rocking. All held right here at Seaside State Beach. Designed with the intent to raise money for local non-profits, state parks, and rising artistic talent, SaltDog Classic brings the community together for a truly great day of festivities. Check them out at

About Rancho Coastal Humane Society

Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) began its journey in 1960, and was founded by a group of hardworking volunteers. Led by animal lover Maria K. Lloyd, their mission was to care for the homeless animal population of San Diego County and to educate the public about pet over-population and responsible companion animal care. To this day, their mission holds true. SaltDog Classic is proud to support them as our dedicated beneficiary. Contributions from the silent auction, all direct donations, and any profits from the event go towards their cause.

Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page