Photo Credit: Stevo Rood

With a nearly two-hour finale on Sunday night, after three days of mechanical bulls and boots on the beach, Brandi Carlile closed out the inaugural BeachLife Ranch Festival in the Seaside Lagoon of Redondo Beach, Calif. Debuted in 2019, the BeachLife series’ fourth installment of the weekend fest was the first to feature country and Americana artists almost exclusively, save for the curious yet much-appreciated headlining appearance Friday night by Philly soul icons Hall and Oates.  Otherwise, the Ranch offered an array of memorable performances celebrating its theme, including notable sets from The Lumineers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Dierks Bentley, Ashley McBryde, Greensky Bluegrass, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, and the impressive Sunday finish with Wilco and Carlile.

Bentley’s well-received Saturday headlining spot at the Hither stage followed his sit-in with the Stringdusters earlier on the Yonder stage, telling the audience of several thousand that any first-timers witnessing the ‘Dusters was like having one’s first football game “be the Super Bowl.”  Too, on Sunday, more string band collaboration as Greensky Bluegrass welcomed The War and Treaty for an impassioned take of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” Yet, the ultimate round-up fell on Saturday’s undercard, with Shooter Jennings, backed by Mike and the Moonpies, hosting a cavalcade of friends and guests for a tribute to the songs of his father, Waylon Jennings. One after another, buddies such as Nelson, Jessie Colter, Orville Peck, Devon Allman, Pearl and more took their turns at the mic paying homage to the country music legend.

Conspicuous throughout the three days was the appreciation most artists expressed for the fest and its beachside locale, with Carlile the last to note how special it was to be back on the West Coast. With BeachLife returning to form in the spring of 2023, it remains to be seen if BeachLife Ranch will enjoy annual status, as well. Regardless, this first edition proved to be, as promised, an eclectic and widely entertaining SoCal gathering of some of the finest country and Americana talent.