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The Crowds Enjoyed Great Music, Chill Vibes and Some Sunshine While Soaking in the Glory of the Past

Written By: Avra Kouffman
Photographed By: Eric Chan Like Totally ’80s Festival

Fingerless gloves, big hair bows and neon on parade! That sums up the fashion at Huntington Beach’s Like Totally ‘80s Festival. Crazy costumes, bitchin’ bands and sunny skies made for a totally tubular time.

Held outdoors by the beach, the event sported food trucks and vendors with memorabilia. Bowie DVD’s and goth band CD’s were on sale. The stage was dotted with Pac-Man and Aqua Net decor. The audience showed up in their best ‘80s gear. Men strolled around in Billy Idol and Morrissey t-shirts, and one donned a “killer” mullet wig. A bevy of ladies flaunted hoop earrings and ‘Madonna-in-her-heyday’ outfits. One in particular, Andi, told me, “It took me an hour to crimp my hair.” She and her boyfriend, Kevin, go to as many ‘80s events as possible. Girls just want to have fun!  

From noon until after sunset, the music kept coming. The bands in attendance were The Untouchables, Corey Feldman’s Angels, Animotion, Clive Farrington and Andrew Mann of When in Rome, Missing Persons, Men Without Hats, A Flock of Seagulls and the headliner, BERLIN. An ‘80s cover group, the Reflexx, showcased Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow, Debora Iyall of Romeo Void and Nick Richards of Boys Don’t Cry. Omar Rajpute, a tribute artist, performed as Michael Jackson and Prince.  

Festival host and DJ Richard Blade played ‘80s hits between the live performances. It was amazing to hear how good Duran Duran, The Smiths and Violent Femmes sounded blasting across the beach. The audience really went into overdrive when House of Pain’s “Jump Around” came on, though technically, it’s from ‘92. For the biggest reaction, honors went to Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It!” Everywhere you turned, women were singing, “Ooh baby baby” and shaking their bangle bracelets.

“The ‘80s were such a fun, colorful time and the music was so upbeat,” Blade said. Combine that with sun and glittering sea; no wonder everyone was stoked. “Huntington Beach is a little piece of paradise!” Blade confirmed. “It’s not just good for the ‘80s Festival, it’s good for surf contests, for biking—it’s good for everything!”

“Huntington Beach is one of the first places I started playing,” said Untouchables singer, Jerry Miller, who has been with his ska band since 1981. “I have a lot of friends who live down in Orange County…Huntington Beach, Costa Mesa. There’s nice people here!”

Kindness was the touchstone of the day. The mid-‘80s movie The Breakfast Club came to mind. Five high school students are called “a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal.” Most of the crowd at the festival were teens in the ‘80s. There had to be former nerds, jocks, cheerleaders and stoners hiding underneath their mature exteriors. Back in the day, those divisions would have caused some fights or at least arguments. But now, everyone was having fun together as one. Big, burly truckers were smiling at “Safety Dance” and bearded bros were rocking out to “Don’t You Want Me” Everyone was bent on having a good time. The singers picked up on the mood. “It’s been a long ways, hey,” Debora Iyall told the crowd. “We’re all still here!”  

Missing Persons frontwoman Dale Bozzio said it best. “It’s an honor to be here today with all you lovely people,” she announced. “You ladies in pink, you look fabulous. Everything I see today is severely happy. God bless you!”  

Like Totally ’80s Festival
Huntington State Beach
21899 Pacific Coast Hwy
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
A Tubular Crowd Rocked Out to Classics at The Like Totally ’80s Festival in Huntington Beach

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