Shabang Music Festival returns to SLO’s Laguna Lake Park


A crowd of spectators surfs in Shabang. The music festival returns in May to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo.

After a two-year hiatus, the Shabang Live Music and Arts Festival will return to San Luis Obispo this spring.

According to a press release Thursday, the annual music festival, which was suspended in 2020 due to the pandemic, is scheduled to take place May 13-14 at Laguna Lake Park.

This year’s festival – which the statement said will be “bigger than ever” – will feature four stages, more than 50 musical acts, a silent disco (where people wearing headphones listen to the same music), a funk safari, art exhibits, movement classes, non-musical performers, local food and more.

It will also be the first time in the festival’s eight-year history that the event will take place over two days, according to the statement.

Shabang guitarist
A guitarist performs in Shabang. The local music festival returns to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo in May 2021. Courtesy Photo

“Shabang still embodies what it stood for in the beginning: the pure bliss of live music, art and the beautiful scenery of the Central Coast,” co-founder Greg Golf said in the statement. “Now we’ve just kicked it up a few hundred notches to create the most electrifying music festival experience the Central Coast has ever seen.”

Golf previously said he and several friends founded the music festival in 2014 while studying at Cal Poly.

“We decided we should have one last shebang to end the year,” Golf told The Tribune in a 2017 article.

This “last shebang” has grown from a mini-concert with between 30 and 40 people in attendance to a biannual music festival with more than 3,000 attendees.

In March 2020, organizers canceled the Shabang festival which was scheduled for May amid the growing coronavirus pandemic; organizers said they plan to return in 2021.

But as of spring 2021, it was still “too early for a safe festival, according to San Luis Obispo County, the health department and our grassroots team,” organizers said in a statement on Instagram.

“However, we see light at the end of the tunnel and are currently using this time to reinvent and redefine what is possible at Shabang Music Festival,” they wrote.

Organizers did not announce the lineup for this year’s festival on Thursday.

Early bird tickets will be available at starting Jan. 25 and will cost $40 for Friday, $60 for Saturday, and $100 for a two-day pass.

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Kaytlyn Leslie writes about business and development for the San Luis Obispo Tribune. Hailing from Nipomo, she also covers city governments and events in the South County area, including Arroyo Grande, Pismo Beach and Grover Beach. She joined The Tribune in 2013 after earning her journalism degree at Cal Poly.

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