Relaxed crowd takes in 1st night of North County music festival


OCEANSIDE, Calif. – Switch Fest is off and running in Oceanside.

Nita Gill of the group BLV3D performs on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 at Switch Fest: 2021, a three-day music festival held in Oceanside, Calif.

The three-day music festival hosted by The Switchboard Restaurant and The FIN Hotel kicked off Friday night with an outdoor showcase of North County musicians. Appearing relaxed and appreciative, it was a welcome change of scenery for many in attendance — and the musicians themselves — after nearly a year of pandemic restrictions.

“It’s a lot, really,” the event’s promoter and musician Shane Hall said. “We’re used to being in our living rooms, trying to stream shows and looking at my phone all the time. So, it’s like, ‘Oh man. There’s people and what are they going to think?'”

Starting the weekend with the theme of Electro-Fi, Friday’s crowd was treated to the sounds of artists Emily Afton, Heather Nation, BLV3D and Red Giant Project.

Nation, a performer who last year released an EP called “Condition,” recorded during the pandemic, says she’s grateful to be home on stage again.

“Everyone seems so respectful tonight,” Nation said. “Nobody is speaking over each other; nobody is getting into each other’s faces because they’re too excited. Everyone understands the reality of it.”

Musicians who largely have not performed in public for the past 11 months were quick to shake off the jitters for a night of fun.

Heather Nation performs on Friday, Feb. 19, 2021 at Switch Fest: 2021, a three-day music festival held in Oceanside, Calif.

“When music comes back fully, people are gonna appreciate it so much and be dancing and paying extra for tickets, which is great for the musicians,” Afton said.

Tickets for the event are $28 for a general admission pass and up to $250 for a VIP six-person table.

Additionally, $10 tickets will be sold at the door between noon and 5 p.m. on the day of the show.

Here’s the schedule of events for the weekend:

Saturday, Feb. 20: Rock N’ Soul

  • Noon: Whit
  • 1 p.m.: HLLNDR
  • 2 p.m.: Francis Blume
  • 3 p.m.: Ellis Bryant
  • 4 p.m.: Kimmi Bittner
  • 5 p.m.: Roger Molina
  • 6 p.m.: HLLDNR
  • 7 p.m.: Kimmi Bittner
  • 8 p.m.: Shane Hall Band

Sunday, Feb. 21: Acoustic Vibes

  • Noon: Tre Amici
  • 1 p.m.: Jess Wright
  • 2 p.m.: Curran Kiel
  • 3 p.m.: Charlie Mudd
  • 4 p.m.: Tralain
  • 6 p.m.: Francis Blume
  • 7 p.m.: Whitney Shay
  • 8 p.m.: Shane Hall Band

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