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New wave nostalgia hits the beach for Darker Waves

The inaugural Darker Waves Fest brought a heavy dose of nostalgia to the West coast this past weekend. With a sold-out crowd and a sunny day, the jam-packed event was an overwhelming success.

Short sets and rotating stages allowed for a mostly on-time schedule. Although a few conflicts surely must have led to some difficult decisions (B-52's or The Human League? Soft Cell or She Wants Revenge?), it was impossible to be disappointed with the offered selection. Ample food and beverage options, a large shaded area, and an arcade section ensured attendees were well taken care of and entertained.

Urban Heat

Kicking off the day was Austin-based Urban Heat. Playing the first slot at a one-day festival can be a tough gig, but the crowd quickly grew, and it was clear they realized they were witnessing something special as the group's energy and stage presence was unmatched. Urban Heat's latest single "Like This" is a master stroke, their smooth synth melodies reminiscient of new wave giants they were sharing a lineup with. Between a headlining tour in November/December and a forthcoming sophomore album, they've been busy as ever.

Other highlights included a charismatic set by Devo. Their set proved to be a multi-sensory experience with towering stage visuals on the screen behind them. New Order closed out the "Waves" stage on one end of the beach, ripping through all of their greatest hits with ease to an elated crowd. Tears for Fears closed out the nostalgia-filled night on the "Darker" stage. As the duo played through their discography, it became evident that their music has not only stood the test of time but has evolved into a timeless soundtrack for multiple generations.

Not to go unmentioned, the fashion among attendees of all ages encompassed what people love most about music - the freedom of creativity, noncomformity, and self-expression. As Huntington Beach was filled with combat boots and other new wave/goth style staples, surely the area had never seen a cooler crowd than the Darker Waves pack.

Darker Waves attendees

Fans of all ages - along with a staggering number of Devo hats - filled the coastline and lead the first rendition of Darker Waves Fest to serve as a testement to the lasting impact of new wave on the current music lansdscape.

Check out the full gallery below:

Photos by Keira Lindgren

1 Comment

Emily Jameson
Emily Jameson
Nov 25, 2023

YOOOOO I see me!!!! Thank u thank u for the sick photo

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