Columns Food & Wine Lick the Plate

Lick the Plate: Music, surfing and food on the beach at Switchfoot Bro-Am

Over the past 15 years, I’ve always made it a point to ride my bike down to this annual event and soak it in from a distance, without really knowing the importance of the event and the history behind the band Switchfoot, which is the driving force behind it.

That changed recently as I had the chance to interview band members Chad Butler and Tim Foreman for Lick the Plate on 100.7 San Diego where they shared their stories of growing up in coastal North County.

It was a treat finding out their favorite places to eat in the area and the music that shaped them as young musicians. Chad and Tim still live in the area and we also talked about some of their favorite new restaurants and the rapidly changing restaurant scene underway.

And in the small world category, we also discovered that several of the band members’ homes and their studio are powered by local solar company Stellar Solar, who also sponsors Lick the Plate in San Diego. They also shared how this amazing festival came to be in 2005.

Chad Butler and Tim Foreman in-studio recording Lick the Plate. Photo by David Boylan

After their early success with the band that included traveling the world and a Grammy award, Switchfoot dreamed up the Bro-Am Beach Fest as a way to give back to their hometown that supported them as surfers and musicians and to rally their great community and invest in local kids that need a hand up.

Now in its 15th year, the free, all ages, family-friendly event brings together 17,000-plus attendees from all over the world to enjoy a whole day of surf contests, a free concert on the beach, brand activations, vendor booths, and a nice lineup of food offerings.

This year Bro-Am beneficiaries include A Step Beyond, Challenged Athletes Foundation, Feeding San Diego, Rob Machado Foundation, Stand Up For Kids Oceanside and VH1 Save The Music.

And of course with the evolution of the local culinary scene, the food offerings at Bro-Am have grown extensively over the years to reflect that. Feeding San Diego (one of their six nonprofit beneficiaries this year) is working with waste management partner Solana Center to rescue leftover food from all event vendors, attendees, VIP spaces, etc. to give it back to those in need in San Diego County.

Some of those vendors include Baltimore Snowball, Better Buzz Coffee, Chameleon Cold Brew, Chik Fil-A, Flowater providing unlimited filtered water offered on site by Rob Machado Foundation and San Diego Country Water Authority to help push their “no single use plastic” green initiative. They promote BYO bottle or buying one of their BBro-Am and Rob Machado Foundation co-branded reusable bottles on site.

Goodonya is also there along with Harmless Harvest Coconut, JBox, Sambazon, Senor Grubby’s, Stay Cheesy, Suja Juice, and Wahoos, which will be catering food in the VIP area.

And speaking of solar power, the Bro-Am stage and sound system will be 100% solar-powered to deliver a pollution-free concert avoiding 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions. The Bro-Am Green Team volunteer squad will be educating attendees on recycling, composting, and diverting waste from the landfill with The Solana Center and The City of Encinitas.

I’m quite certain there is no other music festival that combines a location like Moonlight Beach, gives back so much to the community, is so conscious of its environmental impact, involves a surf contest and has killer music from a Grammy-winning band that still packs them in on their world wide tours. Not to mention the other musical acts and a very special “surprise guest” musical act that had not been announced as of yet.

Some really big name acts that joined in this festival so check the Bro-Am website the day before the festival to see who it is this year. And let’s not forget the food and the fact that this will be a gathering of 17,000-plus folks from around the world gathered at Moonlight Beach for this very special event.

So if you were like me and somewhat on the fringes of this event in the past, make it a plan to stop by this Saturday, June 29, and soak it all in. All the details can be found at www.broam.org.

Feature photo: Switchfoot on stage at a recent Bro-Am Beach Fest. Photo courtesy Bro-Am

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