Blended Festival Brings San Diego Back to Life

This past weekend, Blended Festival took place for the first time in the beautiful downtown San Diego. Just like its moniker, the festival is a perfect blend of styles ranging from electronic music to country. Despite attending solely EDM-based festivals and raves, this event was surprisingly refreshing as a day-to-night festival that appealed to everyone at different levels. Previously called Blended Wine Festival, the event featured a combination of wine tasting, gourmet food, and music that united an eclectic group of people through a common interest: music and having a great time!

Originally set to debut in San Diego for the first time in 2020, the festival (like all the others) was postponed until this year. With another year to prepare, the festival came back with three locations: Nashville, Austin, and San Diego. At the same time, the festival removed the “wine” from the title and focused on curating a solid music lineup that brought top artists from country, pop, EDM, and hip-hop genres.

Helmed by John Bazzo of My Wine Society, the festival featured a 100-foot wine tent that showcased wines from dozens of vendors including several local wineries located in nearby Temecula. Each vendor offered a variety of tasting options with each cup of wine purchased. It is rare to see wine served at most festivals, making this a unique activity between sets or for taking a break to sip champagne before heading into the night.

Upon entering the festival, guests walk into a beautiful grass park with clear views of the harbor to the left. To the right, a variety of unique vendors have booths including a wellness tent offering replenishing IVs and B-12 shots, a massage bar, a silent disco, a lounge, and several bars with a wide-range of cocktails and craft beers. Heading further into the festival, guests can relax under cozy teepee tents, sway to the music in giant swing chairs, chill on the teeter-totter, or make new friends at the boho-style picnic tables while enjoying lobster tail or gourmet pasta from the food trucks.

Last, but not least, there was the music! Blended Festival curated a stellar lineup that appealed to everyone in some way…even for those that are partial to a specific genre. It somehow just worked and flowed in an unexpected way. Perhaps it was the lockdowns and people were just happy to be out, or perhaps it was the festival itself.

Nonetheless, guests gathered at Main Stage throughout the day and night to listen to the soulful pop of Shaylen, the classic hip-hop of Nelly, and the high-energy dance tracks of Deorro. The most surprising performance was by the catchy up-and-coming country/hip-hop fusion artist Blanco Brown. The most beloved by the crowd was Nelly, because after all these years the man can still sing as if it was still 2002. More expected than surprising, The Chainsmokers stuck with their sing-along album hits this round rather than the harder sets witnessed at electronic music festivals (which, to be honest, was preferred).

As a new festival that arose during a pandemic, the execution of Blended Festival was rather flawless. Most surprisingly overall, it was amazing to see such a diverse crowd enjoy all the music that played over the course of the two-day event. Regardless of age or music preference, it seemed that everyone was able to vibe to the EDM and an hour later sing out the lyrics to “Country Grammar.” It was refreshing to meet people in line while bonding over a sports team or a wine choice, seeing outfits that ranged from classic rave attire to cowgirl boots, and finding a new artist to enjoy. In a time where the world seems divided, it was beautiful to see everyone come together and enjoy the experience. The world can definitely use more of that!


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