When Sammy Hagar was approached to play the after party at the Pacific Airshow in Huntington City Beach, he was all-in.
The US Navy Blue Angels, Canadian Forces Snowbirds, US Air Force, Army and Marine Corps teams will be the high-flying stars of the day as they perform stunts and Breathtaking jumps in the sky just over the Pacific Ocean from October 1-3. but Sammy Hagar and The Circle are excited to keep the party going for the two-day Afterburner Music Festival, October 1-2.
“These jets are flying upside down and side to side at 400 miles an hour and there’s the noise and that rush watching them do all of these crazy things,” Hagar said in a recent phone interview. “Then can we play some music after that?” Come on, this is the best warm-up in the world.
The Afterburner Music Festival will take place immediately after the Pacific Airshow in a fenced area on the sand. Hagar & The Circle, starring Jason Bonham, Michael Anthony and Vic Johnson, will headlining Friday night with jam band Umphrey’s McGee and cover band 90’s Rockshow. On Saturday, country star Sam Hunt will perform alongside rock band X Ambassadors and country and pop singer Cassadee Pope. DJ Mark Moreno will also perform on both evenings. There will also be special nightly air jump routines by Red Bull Air Force between acts during the music festival.
Hagar, a longtime Orange County resident, loves and appreciates the area, having hosted his own High Tide Party in Huntington State Beach in 2018. He also has a close connection to The Blue Angels, who has appeared in Van Halen’s Hagar- era 1986 “Dreams” music video. Although he has attended air shows across the United States and is impressed with what these pilots can do, Hagar said he has declined many offers to take a tour or join a team in jumping from a plane.
“I’m the biggest chicken in the world,” he laughed. “I’m afraid of the dark. I do not jump from any plane. “Hey, Sammy, do you want to take a walk?” ” No I do not. They also have these new jets, which are even faster and can do crazier things. Honestly to God, I don’t want to get upside down at a hundred miles an hour and 50 feet off the ground. I don’t see any reason for me to do this.
Afterburner also kicks off Hagar’s birthday month. The singer, who turns 74 on October 13, usually hosts his Sammy Hagar birthday party with fans at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas. However, due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in this region, he is moving the event to Avalon on Catalina Island, which he says has a similar good times vibe.
Last year’s concert was filmed live from the island for a pay-per-view event, but diehard fans were able to stop on boats and drop anchor just offshore to hear the band stand. produce. He almost postponed the recording as it came just two days after his former bandmate and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen died of cancer on October 6, 2020.
“There was this dark cloud on the first night of rehearsal,” Hagar recalls. “But the next day, Mike [Anthony, former bassist for Van Halen] and I just looked at myself and I said, ‘We have a job here to continue this music.’ We said, ‘Let’s do it and do it right.’ So when we finally did the show, it was awesome. There were maybe 500 people in all on all the boats and they were partying and blowing the horns. It was very fun.”
This year’s in-person birthday party will take place October 7-9 in the Catalina Casino Ballroom. To attend the festivities, fans must show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination and masks must be worn indoors, unless eating or drinking. (Afterburner Music Festival does not have these requirements.)
“I am afraid I am not spreading the virus,” Hagar said, adding that he was more confident in the safety of these events as they are taking place outside, one being on a beach and the other under a pavilion which has three walls that slide out to create an indoor / outdoor space with plenty of room for social distancing.
During the pandemic, Hagar spent much of his time at home, tending to his garden and exchanging recipes for drinks and appetizers with his pal and fellow restaurateur Guy Fieri. After a year and a half away he said it was amazing to be back as the band has already performed a few shows across the country which he says have been some of the best of his life.
“I feel like I’m in The Beatles, man,” he said. “Every time I go on stage people are so into it and I can’t believe it. It’s so inspiring and it almost feels like when we started doing that… This feeling where you realized that people were in it and you started getting fans and getting famous. People sang at these shows, like every fucking word, all night long. I almost feel like just a pom-pom girl, I could have one of those sticks like a conductor and let the audience do whatever they want.
Hagar & The Circle kept their musical talents sharp during the pandemic by virtually sharing a cover video series called “Lockdown 2020” which featured “Three Little Birds” by Bob Marley & The Wailers, “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield and The Who’s “won’t be fooled anymore.” Since the COVID-19 lockdown lasted much longer than expected, Hagar said the band quickly realized they had an entire album of covers. They released this collection earlier this year.
“When I came back and listened to these songs, I was like, ‘Wow, we’ve really made some progress in something,’” he said. “We really developed a new sound for this band. It’s really unique, hot, raw and cool. It was a very creative time and made us all even more creative. We were thinking together, talking together and playing our instruments together and it was really special. It was a way around the pandemic and, hey, whatever makes fans happy. It was actually wonderful and I would do something like this in a second.
Afterburner Music Festival
With: Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Umphrey ‘McGee, 90’s Rockshow, Sam Hunt, X Ambassadors, Cassadee Pope and DJ Mark Moreno
When: 4-10 p.m. October 1-2 (after the Pacific Airshow)
Or: Huntington City Beach, 21529 Pacific Coast Highway, Huntington Beach
Tickets: $ 69 to $ 299 on afterburnermusicfestival.com
Sammy Hagar Birthday Party
When: 5 pm Oct 7 Acoustic show VIP; 8 p.m. October 8-9
Or: Catalina Casino, Avalon on Catalina Island
Tickets: $ 502 for October 7; $ 74 from October 8 to 9 on Ticketmaster.com