Fun In The Sun: La Izquierda Surf & Music Festival Returns

The combination of good music, surfing and the beach makes for what's sure to be a wonderful weekend as Galveston’s La Izquierda Surf & Music Festival returns for an even bigger and better event.

La Izquierda will take place this weekend starting Friday, May 5 with a free event and psychedelic takeover from Galveston’s Third Eyeland Collective, a small group of likeminded artists and musicians that has formed within the island’s growing psych rock music and arts scene.

The takeover will include performances by Galveston and Austin based bands Young Mammals, India Tigers In Texas, Annabelle Chairlegs and Neon Lemon.

Saturday morning starts bright and early with the surf competition taking place before a full two days of performances by a wide variety of artists including Shame On Me, Opie Hendrix, Blaze X Black, Los Skarnales, Swimwear Department, CJ Chenier and finally ending with a bang with Houston pride Bun B, whose Trill Burgers will also be on site for hungry festival goers.
La Izquierda is a family friendly event where kids under 10 get in free and are encouraged to bring their own lemonade stands to celebrate Lemonade day. There will be a variety of events throughout the day including yoga, volleyball and an interactive mural station.

“I’m happy for us because it gets bigger every year,” says organizer and musician Robert Kuhn whose band Galvezton will also be performing. Kuhn and his team held the first La Izquierda in 2018 and since then have been steadily growing and expanding to include their summer music series Save The Locals, an extension of the festival.

This year the festival will be bigger and better due to a grant Kuhn and his team were awarded through Philanthropitch, an organization that supports non profits in various cities across the United States.

“That's what really kicked us into high gear,” says Kuhn of the amazing opportunity that allowed him to up the ante as far as performers for the festival. “I took all the money and invested it in the lineup, production, sound and lighting just to get that going.”

A main part of La Izquierda since it began has been celebrating Galveston’s growing and tight knit music community and though this year’s line up includes bigger names than ever, it also has some familiar bands that have played the event since it began.

“A lot of the bands that we've been friends with and playing with over the last several years have just kept on growing, kept on getting better. Everybody has just been progressing and evolving with their own things so as they've grown, we've grown too.”

"Everybody has just been progressing and evolving with their own things so as they've grown, we've grown too.”

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It may not be obvious to outsiders but Galveston has been experiencing a steady cultural boom over the years and the work of La Izquierda aims to continue expanding and cementing that network.

“It’s been under the water for a while,” says Kuhn of the rise in artists and musicians on the Island. “Everybody has been continuing at it and so it’s bubbling to the surface now and everybody feeds off each other. Galveston is a small town, it’s an island so it's kind of isolated in that sense.”

Much like anything good in this world, organizing the event takes a village, or in this case an island, and for this year's festival another change is the location at Beach Central across the street from the seawall which was generously donated by Mitchell Historic Properties.

"The whole vibe is bringing people together thats why we have a non profit status it's for community building because when people do get together, that's when more things can happen on all fronts. It takes people working together and seeing that we are all really after the same things and on the same page and just want to see good things happen to the island and the world we live in."  

La Izquierda aims to celebrate and push the local talent by bringing people together and though a huge part of the weekend is centered on the music, surfing is also a main element of the festival and has been since the beginning.

“That’s the ying and the yang of the event,” describes Kuhn adding, “It’s hard to say whether it's a surf event or a music event. It’s a great community of people surfing and surfing is such a wonderful art in itself that people don't know about. I live in Galveston and a big reason I live in Galveston is because I learned to surf in Galveston and it's such a positive part of my life.”

La Izquierda will take place between Friday, May 5 and Sunday, May 7 at Beach Central, 2102 Seawall, $20-160.