Bands and breweries bring punk rock fans to Skallywag

Sunshine, craft beer and music bring people together for annual festival.

Less Than Jake at Skallywag Festival

Brian Mohler

Less Than Jake, a ska punk band from Florida, played at the 2018 Skallywag Festival at Waterfront Park on Oct. 20. By Brian Mohler.

Brian Mohler, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Waterfront Park, perfectly placed between a marina full of ships, the downtown skyline and planes diving into the airport, provided the ideal setting for Scallywag craft beer and music festival on Oct. 20.

Amplified Ale Works free mohawks
By Brian Mohler.
The Amplified Ale Works tent offered free mohawks to Skallywag festival fans. By Brian Mohler.

Scallywag is a synonym for a punk. The festival, now in its third year, embraces the ideological and philosophical influences of the punk subculture like nonconformity, rebellion, and individualism.

“I used to get picked on in school for wearing studs and dressing like a punk,” concertgoer Melly Kelso said. “I remember getting sent home for going to school with dyed hair.

“Our lifestyle is more accepted by society today. I identify as a punk, but I’m not about anarchy or trying to live some supposed lifestyle. I’m just being the person I was born and raised to be.”

Kelso works as a dog groomer, but she is currently homeless and crashing on the couches of friends living around San Diego.

Her ex-boyfriend got her a ticket to Scallywag. She said he’s related to David Orozco, the bassist from Beach Goons, a local band from Barrio Logan that opened the day-long festival.

“I’ve known David since he was 13,” she said.

She’s big on the lead singer’s voice and Pablo Cervantez from Beach Goons really impressed her.

Kelso has been listening to punk rock since she was 13. She hangs out at Red Brontosaurus Records in North Park and goes out to shows about three times a week at local venues like Bar Pink, Space Bar, The Office, and U-31.

She’s particularly excited to see H20 at Soda Bar and support her friend’s band Eulogy.

Kelso isn’t into craft beer, but she likes Pabst Blue Ribbon. She thought the craft beer might give her a headache.

Danae Worthing was looking for a craft beer to cure her headache. She missed the Coaster, left her ID in a friend’s car and ended up missing the free beer festival part of Scallywag.

Worthing loves craft beer, especially the wet hop ales from Nickel Brewing in Julian. She needed a beer and wanted to find her friends before Less Than Jake started.

Most of the 100+ craft beer options during the festival were from local independent craft breweries, but a few out-of-towners were creating a buzz.

Palmdale-based Transplant Brewing had an eye-catching, green knit tablecloth it commissioned from an artist off Esty.

Ashley Ladd
Brian Mohler
Ashley Ladd shows off her Less Than Jake-inspired tattoos at Skallywag on Oct. 20. By Brian Mohler.

Ashley Ladd sported a rainbow mohawk while representing the design-savvy brewery. Their Trance Plant Imperial IPA featuring Columbus and Chinook hops was a crowd favorite, but Ladd’s personal favorite was the Maple Bounty, a Belgian dubbel.

She was happy to be done talking beer and ready to listen to one of her favorite bands, Less Than Jake, and she had tattoos to prove it.

Peter Monzet, of 91X radio station, was drinking his favorite beer, Thorn (Street) Brewing’s Rock the Pale Ale. He likes their Relay IPA as well but prefers the pale ale because it’s lighter.

Monzet was eager to see Rancid. He’s a super-fan of their album “…And Out Come the Wolves.”

He grew up in New York listening to punk and one his favorites was the ska-core band Choking Victim.

“Punk taps into teenage angst,” said Jason Fender, who along with his brother Justin has attended every Scallywag festival. “It’s the perfect music for expressing youthful rebellion.”

At the 2016 Scallywag, they managed to get access backstage and met Greg Graffin from Bad Religion. The brothers grew up in Poway and have fond memories of seeing bands like Unwritten Law and Face to Face play at SOMA.

They remember seeing The Offspring play at WorldBeat Center in Balboa Park before becoming a commercial success.

The brothers still like to mosh. Jason caught an elbow to the face earlier and somebody ripped Justin’s shirt.

They were amped to see Rancid. “Arrested in Shanghai” is one of their favorite songs.

They’d like to see Social Distortion or Dirty Rotten Imbeciles play Scallywag, or see Bad Religion again.

Michael Kohl helped Fall Brewing pour beer. Fall incorporates punk rock stylistically into their marketing.

“Their Goo Goo Muck IPA is fire,” he said of the beer named after a song by The Cramps.

Kohl also likes Second Chance, Abnormal and Thorn, but thinks Modern Times is the most consistent brewery in San Diego.

“They’re killing the game and always fire, whether it’s a stout, a sour, something west coast or hazy,” he said. “I’ve been to their Festivals of Funk and Dankness, both had awesome s—.”

Kohl goes to a lot of music shows. He was going to the D.R.I. show at Brick by Brick after Scallywag.

He appreciates the punk music scene and seeing “homies” around town at shows, but he’s a Juggalo at heart and identifies strongly with that community.

Kevin Vasquez went to the first Scallywag in 2016 and is impressed by its growth.

“You can’t beat the location,” he said.

Attendance numbers were not available as of early Monday, but the large crowd continued growing into the evening for Rancid’s performance.

Vasquez got a VIP ticket this year and said it was worth it to sample all the awesome beers before the lines started. He’ll come again, he said, especially if Dropkick Murphys or Social Distortion play.

“The music here brings back happy memories from my adolescence,” he said.

Vazquez got a master’s in philosophy from SDSU. He likes the political rebellious nature he hears in punk music’s ideology.

“We need social awareness and to be a bit anti-establishment in this post-truth world today,” he said. “Punk rock has a communal action, bringing people of different backgrounds together for a good time. Multi-cultures and multi-ethnicities can come together and realize that we’re really not that different.”