Thursday, July 18, 2024

After controversy, Big Bang on the Bay formally moved to Labor Day


After submitting paperwork late to the California Coastal Commission, the annual July 3rd (not 4th) fireworks tradition that is Big Bang on the Bay was indefinitely cancelled. But it has returned: Organizer John Morris says the new version will be on Sept. 1.

Big Bang on the Bay is returning—and it includes a concert

“On my way in this morning, I was asking myself, ‘What’s wrong with you?’ And I realized this time of the year I would be on the phone: boom. Boom. Boom. Raisin’ money. Big Bang on the Bay in six days. But it’s not here. That being said, we’ve shifted gears.”

These are the words of Morris, the longtime organizer and leader for Big Bang on the Bay. He took to social media to proudly proclaim that, despite the original setback where his organization failed to follow through with requests from the California Coastal Commission, plans are ready to move forward for Labor Day weekend. And there will be events on both Saturday, Aug. 31, and Sunday, Sept. 1.

The fireworks display—which are a more traditional deviation from the upcoming drone show that will be hosted at Veterans Memorial Stadium at Long Beach City College—will take place on Sept. 1.

For Saturday, Morris has lined up Jakob’s Castle, the band of Jakob Nowell. (Jakob is the current Sublime singer and son of founding Sublime singer Bradley Nowell.) Fresh off both his recent performance at Altar Society and the release of their debut album, “Enter the Castle,” this marks a nice return to home turf for the band.

Morris, at this time, doesn’t have the lineup of what other bands will join them but “they just played Coachella—a hundred-thousand people at that thing but we’re gonna have them at Alamitos Bay on their home turf,” Morris said.

There is some definitive bitterness about the cancellation of Big Bang on the Bay for July

Morris did not mince words while discussing the newer version of Big Bang on the Bay that will be coming come Labor Day Weekend. He said they were going to make it better, make it better, and that it’s “going to be a great weekend. Gonna be phenomenal.

“Hoping you all come out, get eveybody involved. Let’s make this one the big one so we can stick I tup their you know what. Because they deserve to have that done to them for what they’ve done to the community. Especially for what they did to the charities, specifically the Boys and Girls Club. Makes me sick to think about it. But I don’t want to ruin my day ’cause I’m having a good day today. Just planning the future.”

The Boys and Girls Club was set to be the benefactor of this year’s Big Bang on the Bay (and they still are), given there is a charity chosen each year.

And whether we are seeking it or not, Morris said he will return July 3 to “vent some more.”

So what, exactly, happened to the original fireworks set for next week?

According to Morris, a late application to the California Coastal Commission—led by what he alleges was political interference and the Coastal Commission simply points out as a late filing of paperwork—has prompted the first time the show will not formally happen since its inception in 2011 (minus 2020, which was due to the pandemic).

The California Coastal Commission denies all of Morris’s allegations.

Commission legislative director Sarah Christie said Morris had been offered a meeting in January of this year to coordinate, letting him know that he needed to submit his permit application as soon as possible and that it comes with fulfillments that would be required on Morris’s end.

“He told us he would submit in early March, and then we never heard from him again,” Christie said earlier this month. “Late paperwork is not an ‘angle.’ We need a completed application before we can do our analysis and write a staff report. He knows that. He submitted his application for the 2023 even in February.”

And there are emails to prove it, per the LB4D blog. The commission was, ultimately, right in that they had fully corresponded with Morris to no reply.

Brian Addison
Brian Addison
Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 25 nominations and three additional wins. In 2019, he was awarded the Food/Culture Critic of the Year across any platform at the National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards.


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