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Switchfoot's BRO-AM online, 5 Things to Know
Switchfoot isn't letting a pandemic wipe out its annual BRO-AM music and surfing festival.
Instead, the event to raise money for a variety of charities — including Feeding America and VH1 Save the Music — is, like so many things, moving online. Switchfoot will be joined by needtobreath, Colony House and Judah Akers from Judah and the Lion on Saturday, June 27, with surfing footage and an appearance by World Surf League champion Chris Cote.
BRO-AM 2020 also comes on the heels of a new Switchfoot "Covers" EP and hometown drive-in show in San Diego that was California's first show since things shut down in March.
Bassist and co-founder Tim Foreman says that while planning the virtual BRO-AM at times feels like "jumping off a cliff with an anvil tied to your ankle," Switchfoot is looking forward to the new presentatiton.
"It's been fun," he says. "Everything's coming together. I'm sure there will be some white-knuckle moment, but that's just part of it. It's our 16th year of doing the event, and we wanted to do everything we can to keep it going. ... And with potentially a bigger and broader audience doing it this way."
Switchfoot itself will perform live from a warehouse facility near its recording studio in San Diego, with full concert lights and production.
"It's going to feel as much like a big festival as possible. We felt like it was really important to do it live. It would be a lot easier to pre-record it, but there's something about live music we're all missing right now. I think it's important for there to be that element of danger, that if you screw up you can't do it again. We want to fill that void for live music as much as we much as we can."
• Playing a live show for a parking lot full of clothes earlier this month, supporting the Feeding San Diego charity, was "special," says Foreman. "It was pretty amazing. There was kind of a sense of history of the moment, which I think is rare. People's windshield wipers were getting involved. There was audience participation with honking horns. It was just sort of a tailgate vibe, one of those moments where you realize that in spite of all the pain and difficulty everyone's going through, there's still beauty to be had."
• The new "Covers" EP — which includes songs by Frank Ocean, Vampire Weekend, the Verve, Harry Styles, the Chainsmokers and Jon Bellion — was started before the pandemic shutdowns and finished remotely by the band members. "We had kind of toyed with some of these songs before the shutdown, and then it seemed like a good idea to finish them while we were all kind of stuck in various places. It felt like a chance to speak to the moment, which was definitely part of why we chose the songs we did."
• As for new music, Foreman predicts that "there's going to be a lot of good music that comes out of this period. Hopefully we're part of that." But there's nothing specific in motion yet. "We like to sneak up on albums. The moment you define it as you're making an album, that changes the process. We like to just throw paint on the wall until you reach a certain point where you're like, 'Y'know what? This is starting to feel like an album.' So right now we're throwing paint at the wall, but enjoying it."
Switchfoot's BRO-AM takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 27. Tickets are $10.99 with proceeds going to various charities. Visit switchfoot.com or broam.org.
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