As a once illegal event put on by three music-loving Cal Poly students at the top of Cuesta Ridge, the Shabang Live Music and Arts Festival has grown into a two-day event hosting more than 20 musicians and nearly 7,000 guests.

For the first time since 2019, the 2022 Shabang Music and Arts Festival will be held May 13-14 at Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo. 

“This is going to be the best and biggest Shabang that we have ever done,” Shabang’s creative marketing director Nate Doherty said. “We are going to have more and better music than we have ever had in the past.” 

The lineup features larger artists including STRFKR and TV Girl, as well as local acts, according to the Shabang Instagram.

“We are creating a platform for locals as well as these international stars and putting them on a level playing field,” Doherty said. “[We are] showcasing what SLO has to offer and then also exposing SLO to new music and talent that they would not have seen otherwise.”

Doherty said this year’s festival includes activities for everyone, from rock climbing and slacklining to yoga and dancing.

“We want the people that are going to our festival to not just be viewing from the outside but also participating and co-creating the experience,” he said. “When we interact, that is when things get fun and that is when people’s walls can really break down.”

As a platform for locals to share their talents, Doherty said the festival provides new opportunities to artists and helps open doors for them. Shabang is also valuable to the music and arts scene in SLO, given the lack of events like it in the area, according to Doherty. On top of that, it shows what Cal Poly students have the potential to create.

“I think that a lot of the school administered events lack culture,” Doherty said. “I think the school does the best it can but it is also produced by a corporation, where Shabang is really produced by the people for the people.”

To provide a safe event, the festival managers will continue to monitor COVID-19 case numbers and obey local and state guidelines. 

Recreation, parks and tourism administration graduate Perry Nalle bought Shabang tickets in 2020 to celebrate her senior year. 

After moving to the Bay Area, Nalle said she decided to keep her festival tickets to have an excuse to return to SLO. 

“We are not trying to make it Coachella, but it is just this special thing that SLO offers that you cannot get other places,” Nalle said.

Information on ticketing can be found on

This article originally appeared on, the website for KCPR 91.3 FM, Cal Poly’s new and alternative music radio station.

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