Darker Wave 2023

Darker Waves 2023

NOVEMBER 18, 2023


A brand new festival to highlight 80s pioneers of synthwave and darkwave music and their contemporary descents.

The 1980s nostalgia train is far from over, and Darker Waves, a brand new beach-side festival, is just pulling into station. Darker Waves made quite a splash upon its inaugural lineup announcement earlier this year, causing all sorts of foraying into closets in search of black eyeliner, hairspray and doc martens. For listeners of dark wave, a genre known for introspective lyrics, gloomy synths and minor keys, it’s easy to see why. The festival will show a trove of the original “it’s not a phase mom” bands, such as New Order, Devo and the Violent Femmes. But Darker Waves goes beyond being just a Gen-X fever dream by including current darkwave bands such as Twin Tribes, Cold Cave and Drab Majesty. Fans of the Stranger Things soundtrack, be warned, they did not manage to snag Kate Bush. 

The soft, sunset-lit beaches of southern California may not be the most obvious locale to host a gothic music festival, but then again, they say opposites attract. Post-punk and New Wave are certainly far from their days of being “new,” but the genres still attract new fans and maintains an army of loyal long-time listeners. With such a throwback line-up, Darker Waves has the potential to bring both kinds of fans together. But since it’s the inaugural year, no one is entirely sure what the exact vibe will resemble. The knowns: 12 hours of synths, drum loops, and plenty of reverb. 

The venue will have multiple stages at Huntington’s Beach’s City Beach, so check the full schedule of performances when it’s released closer to the festival date.

The Specs

  • Attendance numbers are not available for this festival. 
  • All ticket holders, except Ultimate VIP, are not allowed to leave and re-enter. 
  • Check out Fifty Grande’s guide to Huntington Beach here. And here is our guide to California. 


What is the closest airport to the festival?

Both the Long Beach Airport (LGB) and the Orange County / Santa Ana Airport (SNA) are within a short driving distance of the festival. 

What are the festival’s hours?

The festival will happen from 10am to 10pm.

Is the festival ADA accessible? 

Yes. While there is no parking onsite, Darker Waves is committed to ADA accessibility. Please stop by the Accessibility Services Hub to get your free wristband. Further details and information are available on the festival’s website. 

What is the bag policy?

No large bags are allowed into the venue. Bags 6 by 9 or smaller are allowed. Bags between 6 by 9 and 12 by 6 by 12 must be clear. More information can be found here

How about lockers?

Lockers are available to rent. 

What is the festival line-up?

Darker Waves will be headlined by New Order and Tears For Fears, and will have sets from The B-52s, Echo & The Bunnymen, Devo, Soft Cell, The Psychedelic Furs, The Human League, OMD, Violent Femmes, She Wants Revenge, The Cardigans, Molchat Doma, X, The English Beat, Crosses, Kavinsky, London After Midnight, Clan of Xymox, The Chameleons, T.S.O.L., Death in Vegas, Cold Cave, Blossoms, Mareux, Drab Majesty, Depression Sopnora, Twin Tribes, 45 Grave, Christian Death, Skeletal Family, Glass Spells, Urban Heat.

2023 Poster




BY Sébastien Luc Butler