62.2 F
San Diego
Sunday, Oct 1, 2023

Wonderfront Festival Spawns WonderBus Mobile Concerts

The inaugural three-day Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival took place in San Diego County in 2019, hosting 125 bands on seven stages and drawing a total of 57,000 concertgoers to the city.

When COVID-19 hit last March, it halted all plans for a 2020 follow-up.

That’s when Ernie Hahn, partner at Wonderfront Entertainment and chairman of Dream Hahn LLC, an experiential marketing company founded in 2020, had a lightbulb moment: why not create a mobile live music business that can showcase local bands throughout the city in a safe and social distance manner? And that’s how WonderBus Entertainment was birthed.

WonderBus is a traveling double-decker bus, with a fully equipped performance stage on the top level and a VIP area in the lower level. Dream Hahn is the engine behind the activation, while Infinium Spirits, headquartered downtown, has signed on to be the sponsor for a year. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Entertainment Venue on Wheels

- Advertisement -

“The WonderBus itself was an idea and concept that came to be a year ago and we started working on eight months ago,” said Hahn, who is also general manager of Pechanga Arena and has a long career in music and entertainment. “The upstairs portion has been reconfigured and designed with sound, light and staging to become a production entertainment venue on wheels that could go almost anywhere. The hope is that we expose local bands that have not been able to get out and perform this last year because of COVID and also entertain the people that haven’t been able to go out and check out their favorite musical acts.”

WonderBus kicked off two weeks ago on St. Patrick’s Day, said Hahn, with performances by Lexington Field, a fiddle rock band, and L.A.vation, the U2 tribute band. The bus will typically run three times a week to start, from Friday through Sunday, and will travel up and down the coast, he said, making brief stops in dense areas like the Gaslamp Quarters and Pacific Beach.

The best way to find out where the WonderBus will head and who it will feature any given night is to follow @WonderBusEntertainment on Instagram, said Hahn, adding that the schedule is already set for at least a month in advance.

The Perfect Landscape

Infinium Spirits, WonderBus’ sponsor, recently relocated from Orange County to San Diego. Daniel Walker, president of Infinium Spirits, said the main reason for the relocation was to be more involved with the local community, in which it already has strong business relationships.

Becoming the opening sponsor for WonderBus seemed like a natural fit to gain more local visibility for the brand, he said.

“First off, we work in a fun industry and all the people at Dream Hahn compliment that aspect of our business so well,” he said. “Dream Hahn is entrenched with 30 years of service and relationships here and they are enabling us to accelerate our immersion in San Diego. Everything we are planning with Dream Hahn is about activation of Infinium Spirits and activation of our brands in San Diego and no one knows this city better than them. We view the Infinium Spirits Wonderbus as our ‘thank you’ to San Diego for being the perfect landscape to build our company and portfolio of great brands.”

Infinium Spirits’ portfolio includes Templeton Rye, the official whiskey of the San Diego Padres; Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, the official peanut butter whiskey of the San Diego Gulls; Seagram’s Vodka; Corralejo Tequila; Crystal Head Vodka; Zaya Rum; Torres Brandy; Tears of Llorona Tequila; Los Arango Tequila; Magdala Orange Liqueur; Rives Gin; and El Gobernador Pisco.

Growing WonderBus Brand

While it is yet to be seen what version of the Wonderfront Festival will be returning to San Diego later this year, Hahn and the team are already working on strategically growing the WonderBus brand. The vision is to add more buses to the fleet, said Hahn, and have pop up musical festivals of different genres hit up different communities within the county, including Chula Vista and North County. He also hopes to collaborate with food and beverage places and corporations down the line as well as rent out the WonderBus for private events.


Featured Articles


Related Articles