Thumping blues, jangly rock music, and the smells of barbecue pits slow-cooking pork ribs and brisket fill the Victorville Fairgrounds during the annual High Desert Music Festival & BBQ Showdown. The two-day event challenges pit-masters from around the Southwest to square off in a barbecue competition?and conquer the reigning champion?by sharing their sauce-slathered dishes with visitors, while judges from the Kansas City Barbecue Society look on. Meanwhile, local and Grammy-nominated international musicians perform on an outdoor stage, and a car show displays vehicles ranging from classic cars to custom modern rides.
Eat|See|Hear offers an unparalleled outdoor movie experience by screening new and classic films in HD on an inflatable, wrinkle-free projection screen standing 3.5 stories tall and 52 feet wide. Using a 30,000-watt sound system, each venue is custom-calibrated to ensure a decibel-appropriate listening experience for audiences lounging on blankets or in lawn chairs. Local food trucks remain onsite during events to dish out cuisine, and pre-film performances by up-and-coming bands get audiences pumped up and help loosen any cobwebs built up inside the ears.
International Latin-pop sensation Luis Miguel has tenderly caressed ears with tuneful ballads and lively boleros for nearly 30 years. With a dazzling career that includes more than 52 million albums sold, chart-topping hits in dozens of countries, and multiple continent-spanning tours, Miguel wields vocal powers and a winning smile potent enough to melt the hearts of fans and the tips of wayward icebergs. Concertgoers can enjoy the aural feast while securely nestled in the rear loge of the San Manuel Amphitheater, an expansive outdoor space that allows listeners to bask in the fresh air without the hassle and awkward bear encounters of a camping trip.
Surrounded by sky-obscuring trees and spookily secluded mountain towns, the Big Bear Horro-Fi Film Festival delights audiences with marathon screenings of horror and science fiction movies submitted from all over the globe. The schedule overflows with indie and high-production films that run the gamut from gleefully campy to nightmarish. 11/11/11, which foretells the entry of evil through a portal unlocked by the date, premieres on opening night of the festival in grand fashion with a premiere party on either side of the screening. For an additional $5 cover, Saturday's special screening of the 1983 classic Sleepaway Camp is prefaced by a costume party with live music, karaoke, drink specials, and more. To scrutinize the levels of horror and believability of plastic vampire teeth, the festival enlists a crack-team of notable judges, including Harry Manfredini, the man responsible for the anxiety-ridden scores of the Friday the 13th series. Veteran filmmakers and aspiring actors alike can attend a host of free workshops, such as the participatory Triage for Scripts, a 60-minute foray into the world of screenwriting and military medicine.
On October 26, Halloween monsters rise from the undead to invade Luna Supper Club. Not for blood or revenge, but instead for craft beer. At the BierBuzz Masquerade Beer Fest, costumed guests flood the two-story nightclub, letting unlimited sips of beer filter through their hockey masks. 15 local breweries tap kegs for the masses, including Left Coast Brewing, Ironfire Brewing Company, and Ritual Brewing Co. Live bands and DJs set the proceedings to a rhythmic thump, including a reggae set by MightyMellowMassive. Guests enjoy the club's modern stylings as they frolic, including lounge rooms awash in circling light beams and a long outdoor patio.
Located in a repurposed Santa Fe railroad station, Pacific Wine Merchants pours a rotating selection of 24 wines and purveys a stock of delicious cigars. Grape enthusiasts looking for a wine tasting ($16–$22) can sample the bar's current lineup by the ounce. Servings are dispensed via an automated Enomatic system, which is designed to prevent waste, preserve freshness, and fill corkscrews with feelings of inadequacy. Recent offerings from the tasting rotation have included a Rombauer merlot, a cabernet sauvignon from Jam Cellars, and a Rusack syrah. While sipping reds and whites, patrons can nibble cheeses, cold cuts, and garlic bread, which are included with the tasting price. Microbrews ($4.50) from local beer factories are also on tap, standing by to ensure that thirst is extinguished faster than a fire at Sea World.