SSBD 2021: Lakeside Liberty

All photos provided by Same Same But Different, featured image by @darkmatterphotographs

Same Same But Different (SSBD) returned for its third edition to Lake Perris, CA this past September 9th-12th, 2021. We, at Festival Squad, are still basking in the after-glow of the time spent dancing, swimming, and celebrating life! After a long year of uncertainty, the freedom of a lake-side festival is just what the doctor ordered.

The Basics


We first attended this festival during its inaugural year in 2018, and they’ve GROWN! Not in a “This festival is crowded” kind of way, but more of a “Wow, this is extremely well done” way.

The venue of Lake Perris was just as stunning as we remembered it, with its refreshing waters and picture-esque mountain views. Desert beach party? We vote YES!

Home base for this year, was beachfront property. Even with arriving Thursday evening, we were able to set up with a direct view of the lake. The beaming desert sun woke us up daily but feeling that glimmer of hope from the lake made all of the difference.

SSBD had perfect nighttime weather of about 70 degrees, meaning you could wear your beach best ALL NIGHT LONG. Rare find and really a game-changer if you want to avoid those layers of clothing while dancing.


Like past years, the lineup was a perfect combination of DJ’s and live music, featuring Big GiganticSTS9LSDreamClozee, The Polish AmbassadorBoomboxDirtwireCOFRESI, and Megan Hamilton, to name a few.

Four stages kept the spirit alive all weekend long. The largest of these was The “Same Stage”, which hosted the headliners and was the most impressive in terms of production elements. The other main stage, the “Different Stage”, was slightly smaller but designed intricately with a multitude of smaller LED panels. Efficient and a crowd-pleaser, this event also alternated stages between sets, meaning NO INTERMISSIONS!

For daytime and late-night (12am-3am) festivities, two other stages set the vibe. The “But Jungle” hosted more eclectic styles such as reggae, jam, and psychedelic rock, a nice break from the bass and jamtronica heavy headliners. This stage was decorated beautifully, where jungle-like leaves scaled the canopy roof and support beams.

By day, The Coconut Club served as the soundtrack to the “Floattopia” experience, where DJs would musically fuel attendees as they hung out on floaties, paddle-boards, and festival-designed art installations in the water. By night, the stage hosted the likes of Gene Farris, Capyac, and Kaipora, to name a few.


Because SSBD is small in size (about 4k in attendance), travel to and from the music was painless. Aside from the initial search and check-in upon driving in, there were no additional searches or wristband checks, meaning more energy for adventure.

Daytime activities aside from “Floatopia” included yoga, water sports [ex. jet skiing or paddle boarding], hula hooping, meditation, wellness talks, and more. These were hosted at the two workshop tents onsite: Inner Space Camp and The Recharge Station.

Each day at morning and sunset, paddle-board yoga was also in session. As first-timers, this was a fun and refreshing challenge that replenished our mind, body, and spirit. Boards were provided with sign-up.

The Best Bits

When at a festival, expect the unexpected. Below are a few of our favorite moments of SSBD 2021 [with videos to support]:

  • Along the shoreline of Lake Perris, lived a tree-themed art car straight from a fairytale. The maze of green felt moved as you explored under it and creatures danced on the branches. Attendees could also climb to the second level of the car, which gave for a stunning view of main stage.
  • On the night of Saturday the 11th, Dirtwire rocked the world of everyone who witnessed. A Western hoedown meets Egyptian dance party, their swamptrocia tunes brought a completeley unique energy to the festival . It was a moving and powerful performance, featuring instruments from all over the globe. In the middle of the set, vegetarian Shishkabobs were passed out to the crowd to accompany their track titled “Shishkabob”. The act of eating this front row at a festival was unforgettable.
  • “Floatopia” was a dream. Here, we experienced some of the largest and most decked-out floaties ever seen: flamingos, swans, dragons, a twin size matress, you name it… And catching a set while in the water is an immaculate feeling. With temps hitting over 100 during the day, Lake Perris was our savior time and time again. Don’t forget your suncreen for this one, folks.
  • The “But Jungle” brought late-night to life, and hosted some of the most explorative sets of the weekend. For example, CA locals Many a Moon took over Friday night , where interpretive dancers animated their unique psychedlic rock soundscapes and interacted with the crowd.
  • Late-night limbo at the Coconut Club, anyone?

  • On Sunday the 12th, Kr3ture graced the Coconut Club with an uplifting set, even dancing in the crowd with his saxophone! The good vibes from his thoughtful lyricism carried on and gave us the energy boost required to close out the festival in style…

The Bottom Line

SSBD excels on all fronts and is considered a favorite festival by many, for good reason.

Two things make this event DIFFERENT than most: the boutique level of intimacy and the extraordinary possibilities that come with the venue. These will be memories to cherish forever.

See you in 2022, we can’t wait!

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