Fresh Pots hopes to wake up San Diego with local music festival

Oceanside-based rock band Warish will headline the festival on Feb. 1.
(Courtesy photo)

UC San Diego’s Che Cafe Collective will host the two-day event, happening Feb. 1 and 8.


“We like to think of (playlists) as blends or flavors of coffee, because who doesn’t love coffee and music?”

Meet two playlist baristas: Franco Rakigjija and Bernie Giovannini. The friends grew up going to local shows and record stores in San Diego, bonding over their love of music. So in January 2018, the creative duo decided to put that passion into a new project: Fresh Pots.

Bernie Giovannini, left, and Franco Rakigjija are the founders of Fresh Pots.
(Nick Montermarano)

Though hard to put Fresh Pots in a box, it’s best described as a music discovery community. The music website ( seeks to share new sounds from a wide range of artists and across genres; it also serves as a “de facto production company” that puts out physical releases and organizes events.

Fresh Pots’s tagline “Music curated by real humans” is backed by a handful of handpicked Spotify and Mixcloud collections. The four main playlists — Tropidelic, Bitches Brew, Gimme Danger and Terminally Chill — are crafted by Franco and Bernie and cover a wide range of genres.

So where does this music come from?

“Everything and everywhere, from people we meet to bands we stumble upon in grungy punk clubs,” La Jolla resident Rakigjija said. “There’s nowhere we won’t go to find music. It’s into the the trenches for us.”

For the Featured Artists playlist, Rakigjija and Giovannini turn the tables and give musicians the chance to share their own personalized playlists, accompanied by an exclusive online interview. The playlist features mix of artists who they have admired growing up, as well as up-and-coming groups making their way onto the scene.

As for the name Fresh Pots, you may remember it from Foo Fighter’s frontman Dave Grohl, who made the phrase viral with his low-budget YouTube video in 2010. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please enjoy the absurd masterpiece below.)

“(Fresh Pots) definitely stemmed from (the Dave Grohl reference), but really the name is a metaphor because music, like coffee, is brewed every day,” Rakigjija said. “In that sense we try to find music that is indeed fresh or new because there’s nothing better than the elation of finding a new artist that really captures your attention.”

And now Fresh Pots has brewed up something new: a way to expose San Diego to its own talent offline. Rakigjija recently teamed up with Ryan Roden, a volunteer event manager at The Che Cafe Collective, to debut a unique event: Fresh Pots! Music Festival.

Fresh Pots!, happening Feb. 1 and 8, is an all-ages affair. Nine San Diego artists will play the first day, and the following Saturday highlights nine Tijuana-based musicians. Rakigija hopes the blend of San Diego and Tijuana artists will help bridge the gap between the two neighboring regions and bring people together through the tunes.

“San Diego and Tijuana used to be known as formidable music scenes in the early nineties and it seems to be coming back around. It’s unfortunate that both cities are marred by a border, it definitely disincentivizes people from exploring either side,” Rakigija said. “In the end like other notable music driven cities ... we feel San Diego and Tijuana have just as much to offer to the world.”

Before moving to San Diego, Giovanni was born and lived in Tijuana, so this collaboration is close to the hearts of Fresh Pots.

On Feb. 1 and 8, there will be an indoor and outdoor stage set up at The Che Cafe Collective, and each act is expected to perform 30-45 minute sets. The festival headliners are two rock bands: Oceanside’s Warish on Feb. 1 and Tijuana-based San Pedro El Cortez on Feb. 8. (Fun fact: frontman Riley Hawk is actually legendary skater Tony Hawk’s son.)

The festival headliner on Feb. 8 is Tijuana-based San Pedro El Cortez, a psychedelic garage rock band.
(Courtesy photo)

Other performers include alternative/indie five-piece band Parque de Cometas, psych-rock group Drug Hunt, and jazzy pop act Salami Rose Joe Louis, who toured with lo-fi daring Toro y Moi back in 2018.

“This (event) is to help people discover the local music in the area that they might not be familiar with regardless of genre, as well as showcase music and talent from across the border, facet of experiences and sound that not a lot of people may have had the opportunity to encounter!” Roden said.

It wouldn’t be a music festival without food, and of course, coffee. Corazon de Torta, Donut Panic, Heartwork Coffee and Public Square Coffee will all set up shop in the parking lot, with all four vendors offering vegan options. (In addition to serving as a DIY event venue, The Che Cafe Collective is also a vegan co-op.)

Pre-sale tickets (excluding service fees) are $15 for a single-day pass or $25 for two-day entry, and both available to buy online. The tentative set times for Feb. 1 is listed below, with the schedule for Feb. 8 TBA. For updates on the Feb. 8 edition, head to its website or follow Fresh Pots on Facebook or Instagram.

Indoor Stage (Feb. 1)
5 p.m. — Ten Bulls
6 p.m. — Shingdigs
7 p.m. — Cedric Des
8 p.m. — Drug Hunt
9 p.m. — Warish

Outdoor Stage (Feb. 1)
5:30 p.m. — Downers
6:30 p.m. — Montalban Quintet
7:30 p.m. — Salami Rose Joe Louis
8:30 p.m. — Los Pinche Pinches

An artistic promotional flyer for Fresh Pots! Music Festival, originally posted on Instagram.
(Courtesy photo)

Fresh Pots! Music Festival

When: Saturday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 8
Time: 4 to 10 p.m.
Where: The Che Cafe Collective, 1000 Scholars Drive South, La Jolla, UCSD
Contact: 858-247-2648 or


12:26 p.m. Jan. 29, 2020: This article will be updated with set times for Feb. 8 once they are released. The scheduled acts are San Pedro de Cortez, Parque de Cometas, Adeumazel, Sociedad Secreta del Vacio, Fractal, Junipero, Aldelte, Incognito and Memory Leak.