SM PIER — Initial responses to the 2014 Twilight Concert Series highlight a positive experience for organizers and attendees despite several changes to the way the shows are produced.
City Staff will make a formal presentation to the Santa Monica Pier Board of Directors in October, but in brief comments at the September meeting
Jay Farrand, Pier Administrator said the season went well and was the foundation of a busy summer season.
Following an unexpectedly large crowd at the end of the 2013 season, the City Council increased the budget for public safety this year. Santa Monica Police officers received additional support from neighboring police agencies and had a more visible presence on the Pier. The beach seating area, long a haven for adult beverages and marijuana, was also patrolled more heavily.
A grid system was added to the beach providing lanes that allowed police and medical staff access to the crowd more easily.
“The concerts drew relatively consistent crowds throughout the series. There were two of the events that seemed to have been exceptionally popular and attracted a larger than usual crowd,” said Police spokesman Sgt. Rudy Camarena. “The contingency plans and flexibility built-in by design allowed us to adjust our deployment in real time and maintain an appropriate level of services and emergency access.”
He said residents seemed happy with the results.
“Chief Seabrooks was very pleased with the overall positive and constructive feedback relative to the police department’s response and presence,” he said.
In addition to the Twilight Concert Series, the Pier hosted summer fitness events like Hey There Muscles and Roga. Staff said they were able to secure $8,000 in sponsorship to put towards the $10,000 cost of Muscles. This year was the first for the Lou Ferigno led event on the Pier and staff said they expected to secure more funding in subsequent years.
The other new program, Roga, also met with positive reviews. The fitness class combines a beach run with morning yoga on the pier.
“I think overall, the sponsors, crews, artists, everyone feels really good about what happened over the summer,” said Farrand at the September Pier meeting.
Craig Hoffman, Director of Partnerships & Development said the Pier is already gearing up for its fall programming season including the Front Porch Cinema movie series and Way Over Yonder music festival.
The free community movie series begins Oct. 3. Organizers will present four Friday night movies plus a bonus Thursday movie on Oct. 2. The 2014 schedule includes
October 2 – Jeremy Jones’ Higher (Oct. 2), Frozen (Oct. 3), Gravity (Oct. 10), Grand Budapest Hotel (Oct. 17) and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The seating area opens at 6 p.m. and the movies start at 7:30 p.m.
Organizers said some chairs will be available for rent on site but the public are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and drinks will be for sale before and during the show. Parking will be available in the lot north of the pier at 1550 Pacific Coast Highway, and a free bike valet will be provided. For more information, visit www.frontporchcinema.com.
Way Over Yonder is a two day music festival on Sept. 26 and 27.
Music acts will perform in two locations, the Pier Stage and Carousel Stage. The complete artist set times are available at www.wayoveryonder.net
Two-day passes start at $74 and will include almost 13 hours of music. All tickets are available at www.ticketfly.com. Additional ticket options include two-day passes and priority viewing areas.
matt@smdp.com

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