SM PIER — With $133,000 raised in the past two and a half weeks from City Hall contributions, private donations and sponsorship deals, Santa Monica Pier officials are planning at least seven free concerts this summer.

The Pier Restoration Corp.’s board on Wednesday voted to approve the concerts, collectively known as the annual Twilight Dance Series, and also pledged to keep raising funds with the goal of holding up to 10 shows.

“We have tremendous momentum and securing a minimum of seven shows in the last two weeks is a tribute to the community support for this event,” said Ben Franz-Knight, the PRC’s executive director.

City Hall contributed $85,000 to the series from the City Council’s discretionary fund and by making a one-time transfer of carousel revenue. Individuals and corporate sponsors contributed $47,776, the PRC officials said.

Earlier this month, pier officials announced the popular free concert series was in jeopardy because of a decline in corporate sponsorship money and an expensive pier centennial celebration last fall.

In past years, the series has featured 10 free performances with acts that included Patti Smith, Ozomatli, Fishbone and Los Lobos.

The PRC board’s vote on Wednesday authorized Franz-Knight to sign an agreement with King & Co., the event’s longtime producer.

The first concert is expected to be in July, but performance dates are yet to be announced.

Franz-Knight said in order to add an eighth concert the PRC will have to raise an additional $20,000.

Pier officials were considering the possibility of teaming up with local radio stations to produce the free concert series at a lower cost, however, city officials were concerned that arrangement would lessen the quality and change the spirit of the series. Some critics blasted the fundraising effort, saying city funds could have been spent on more worthwhile causes given a looming budget deficit.

nickt@www.smdp.com

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