This year’s Twilight on the Pier concert series will begin Aug. 21 and run on Wednesday nights until Sept. 25, about two weeks earlier than last year.
City Council approved the Santa Monica Pier Corporation’s request to move the series’ start date to the third Wednesday in August, which is estimated to increase attendance by about 30 percent and make Twilight more attractive to corporate sponsors. The new start time will also free up the Pier in October for Halloween activities and other programming.
Pier Corp executive director Negin Singh said the Pier has put a new focus on seasonal programming since she started in her role in early 2018 and is courting outside producers to throw events year-round. Many of those producers want to hold events in October, she said.
Last year also marked the end of Snapchat’s sponsorship of the series and Pier Corp has to find new partners, Singh said.
“Snapchat provided 90 percent of our funding at one point,” she said. “In looking for new partners, we want to be able to provide a summer option. It allows for companies and brands who are doing summer tours to have a stop here on the Pier and support Twilight.”
Singh was hired as executive director after 2017 and 2016’s series drew what officials called unmanageable crowds. In 2017, Pier Corp shifted the date of the series to sidestep the summer tourist season and cut the number of concerts from 10 to eight, but headliner Khalid still drew 25,000 attendees.
Council made several changes to Twilight in December 2017 to reduce crowding, including holding the concerts on Wednesdays instead of Thursdays, reducing the number of concerts from eight to six and beginning after Labor Day.
“The series was rebranded to reinforce the event as a smaller, Pier-focused series with a curation strategy that booked niche performers with audience draws better in line with the venue size,” City staff wrote.
The 2018 concert series drew an average of 8,000 people per night, according to the staff report. The report estimated the concerts will attract about 1,500 to 3,000 more attendees per evening this year.
Pier Corp broke even on last year’s concert series. It cost $659,711 and brought in $661,174, netting $1,463. Corporate sponsors underwrote over two-thirds of the concert series costs, with the remaining one-third from City grants and revenues from beverage sales.
Pier Corp will announce more details about this year’s concert series in May, Singh said.