Totem poles, flags, perfectly loud music, and people having the time of their life.
Sounds like a normal music festival or concert, right?
Yes, except this concert one also included beach chairs, cheese plates, a roller coaster, lots of salt, and it was completely free.
Santa Monica Twilight Concert Series is Back
Southern California is alive with the sound of music every Thursday now that the Santa Monica Pier Twilight Concert Series is back. This Thursday was the grand opening of “LA’s Favorite summer tradition” and it looked like all of Los Angeles County came out. Headlining the big day was Alina Baraz and Mayor Hawthorne.
The pier was decorated in avant-garde balloons as tall as a house. And as night fell, the pier lit up with the roller coaster and Ferris wheel’s bright lights.
Alina Baraz’s celestial voice started the night at 7 p.m. and, in between the castle digging and friend hugging, everyone sang along as she performed “Atlas.” On the pier, the stage and beer garden were almost a separate world from the beach blanket groups spread out along the Pacific Ocean. It was beautiful marriage between hardcore fans of Baraz and Hawthorne, and the people who came for the beach ambiance as much as the music. Baraz ended with “Fantasy” and the whole beach harmonized with her as the sun went down.
Between performers, top-of-the-billboard music played from the speakers. Event goers who picnicked a block down the beach could still dance to the music on the pier.
Grammy nominated Mayer Hawthorne closed the night, and he got people up out of their beach chairs to dance. His music was soulful but with his DJ roots, all of his songs kept the crowd moving. At 10 p.m. he ended the night and it wasn’t until police and festival staff started to kick people out, did the crowd start moving.
Music and the People
Santa Monica Mayor Tony Vazquez came out to thank everyone for their support and love of music. Vazquez’s speech was a very modern ode to the society we live in today. He really showed how much he wanted his city to spread the love and knowledge of this musical night.
Vazquez told the crowd to make sure they add their Snapchats on the Santa Monica Snapchat story. But this was something quiet difficult to achieve because, like other music festivals, there was barely any service. He also gave a shout out to the residents and out of town visitors who used the new Expo line to come to Santa Monica. Los Angeles just expanded their new metro line from downtown LA to Santa Monica. Social media and rapid transportation: new ways to get to music.
The concert was free and there was no age limit. With some festivals you know the type of fans you’ll find in the crowd. But here moms, dads, grandmas, business people, children, and your regular never-put-the-red-Solo-cup-down party animals were all present.
I was lucky enough to sit down next to a group of people on the beach who all came from the same company and decided to use this event as a potluck celebration (the source of the aforementioned cheese plates).
The Twilight Concert Series will happen every Thursday this summer until Sept. 8. Each week is a different genre of music and a continuation of a SoCal summer tradition. So grab a beach chair and some friends and check it out.