Music Festivals in San Lorenzo Park
As a longtime resident of the downtown area, I understand what a struggle the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day can be. The city pretty much doubles in size during the day and on the weekend and you don’t want to be driving anywhere. The Boardwalk offers plenty of fun for tourists, but it would be great to have something fun to do with more local flair. I’m not saying make anything a “locals only” affair, I’m saying create something that not only appeals to the locals but also helps the locals. A summer music festival in San Lorenzo Park is exactly what this city needs to revitalize the park and the river levee area.
Before I moved to Santa Cruz over 10 years ago, I lived in San Francisco for about 15 years. They throw what is one of the best summer concert series in the country. The Stern Grove music festival is exactly the kind of concept I’d like to see brought to Santa Cruz.
Imagine something like this in San Lorenzo Park each Sunday in the summer!
Here’s a list of the concerts and events that comprised the 2013 Stern Grove Music Festival. All shows are free and open to the public.
- June 16
The Big Picnic Starring Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs
- June 23
Ramsey Lewis and Dee Dee Bridgewater
- June 30
Featuring Dan the Automator, Del the Funky Homosapien and Kid Koala
- July 7
San Francisco Symphony
- July 14
Geographer with Magik*Magik Quartet
Real Vocal String Quartet
- July 21
Red Baraat and Fanfare Ciocărlia
- July 28
San Francisco Ballet
Helgi Tomasson, Artistic Director
- August 4
- August 11
La Santa Cecilia
- August 18
San Francisco Opera
Why can’t we organize and support something like this in San Lorenzo Park? This is how you promote the vibrant art and music scene of Santa Cruz. And you create positive use opportunities in San Lorenzo Park, a neglected jewel in the heart of the new “Riverwalk”. I’d be down there every Sunday in the summer to support it. I think this is something that can be created without competing with the Seaside Company and their Friday night concert series. The Boardwalk concerts are fun but they fit a particular genre, usually music from the 80’s. The Stern Grove Festival is more broad in it’s approach to artistic programming with more of a focus on the arts in general, with elements of theater, ballet, classical, and world music. This is an idea that is ripe with licensing opportunities for the city (food vendors, sponsorship, etc.). And it could really spearhead the effort to brand and publicize the Riverwalk concept, by giving people a reason to hang out in San Lorenzo Park, hear some great music in a beautiful location on a summer Sunday afternoon, and have a wonderful time enjoying their town.