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Santa Monica's arts commissioner wants to cancel the Twilight Concerts on the Pier series

Santa Monica's arts commissioner wants to cancel the Twilight Concerts on the Pier series
Photograph: Courtesy Twilight Concerts

The Twilight Concert Series at Santa Monica Pier might be a beloved summer tradition for many people in L.A., but Santa Monica’s own arts commissioner wants to pull the plug. According to an op-ed arts commissioner Phil Brock penned for the Santa Monica Mirror, the concerts have become too much of a “security burden” for the city to sustain.

There is no denying that the Twilight Concert Series is a huge operation. Last year, the bill for fire and police personnel to keep the events safe rang in at $950,000 for the season. The city hires enough security staff to anticipate 30,000 attendees per event, according to Santa Monica Next, even though the actual turnout counts are typically closer to 10,000. Attendance at 2016’s season was the highest ever recorded, and the events typically grow every year. 

This is certainly not the first time in the Twilight Concerts’ run that it has gotten push-back from some in the city. In 2014, Santa Monica officials were already worried the events were getting too big and suggested that well-known musicians be banned from performing. They also succeeded that year in prohibiting large video screens that allowed people to see the concerts from out on the beach.

Santa Monica’s Arts Commission, the body Brock oversees, advises the city council, but does not run the Twilight Concert series. That job falls to the Santa Monica Pier Corporation, a non-profit incorporated by the city specifically to maintain the Pier and organize events there, and they don’t seem very interested in Brock’s public suggestion that they shut the concerts down.

“There is no threat to this 32-year community tradition that I see,” the Pier Corporation’s executive director Jay Farrand said in response to the commissioner’s concerns. “Every year we work with the city to smooth out logistics and keep costs under control.”

While outright cancellation seems like an unlikely result for L.A.’s most popular free concert series, it seems possible that it may scale back slightly in years to come.

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