On March 25, the Union-Tribune ran a story by George Varga titled “Street Scene is set to go home.” The article implied that the next annual music fest will be staged downtown for the first time since 2004.
Gaslamp Quarter Association director Jimmy Parker says the article announcing Street Scene’s return to downtown was premature and not true.
“Things may not work out for Hagey because of the Varga article,” says Parker. “My phone lit up that morning with concerned businesses as well as excited businesses [about the return of Street Scene].”
The Varga article, says Street Scene founder Ron Hagey, “…caught us off guard” because nothing is “set,” as the headline declared. Hagey says he has a specific site in mind but that it has yet to be secured.
Last year, Hagey passed on ownership of the 24-year-old music fest to Live Nation, which moved it to the Coors Amphitheatre parking lot. It drew an estimated 10,000 paid fans (compare that to 105,000 in 2004). This year, Live Nation gave Street Scene back to Hagey.
Hagey says he may partner with another large promoter for this year’s event; if he doesn’t, it may be hard to secure big-name talent because he’d be getting a late start. Hagey says he has no “tentative holds” with talent agents who represent nationally known musicians. He would not rule out a scaled-down event.
“Everyone wants Street Scene to go back to the way it was before,” says Parker. “The problem [with a downtown Street Scene] is space. Redevelopment has put buildings on most of the parking lots. The big acts don’t fit down there anymore.…
“There’s a whole demo who was in their 30s who saw the Street Scene in the early days who miss the Cajun, blues, and jazz. They would probably come back.”
– Ken Leighton