Viejas doubles down on live music

New Viejas in the Park venue looks to draw major-name acts

Viejas' Concerts in the Park venue, which was once the setting for the San Diego Music Awards, was replaced in 2010 by an ice-skating rink.
  • Viejas' Concerts in the Park venue, which was once the setting for the San Diego Music Awards, was replaced in 2010 by an ice-skating rink.

Viejas Casino, the once thriving host of touring music headliners, is about to unveil a new venue that may re-establish the resort as a host for major artists. The new Viejas in the Park venue will be available in April.

“We look forward to having shows throughout the summer,” says Anthony San Pietro, President of Viejas Entertainment and Production.

San Pietro says the new outdoor venue will be able to seat 2500 with another 1000 capacity available on a general admission (standing) basis. He says Viejas has made a commitment to a state-of-the-art sound system.

Viejas has had a strong tradition as a major-name venue. It’s Concerts in the Park series, which ran from 2003 to 2009, has presented up to 30 headliners a year, including Brooks & Dunn, Good Charlotte, Styx, Seeteher, Unwritten Law, Rilo Kiley, Leanne Rimes, Gabriel Igleasias, and Carlos Mencia.

The Concerts in the Park venue, which was also the setting for numerous San Diego Music Awards shows, was replaced in 2010 by an ice-skating rink.

Viejas’ 800-capacity Dream Catcher Lounge hosted Band Perry, Colbie Caillat, Luke Bryant, and the Cult. That theater was razed four years ago.

The new Viejas in the Park venue will be adjacent to Viejas’ hotel and pool.

San Pietro says a key component to the Viejas in the Park concert experience will be high-end, VIP packages in its cabana, mezzanine, and balcony areas.

The challenge for Viejas would seem to be finding the talent-buyer who can bring the big names back to the casino, which is about 40 minutes from downtown. San Pietro says he would be open to any major promoter, such as Live Nation or AEG, who may want to use his new outdoor showcase. L.A.-based Nederlander Concerts booked the Concerts in the Park.

At press time, San Pietro would not name any upcoming shows. He says that the artists booked at the new venue will compliment the total experience of the Viejas guests, as opposed to a self-standing EDM concert that would attract non-guests.

“We will announce [shows] as soon as we can talk about it,” San Pietro tells the Reader.

Viejas Casino

5005 Willows Road, Alpine

San Pietro says Viejas, “never stopped having bands,” and that cover and dance bands continue to play Wednesday through Saturday in the casino.

Meanwhile, insiders say there will be yet another casino-connected entertainment showcase arriving this summer. One music industry veteran once involved with another local casino says that the new Hollywood Casino Jamul-San Diego, set to open this summer, will host live music, and that it will not just be limited to lounge acts and cover bands.

The new Jamul entertainment/gambling complex is about 20 miles east of downtown San Diego. Hollywood Casino Jamul will be anchored by a three-story casino and numerous bars and restaurants. It’s cost is estimated at nearly $400 million.

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