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San Clemente Journal

Community News - “Bringing the Bands to the Sand” A Summer Recap

Nov 01, 2009 11:02AM ● By Don Kindred

by Bill Thomas

San Clemente’s 2008 Summer Concert Series kicked off on Friday, June 6, with “Live Jazz” performed by the San Clemente High School and Shorecliffs Middle School Jazz Bands. Featuring San Clemente’s finest young musicians, as well as spotlighting local music education, the bands were directed by Richard Perez and Jeremy Chung, respectively. A pre-concert show was also included featuring “Hot Corn,” a student Bluegrass Band highlighting a violin, banjo, bass and guitar ensemble. This performance inaugurated the 9th annual concert event co-sponsored by the City of San Clemente Recreation Department and the Friends of the Beaches, Parks and Recreation Foundation. As the summer warmed up, the remaining three concerts offered eager beachwear- attired audiences live music, dancing, face painting and a tasty BBQ dinner prepared by the Fisherman Restaurant staff. The largest group of attendees sat on chairs strategically placed on the beach between the Marine Safety Station and the pier, while many others reclined in lawn chairs on the grassy area of the parking lot ledge above them. Additionally, music lovers lined the railings of the pier, with others enjoying the music from their restaurant serving tables. From one to two thousand people attended each of these popular events all held on Thursday evenings from 6 pm to sunset. Stars on the Water, a tropical rock and roll group, entertained on July 24. The California Beatles Band, the “Beatles Invasion on the Beach,” performed on August 7,, and a reggae concert featured Natural Incense on August 21.

Peggy Lacayo, Recreation Coordinator, has produced these well-attended musical concerts since their inception in 2000. She said, “One of the fun parts of The Beach Concert Series is the age range of the people environment. It also defines San Clemente’s summer fun with waves breaking to the west, the sunset as your backdrop and dancing in the sand while being entertained by live music. The concerts provide positive energy for all who attend.” 

Typical comments by residents are collectively positive. Longtime local, Barbara Lindquist, gushed, “What could be nicer than listening to music on the beach, bands on the sand, being a part of our community? It’s one of those things that the wonderful Foundation helps put on like the very successful skate park tournaments. 

Joan Neilson, who, with her husband Jim, can always be found at the concerts on the bluff overlooking the concert stage, happily commented, “Just being there with the family and the people and the good vibes, and watching the train going by gives us a sense of community. Jim and I look forward to the beach concerts the year round. We meet our friends there. They bring their grandkids. With the sunset, the music, and the community unity, it’s always a wonderful time. We just love them.” 

Carolyn Beck, who leisurely strolls to every concert from her nearby home reflected, “Bands at the beach at sunset; commuters in passing trains … we’re here; they’re not. It doesn’t get any better than that.” 

A survey of concert attendees conducted by our musical entrepreneur Lacayo garnered 38 respondents, 17 of whom had attended 10 or more of the concerts from their inception. On a scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, 34 rated them nine or ten. The highest proportion suggested increasing the number of concerts to weekly or bi-weekly offerings during the summer. Over half preferred to have them continue in the Pier Bowl area in the future. As to bands, their collective choices were rock, rhythm and blues, or “all musical varieties.” Every person surveyed planned to attend the 2009 summer concerts. As to “improvements,” they suggested such additions as a shuttle bus, louder sound volume, more parking spaces, among other ideas. One person felt the Fisherman Restaurant should pay a percentage of their gross profits to the city parks. As a matter of fact, they already do, on an annual basis. Other favorable comments included: “keep up the great job. We just love it,” “Thanks for the concerts,” “You have cute girls on the staff,” “The concerts improve every year,” and “It’s a great fun family affair.” 

Keep up the splendid work, Peggy and staff; you’ve obviously got a captive audience out there…