Street Scene At Crossroads

The failure of a proposal to relocate his Street Scene festival to San Diego’s Balboa Park leaves promoter Rob Hagey in an interesting position.

Should he leave the festival where it is, the 2.5-million-square-foot west parking lot of Qualcomm Stadium, and possibly continue to face declining attendance numbers following the event’s record attendance in 2004?

Or should he move it somewhere else – maybe even out of the city? Should he tinker with the now punk- and hip-hop-heavy format of the festival or return it to its pre-2004 format, which was a more eclectic affair that included blues, reggae, zydeco and world music?

Hagey declined to offer specifics about why he felt Balboa Park, which is home to numerous performing arts centers, museums and the San Diego Zoo, would have been a good fit for Street Scene, but he did say that he’s exploring other possible sites for the festival, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. But he also stressed that the event could return to Qualcomm next year.

"I’m open to any ideas," Hagey told the UnionTribune. "Every venue we look at creates its own approach, and the festival will be designed around that. I always want to create a stunning-looking festival, and everything changes depending on the location. Qualcomm brings a lot of unique characteristics to Street Scene. We’re just exercising due diligence in the search for potential sites."

One option Hagey said wasn’t feasible is returning the festival to its downtown roots. He says there’s no way the festival could be held downtown the way it is.

He also told the paper he doesn’t see much see the chance of spreading the festival out by using facilities like Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and Embarcadero Marina Park South, saying "the stars would really have to align for that configuration to work."

As far as altering the festival’s format, Hagey does plan to bring back some festive elements from Street Scene’s past, like African and Latin drum troupes, and he plans to gradually reincorporate other musical styles while not alienating Street Scene’s current audience, the paper said.

Hagey, who is 56, said, "I have to create an event for people half my age or younger."