A New Street Scene

A San Diego festival with downtown roots that has struggled to find a suitable home in recent years looks set to take place September 22-23 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, after a lengthy search and a recently announced agreement to produce the event in coordination with Live Nation.

Street Scene organizer Rob Hagey was faced with a difficult decision after seeing his festival, an annual event for more than 20 years, move from the Gaslamp District downtown to a 2.5 million-square-foot parking lot west of Qualcomm Stadium.

Attendance numbers declined. And while the parking lot provided more space for the festival than its former downtown site, several fans were injured during crowd surges at the 2004 and 2006 installments of Street Scene.

Hagey attempted to move the concert to the city’s Balboa Park to no avail, and Street Scene seemed to be at a crossroads.

But a deal with Live Nation could give the floundering festival a much-needed shot in the arm.

As moving the festival back to the streets of downtown didn’t seem feasible in terms of the space needed for such an undertaking, Hagey, along with Live Nation President of Southern California Nick Masters, searched for a better site.

Masters told Pollstar that the fairgrounds could serve as not only a more permanent location, but also one that is far better suited for such a production.

"Del Mar is a very short drive from San Diego and has got all the creature comforts," Masters said. "It has a lot of infrastructure, it has buildings so we can do some things indoors, as well as outdoor stages.

"It has all that parking, it has paved roads. It has places we can do production so you don’t have to go to a field and build everything."

LN and Hagey are making a big push to find artists to play all that infrastructure, as Masters admitted they were running late in securing a lineup.

"We’re getting a bit of a late start on it," Masters said. "We are working really hard to identify who we’re going to make offers to. We’ve gotten a very positive response from every agent and manager that we’ve talked to."

While he couldn’t confirm any artists as of yet, Masters seemed confident, explaining that the timing of this year’s Street Scene places it right between the Austin City Limits and Download festivals, meaning artists will be touring in the West.

He also mentioned that he plans to make "offers to some artists that aren’t even necessarily touring, to see if we can coax them out."

The fair board will vote next month to consider an official contract with Street Scene organizers.