Santa Monica Pier Series Announces Lineup and New Fall Dates (Exclusive)

Betty Who
Josh Weichman
– Betty Who
Sloss Music & Arts Festival in Birmingham, Ala.

Betty Who, Judy Mowatt, Fela Tribute, Orquesta Akokan and Red Baraat have been announced for Santa Monica’s 2018 Twilight on the Pier series, the new name for the free concert series on the Santa Monica Pier known throughout its 33-year history as the Twilight Concert Series. This year the free music series was moved from summer to fall and is being presented as a “more art-focused and local festival” in an effort to help control over-crowding.
The six dates will once again be presented by the Santa Monica Pier Corporation and RH&S Concerts, the joint venture between Mitchell Frank’s Spaceland Presents and Martin Fleischmann’s Rum & Humble.  The Echo’s founder/bookers Frank and Liz Garo curated the series with longtime Hollywood Bowl producer Fleischmann.
The weekly performances will take place on five consecutive Wednesdays, starting Sept. 5, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with the final concert on a Sunday night, Oct. 7, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

For the first time, three separate stages will be set up on the Pier – Pier Deck, Pacific Park, West End – featuring different acts in a festival setting.  The public beach adjacent to the Pier will not be activated for viewing or picnics as in the past, which contributed to the overcrowding and safety issues that over the past few years have marred the increasingly popular series.


In December 2017, the Santa Monica City Council approved a motion to move the series from summer to after labor day and reduce the number of concerts from eight to six in an effort to control crowding which came after some called for an end to the much beloved series. The Pier, which has a capacity of roughly 8,000, had as many as 25,000 to 35,000 show up for one show last year. This came after the 2017 series was cut back from ten shows to eight. 
“The Twilight Concert Series is without a doubt one of the most admired events in Santa Monica,” said the coastal city’s Mayor Ted Winterer after last year’s Council decision, “but we need to re-imagine it to ensure the safety of those attending.”
This year’s series, dubbed “Local Meets Global,” will back away from nationally recognized acts like Khalid or Warpaint, who performed at last year’s downsized event.  Each of this year’s shows will be set around sub-genre musical themes that reflect L.A.’s cultural diversity, including Latin Waves (Sept. 5, headlined by Cuban mambo big band
Newly named Santa Monica Pier Corporation Executive Director Negin Singh, who came aboard in January, is looking to concentrate the Twilight on the Pier concert series on the Pier itself and its three stages, offering region-specific food vendors, art installations, activations, games and a beer and spirits garden.  The University of California Irvine theater grad was previously the artistic and executive director for cARTel (Collaborative Arts L.A.), an event production company championing local artists.
“This series is a true celebration of the values that the Pier holds so dearly: diversity, collaboration, and fun,” Singh said. “With two new stages, a new ‘art walk’ vibe, and a focus on creating a sustainable, safe event that will last another three decades, ‘Twilight on the Pier’ will feel different in a lot of ways from past years, but the spirit stays the same: getting people from all walks of life together to connect in a glorious setting with music and art.
“The ‘Local Meets Global’ theme not only explores different cultures but dives deep into the rich diversity within those cultures as well. We hope to provide our audience with a deeper understanding of what world music has to offer, and how it influences artists right here at home.”
KCRW remains the series’ media partner, while Snapchat is also still aboard as a sponsor, along with Aperol, White Claw, Beanfields, KeVita Kombucha, Lyft, Boxed Water, Zico, Cliff and the Albright.
The full line-up is as follows:
Latin Waves (Wed., Sept 5): Orquesta Akokan, Jarina De Marco, Quitapenas, Sister Mantos
Australia Rocks the Pier (Sept. 12): Betty Who, Touch Sensitive
Island Vibes (Sept. 19): Judy Mowatt, Bokante, Danny Holloway
Eclectic Indie (Sept. 26): Brazilian Girls, Sudan Archives, Capyac
Afrobeat R&B (Oct. 3): Fela! The Show, Tiffany Gouche, Twilight Drum Circle, DJ Nnamdi
South Asian Sounds (Sunday, Oct. 7): Red Baraat, Vidya Vox, DJ Rekha, Discostan