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Santa Monica Pier Concert Series Succeeds in Drawing Much Smaller Crowds
By Jorge Casuso
September 13, 2018 -- If the first two concerts are an indication, Santa Monica's efforts to scale down its wildly popular Twilight Concert series on the Pier has been a success.
For a second week, attendance fell far short of last year's overflow crowds, which City officials feared had grown so large they posed potential dangers.
This week's concert, which featured Australian rock bands, drew a larger crowd than last week's kick off of the "reimagined" concert series, which was moved from July to September as it entered its 34th year, police said.
That was likely due to the social media presence of one of the bands and warmer weather, said Lt. Saul Rodriguez, the Police Department spokesman.
"Yesterday was busier," Rodriguez said. "There were some people on the sand."
But the crowd was still about one-third the size of those at last year's concerts, Rodriguez said.
The crowds so far this year have been far more "manageable," requiring a small law enforcement presence, Rodriguez said.
Last year's concerts were policed by more than 100 law enforcement officers from Santa Monica and officers from Culver City, Irwindale, Glendale and the Los Angeles County Sheriffs.
This year's events have been patrolled solely by Santa Monica officers.
"The numbers have been reduced," said Rodriguez, who declined to say how many officers were deployed due to security concerns.
Rodriguez said police have checked the rest of this year's lineups and determined that "no major acts scheduled are expected to draw big crowds."
"The crowds have been smaller," he said. "Hopefully it stays that way."
The new schedule features four acts on three stages, instead of a headliner -- often a well-known act or rising star -- and an opening act, both on a main stage.
Instead of eight Thursday nights concerts, the newly christened "twilight on the Pier" concert series is staging five consecutive Wednesday evening concerts and a Sunday evening finale on October 7.
The City Council approved the changes in December, when it rejected a recommendation from staff to put the series on a one-year hiatus ("Santa Monica 'Twilight' Concert Series on Pier Survives Proposal for 2018 Hiatus," December 13, 2017).
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