Saint Rocke/HB Council Go Separate Ways on Beach Concerts

October 2, 2018

I just came across this yesterday on the Hermosa Beach Summer Concerts Facebook page. These concerts have become a beloved community tradition, and as stated below, THE marquee music event in the South Bay. I’m so disappointed, furious really, to learn how the city has treated Saint Rocke. An RFP, really??? What happened to keeping it LOCAL???

Here is the full story.
Thank you Hermosa for the last decade.
What a long strange trip it’s been.

Saint Rocke was asked by Steve Burrell 10 years ago to help produce the concerts after City Employees failed producing them on multiple levels (remember Rebelution?). The City couldn’t pay us, but we didn’t care! We wanted music on the beach to stay alive – which is the mission of Saint Rocke.

So for the last decade, our team has spent 45 sundays in August on the beach, for 12 hours a day, to make these concerts happen. Every year we’ve improved the experience while keeping it local & authentic: better sound system, better stage, video screens, better ADA access, more quality acts, the list goes on. We actually lost money doing this the first few years until we got local business leaders like Shannon Doiron, Mike Lacarguy Sullivan, and Michael Greenberg to trust us and help fund these shows, getting us into the black in order to pay our team. We’ve worked like hell to create value by making the stages professional, creating digital media & content, setting up artist meet’n’greets, having kid’s band contests, and much more. We’ve done our job, and hopefully you’d agree: we’ve been a good partner. These concerts have become THE marquee music event in the South Bay annually.

But like you, we can’t continue to work for FREE after 10 years of no production fee. My staff has families now, and I have a wife & daughter. We asked the City a few years ago to consider subsidizing the concerts or give us some opportunity to offset the costs (Jazz fest instead of Fiesta!), like every other City in California does, but at the time Nanette Barragán was busy exploiting Hermosa Beach like a lily pad, and she grandstanded me in public. Confused, I decided to put my head down and continue producing, hoping that the next round of City Council would be individuals that had lived here and understood the dynamic of the South Bay, and just how valuable (and rare) good partnerships are these days.

I was wrong. I asked the City Council this year to reconsider in March, and after stalling me until after the concerts and a pseudo subcommittee formation (with no meetings), two Councilmembers have decided that the concerts should go out to RFP. Yes, I’m disappointed, but more than that — I want the Community to know this so if/when the Concerts fail or come back not as good as they once were, Saint Rocke is not held responsible. After 20 years in Hermosa Beach, I can’t help being discouraged by the current Council and what seems to be their representation of a few, not the whole. Hermosa is supposed to be an artsy, funky, music & culture-rich town… and now the Council makes you pull a permit to have an acoustic guitarist come play at a business. Jeff Duclos thank you — you’ve supported me and you’re the only native on the Council — means alot.

Saint Rocke will not be answering the RFP, as I believe it’s a slap in the face to a partner after our decade of gratis work. But let me be clear, I hope someone comes forward and picks up the torch. I want the concerts to continue, as we are losing more music & art everyday. But it can’t be us anymore. I believe in paying people for their work, and if I’m not working, I’ll be out there in the crowd with a picnic basket and my family hanging with all of you.

You should know — Concert producers don’t work for free. By the time the City figures out how to write an RFP for this (or hires a consultant!), and the process goes full circle, you might just end up with no concerts. So stay on top of your Council!! And lastly, we’ve been blessed to have partnered with the City of Redondo to deliver more live music in the South Bay and will be launching the BeachLife Music Festival in May 2019. Hopefully we’ll see you there and thanks for the memories everyone. Thank you Jeff Duclos, Carolyn Petty, Sam Edgerton, Art Yoon, Michael J Divirgilio & Associates, Kit Bobko, Peter Tucker, and to the others in the City that have supported us.

Thanks also to all the bands. Everclear, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, English Beat, Sashamon, Jimmy Buffett and the Coral Reefers, Pine Mountain Logs, Trevor Hall, Tyrone Wells, Chris Pierce, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, The Mother Hips, Hellogoodbye, Nikka Costa, ZZ Ward, Anuhea, The Aggrolites, Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real, Pato Banton, Brett Dennen, Young Dubliners, Robby Krieger, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cubensis- Grateful Dead Music Experience, and everyone else that I couldn’t name here.

Adam Spriggs, Nate Simpkins, Katie Henley, Colleen Sanford, Alison Clay-Duboff — you all made it happen.