If you live in LA, you may have heard about the summer Twilight Concert Series at the Santa Monica Pier. These appeal to everyone and anyone – the organisers have tried to include a diverse range of music from around the world.
I’m a big fan of these events and have been to several. I will point out, however, that the logistics can be tricky. 2016 is the concert’s 32nd year and I expected to find information about where on the pier the concert is held and other advice. I couldn’t find any.
Having watched the concerts from both available viewpoints (the beach and the Pier), I thought others might benefit from our lessons learned:
- Every concert is free and runs from 7pm to 10pm but get there early if you want to watch from the Pier. The first concert we attended was the second of the season and we arrived at 6pm. There was a short bag checking line and then you were free to roam the concert area. The second time we arrived around 5pm and queued for nearly an hour just to get onto the Pier. Security has definitely increased since the start of the season
- The concert takes place on the left of the Pier before you get to the Bubba Gump restaurant. This is the same area usually used for parking during the week.
- Snapchat is the 2016 sponsor and they have put together free carnival style booths such as the old fashioned sledgehammer game and a game where you drop discs through a pin maze and try to get the highest score. You can win bags, towels, and plushies featuring the snapchat icon, “Ghostface Chillah.”
- There is also a sweetie stand where you can fill a bag with as many sweets as you like for 30 seconds, a flower stall, a photo booth and a couple of other games. One thing about the games is that the queues are pretty long. Expect to wait about 20 minutes to half an hour for each.
- If you’re over 21, there’s a side area where you can get booze (I was too busy playing the silly games described in #5 and #6). The drinking zone is towards the back of the concert area so you don’t get as good a view. It is better than the beach view for the band, though…
- If you leave the Pier concert area, you probably won’t be allowed back in. This makes going to the loo (restroom) rather inconvenient.
- Apart from free samples, there are no food stalls actually in the concert area. Either bring a picnic or get some food to go from other parts of the Pier and bring it with you. Otherwise, expect to live off free boxed water and Cliff bars for three hours.
- If you don’t want queue or care to watch the concert from the Pier, hoards of people set up camp on the beach and watch from there. When we beached it, we were a bit too far to really hear the music, but the atmosphere was great. You could take some blankets, snacks and this is pretty much the only time you can legally drink on the beach.
- The new Expo line offers the perfect no-drive option to get to Santa Monica. As a public transportation fan, I recommend doing this! If you do drive, starting at 4pm, there’s cheap parking at the Santa Monica lot 4S at $3 a pop – with a 12-minute walk. There are lots of closer parking lots around 3rd street or metered spots, but they fill up quickly. Last but not least, there is also the breeze bike option if you live within biking distance.
You’ll need to decide whether to watch from the beach or the Pier. I loved having a go at all the Pier games, the music was louder, and I even won a plushie, but it gets pretty crazy on the pier and I hate queueing. Ultimately, I preferred the mellower scene at the beach.
There are four more concerts left and I look forward to bumping into you there.
Bands left to see:
August 18: Mavis Staples and The Suffers
August 25: Save Ferris, Cibo Matto and Jake Davis
September 1: Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Steady Holiday
September 8: Disco Ohio Players and Holy Ghost
Metro Trip planner – click here
Santa Monica Lot 4 – click here
Breeze Bike info – click here