July 2 marks the opening night of the Twilight Dance series, a program of free concerts featuring “eclectic and exciting world music.” said Ben Franz-Knight, the Executive Director of the Santa Monica Pier. He added, “The concerts’ goals are to introduce new artists and bring back old favorites,” The concerts occur every Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m. until September 3.
The parking lot on the Santa Monica Pier is being revamped into a suitable stage for these shows. Chairs can be rented at the event, or guests may bring their own. It has become traditional for many attendees to bring blankets and picnics and watch from the sand for that real beach vibe.
“Santa Monica celebrates three anniversaries this summer: The 25th Anniversary of the Twilight Dance Series, The 100 Year Anniversary of the Santa Monica Pier, and the 85th Anniversary of The La Monica Ballroom,” said Franz-Knight. To commemorate these anniversaries, The Pier will have a dance floor, many musicians from a variety of different genres, and for the first time, a wine bar available for patrons.
A part of the proceeds will benefit the Surfrider Foundation, a non-profit organization determined to preserve the world’s oceans and beaches. Many of the artists set to perform also promote worthy causes. Such performers include Joan Baez who advocates peace and human rights, The Idan Raichel Project, a band that focuses on love and tolerance in Israel, and Lila Downs whose music is concerned with current political issues, and more.
Musical acts come from around the world to perform a wide a variety of music ranging from pop to jazz to reggae. The scheduled musicians include: Playing for Change Band, Joan Baez with Tift Merritt, Sgt Garcia and Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Johnny Vana & The Big Band Alumni, Orchestra Baobab, Dave Alvin & the Guilty Women and Paul Thorn, Idan Raichel Project and Elijah Emanuel, Lukas Nelson & The Promise of the Real, Lila Downs and Very Be Careful, and the series is set to conclude with a performance by Patti Smith.
Along with the multicultural music, Wally’s Wine will be serving wines from noted regions around the globe including Australia, Spain, Italy, France, and of course California. Different wines will be served every one to two weeks. “We have been preparing for three and one half months. It is a new and innovative way to showcase wineries and venues,” said Jason Haze, from W.J. Deutsch, fine wine merchants. Tickets for the wine bar can be purchased at the concerts and cost 20 dollars each.
“Parking for The Twilight Dance Series will be limited,” said Franz-Knight, “so The Santa Monica Pier encourages people to walk and ride their bikes.” A complimentary valet bike service will be available, and dogs are permitted if they are on leash. The combination of music, wine, and the beach is a fantastic way to enjoy the summer evenings in the beautiful city of Santa Monica.