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San Diego’s Street Scene Weighs Options

SAN DIEGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — San Diego’s oldest and largest music festival is at a crossroads that could determine its very essence and meaning – where should the future Street Scene events be held and who should play?

The festival may relocate to a new site this year, after two years in a sprawling, 2.5 million sq. ft. lot adjacent to Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, where it moved after 20 years in downtown San Diego. The event was recently denied the opportunity to be held in nearby Balboa Park.

Rob Hagey, who launched Street Scene in 1984 and has headed it ever since, said last week that he is exploring other possible sites for his festival, both within and beyond city limits, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“I’m open to any ideas,” Hagey told the paper. “Every venue we look at creates its own approach, and the festival will be designed around that. I always want to create a stunning-looking festival, and everything changes depending on the location. Qualcomm brings a lot of unique characteristics to Street Scene. We're just exercising due diligence in the search for other potential sites.”

The event is also being forced to reconsider its musical identity. In the past 20 years, it has seen acts from outside its base punk-rock ethos, including blues, zydeco and various world music styles. The past three years, however, it has slimmed down its variety and focused on punk, hip-hop and contemporary rock, and opened its doors to fans of all ages. The first festival to do so drew a record 105,000 attendees in 2004.

Attendance has slipped since, dropping to 75,000 in 2005 and only 70,000 in 2006, leading many to push for Street Scene to return to its downtown roots.

“People say ‘Bring it back downtown,’ but there is no way it can be downtown the way it is,” Hagey told the Union-Tribune.

The event was a victim of its own success and the downtown renaissance it helped spur, and soon outgrew its home in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter and East Village.

Other suggestions have include moving into Petco Park, or using the nearby San Diego Convention Center or the adjacent Embarcadero Marino Park South, which is currently the summer home for both the San Diego Symphony and the Bayside at Viejas concert series.

“Those are interesting ideas, but the stars would have to really align for that configuration to work,” Hagey told the paper. “The convention center would have to be free, the Padres would have to be out of town on an extended road trip, and the symphony and Viejas would have to both not have anything scheduled that weekend. Then, we'd have to get permission to close Harbor Drive, so that people could cross back and forth on foot.”

Hagey expects to announce an official site for the 2007 Street Scene in the near future. Stay tuned to CelebrityAccess for more details. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers