For 32 years on summer Sundays, the free La Jolla Concerts by the Sea series has provided a diverse soundtrack to picturesque family outings. Continuing the tradition, the 33rd annual eight-concert series kicks off 2 p.m. July 17 with Sue Palmer & her Motel Swing Orchestra in Scripps Park at La Jolla Cove, and continues 2-4 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 4.
Drawing nearly 1,000 people per concert, emcee of 19 years Ron Jones said the shows are a “Wonderful pastiche of music from country to boogie woogie to oldies and beyond.” There’s even a platform for dancing.
This year’s lineup includes: The Mighty Untouchables (rock ‘n’ roll) on July 24, Bill Magee Blues Band on July 31, The Kings of 88 (piano rock) on Aug. 7, Theo & The Zydeco Patrol on Aug. 14, The Hot Pursuit Band (classic rock/variety hits) on Aug. 21, Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash (Americana) on Aug. 28 and The Heroes (rock ‘n’ roll) on Sept. 4.
“It’s a great experience, so bring the family, especially the kids, for something they will never forget,” Jones said. “It’s an afternoon at the beach with incredible music. There are people who come here from out of town just for this, so we say when in La Jolla, make the concerts a stop on your schedule … and you can’t beat the price.”
To get the most from each concert experience, Jones advises: “Wear sunscreen; bring a chair or something comfortable to sit on because its lounge time in the park; get there early to get that primo seat or you might end up behind someone’s umbrella; don’t bring the dogs, and if you bring a beverage, bring a plastic bottle. But it’s hard not to enjoy it, the concerts are two hours of solid entertainment.”
Sponsored by local businesses, organizations and music lovers, and supplemented by the San Diego Arts & Culture Commissions, concession sales and volunteers, each concert costs more than $2,500 to put together. Bullseye Kettle Corn and Hot Dogs partners with the event to offer hot dogs, fresh lemonade, kettle corn and shaved ice, with a portion of their proceeds going to support the concerts. Other concessions available for purchase include water, soda, chips, candy, ice cream bars and fruit popsicles.
“We appreciate our sponsors and those who contribute, because we’re just a small bunch of volunteers who love what they do, and the payback is the attendance,” Jones said. To further fundraise, local business donate gifts that are raffled off at the end of each show.
“It’s love fest every Sunday,” he added.
Jones said he and Laura DeBell choose the talent each year from band submissions and annual favorites.
“Sue Palmer is a crowd-pleaser; she loves what she does — and it shows — and her music is a lot of fun. But there has to be something for everyone. Our mission is to present music from across the spectrum for all palates.” Jones and DeBell submits their picks for approval to an independent non-profit board that directs the concerts. With some familiar faces from years past, this year’s lineup promises to provide an afternoon of family fun each summer Sunday.
On the Web: ljconcertsbythesea.org