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Bring on the buskers: La Jolla merchants group looks to bring street musicians to The Village

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association aims to pair musicians with Village retailers to perform in front of their stores.
The La Jolla Village Merchants Association wants to pair musicians with Village retailers to perform in front of their stores.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Live music is allowed to return to The Village’s indoor venues with relaxed coronavirus restrictions in San Diego County, but it might also be returning to the streets. The La Jolla Village Merchants Association is looking to match musicians with retailers that want them in front of their stores.

LJVMA previously brought musicians to The Village through its Enjoya La Jolla community outings, featuring entertainment, shopping deals and demos, refreshments, prizes, contests and more. Though Enjoya La Jolla is not back in its full capacity, LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick said the outdoor musical element could return.

She said the board spent $1,500 to $2,000 a month on music for Enjoya La Jolla.

“We have been contacted by many musicians that are looking to get back to playing in The Village,” Rudick said. “We thought we could be a matchmaker for those that want to play music for tips with businesses willing to host them. We don’t usually love the atmosphere of having musicians play with a tip jar, but we think people are OK with it. We want to support our entertainers. We can’t stop someone from playing in The Village, but we hope this will be a little more formal with maybe some signage and make sure it is entertaining.”

Interested musicians would need to apply for a permit with LJVMA to be paired with a store. Association President Cody Decker said the idea is to “vet every musician … to make sure it isn’t some random person.”

A motion to approve the concept passed unanimously. The first pairing will be with the J. McLaughlin clothing store on Girard Avenue, but details were not disclosed.

Other LJVMA news

New-member packet: The board was presented with an early draft of a new-member packet that would be given to every new business that opens in La Jolla. It would contain resources and “information about how the town works,” Decker said, including contacts for the San Diego Development Services Department, Enhance La Jolla and the Maintenance Assessment District, and how to download the city’s Get It Done app. It also would list tourist attractions, arts and culture organizations and landmarks and field questions that businesses often get, such as the locations of public restrooms and the difference between sea lions and seals.

Decker said the draft will be reviewed further before being approved. Once approved, it will go on the LJVMA website.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association meets online April 14.
(Courtesy)

Take-Out Taste of The Village: About 330 diners participated in the inaugural Take-Out Taste of The Village on March 22-25, which netted $2,200. “Based on the success of our first fundraiser, we would like to do more,” Rudick said.

The event spotlighted 16 La Jolla restaurants. Four restaurants each night teamed up to prepare special take-out meals for patrons who paid $85 for the four-course dinners for two. Twenty percent of ticket sales (plus gratuities) goes to the restaurants and the rest goes to the Village Merchants Association.

Rudick suggested that $1,000 of net proceeds be used to seed the organization’s 501(c)(3) nonprofit arm, which would be known as the La Jolla Small Business Foundation. It was not disclosed what would be done with the rest.

“Things are moving slowly in the process, but the articles of incorporation [for the foundation] are being created and submitted to the state,” Rudick said. In February, she said she would share what the organization will focus on as details are confirmed. But, she said, “it will truly be the kind of place where businesses can request funds and where donors can give to help support us in a way that will help their tax deductions.”

A motion to approve the use of Take-Out Taste of The Village proceeds passed unanimously. The board selected Bank of California to launch the foundation’s bank account.

Giant ribbon cutting: On June 15, when the state is slated to lift the tier system of COVID-19-related restrictions and reopen fully, LJVMA will have a giant ribbon cutting to celebrate all the businesses that have opened during the pandemic and encourage people to visit them, Rudick said.

Businesses that have opened since March 2020 can visit lajollabythesea.com and under the “Association” tab, click on “Request a ribbon cutting” and fill out the form to participate.

In-person meetings: Though the next LJVMA meeting will be held online, the board is planning a return to in-person meetings “as soon as we find a public venue that will allow community groups to gather,” Decker said. “We’ll get there when we get there, but patience is key.”

LJVMA next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 12, online. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com under “Association” and “Board, committees & meetings.” ◆