Summer concerts are on, movies aren’t


First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner helped save La Jolla Concerts By The Sea this year, but La Jolla Parks & Rec. Inc. has canceled its popular Movies By The Sea summer shows at the Cove due to budget cuts.

“Sherri Lightner is our hero, I can’t say enough about what she did,” said ShirleyMae Davis, board chair of the nonprofit concerts organization that has run the free, live summer music concert series at Scripps Park on Sunday afternoons for the past 26 years.

Davis said concert organizers and the city had come to an impasse in negotiations they have each year to host the event. She approached Lighter who successfully mediated the situation.

“The city said we could no longer use city electricity that we had been using for 26 years and wanted us to operate on a generator,” said Davis. “I said, ‘We can’t do that.’ I don’t know what kind of magic they (Lightner’s office) did, but the problem got solved in a week and a day.”

Lightner aide Erin Demorest said, as a condition of their Special Event permit with the city to hold the annual concert series, Concerts by the Sea was told they would be responsible for providing their own electricity, either needing to install a submeter to pay for their electricity or rent a generator to power the concerts.

Demorest said the Councilwoman’s office is paying the cost to install the submeter using infrastructure funds. “The submeter was installed last week,” she said in an e-mail. “Sherri wanted to ensure that this family-friendly event was able to go forward without any delays. She is pleased to support arts and cultural events in La Jolla and looks forward to a great summer concert season.”

The only change in La Jolla Concerts by the Sea this year, which is funded by corporate sponsorships and the sales of refreshments and raffle tickets, will be that the number of concerts has been reduced from 11 to nine,” said Davis. She added the first Sunday concert will also begin later than usual on July 11.

Sponsors contribute $2,400 to cover each concert performance. In 2009, only five of the 11 events had been subsidized prior to the onset of the concert series. An 11th- hour community fundraising drive netted the difference, but Davis vowed afterwards never to allow that to happen again.

Sponsorship hasn’t been a problem this year. “I’m happy to tell you we’re fully subscribed,” Davis said.

But it doesn’t appear that Movies By The Sea, a summer movie outdoors at the Cove co-presented the last few years by nonprofit La Jolla Parks & Rec. Inc. and Promote La Jolla, the community’s former business improvement district, will be as fortunate.

“We’re not showing any movie, partly because of budget cuts and partly because I’m going to be in Europe the month of August,” said Hobe Schroder, parks board treasurer, about the event which he’s organized. “There’s a remote possibility that something might happen in September. But nothing’s been planned; no permits or anything.”

In the past, two summer movie events were held outdoors at the Cove with the help of a $7,000 grant from Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. But the economic downturn last year caused that funding to be cut.

Movies By The Sea was saved at the last minute in 2009 when CommCinema stepped forward offering to show the film for half — under $2,000 — its previous cost. La Jolla Parks and Rec, Inc. also anteed up $2,500 to bring one movie back, “The Wizard Of Oz.”

La Jolla Concerts by the Sea sponsors this year are Casa de Manana, Charles White, Cymer, Inc., Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, La Jolla Rotary Club, La Jolla Village News, Music Performance Fund, San Diego County Board of Supervisors and White Sands of La Jolla.

The concert schedule

July 11 – Rockola

July 18 - Blue Breeze Band

July 25 – Big Time Operator

Aug. 1 – Laura Roppe

Aug. 8 – Benny Hollman’s Big Band Explosion

Aug. 15 – Incendio

Aug. 22 – Bill Magee Blues Band

Aug. 29 – Alegato (feat. Allison Adams Tucker)

Sept. 5 – The Heroes