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Pershing Park’s Historic Plaza del Mar Bandstand to Welcome Young Musicians for Free Summer Concert

The public is invited to a free concert at the historic Plaza del Mar bandstand at Pershing Park from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 20, 2016.

This is the first time a concert has been held at the bandstand in more than a decade. The free concert will feature local Spencer Barnitz, of Spencer the Gardener fame; Voodoo Lounge, a Rolling Stones cover band; The Agreeables and David Loeppke; Let Flo Go, a family songwriting trio from Goleta; Young Gunz and Vital Signs, two young bands who will perform among the more established and recognizable local acts; and tropical rockers LAYOVER, who will close the show in true laid-back, Santa Barbara beach style.

Roger Perry has been organizing community concerts for young musicians in Santa Barbara since his son JT formed his first band at age 12. Perry’s first concert was in 2010 at Casa de la Guerra.

Over the last 6 years, Perry has been the man behind the concerts at Skater’s Point, Fiesta’s Mercado del Norte Main Stage, the 4th of July Concert at West Beach and Unite4Jacob, a fundraising concert for a local boy who was badly burned in 2015.

Perry’s concerts are always free. His goal is to give local talent a chance to play on a big stage with a professional sound system, whether they’re accomplished musicians or it’s their first time performing.

Perry, a Bishop Diego Garcia alumnus and former volleyball player and coach, remembers the abundance of local outdoor concerts while growing up in Santa Barbara and has been trying to recreate those experiences for his kids and the local community. A concert in the majestic, white bandstand at Plaza del Mar has been his dream for years.

According to Perry, “The bandstand in Plaza Del Mar Park is the last remaining structure from the original bathhouse built on West Beach in the 1890’s. From its inception, it was a summer location that hosted entertainment for locals and tourists alike.”

In 1891, the city developed “Ocean Boulevard” along Santa Barbara’s oceanfront from Castillo to State Street. It included Plaza del Mar, a public park with benches, a fountain and a bandstand, and later Los Banos del Mar.

A large section of Plaza del Mar was removed to extend Cabrillo Boulevard to the Harbor and Cliff Drive. The bandstand has stood empty for years awaiting the return of entertainers.

Backing from the Santa Barbara Bowl Educational Outreach Foundation has made this concert possible.

Local reporter John Palminteri will host the end-of-summer concert, with a special performance by dance group La Boheme. HEAT Culinary will provide food for purchase. Parking is available in Pershing Park and on surrounding streets.

As in summers long past, tourists and locals can celebrate the end of summer together, listening to local musicians perform at the Plaza del Mar bandstand in Pershing Park. 

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