Photo by Darrell Alonzi
Eric Medina and Justin Navalle at The Deep End’s New Year’s Eve party in Rosarito
The Deep End held 20 events in 2016, 13 of which were warehouse parties that showcased primarily electronic music acts. The San Diego collective of event producers, musicians and artists are looking to the year ahead, but in the wake of the Ghost Ship tragedy in Oakland, The Deep End’s schedule is recognizably different.
“This year our focus has to be safety,” says Deep End co-founder Eric Medina, who visited The Ghost Ship several years back. “It’s definitely something that we want to be proactive about, not reactive.”
The Deep End’s other founder, Justin Navalle, visited the site soon after it burned down.
“The Oakland thing really affected us,” Medina says. “We had an event the following week, and we were very uneasy going into the event. All of the partners were making sure that people were being as safe as possible, because that’s our main thing.”
At The Deep End’s warehouse parties, capacity is regulated, security is present and exits are secure, but the Ghost Ship’s tragic end struck a chord with them. In 2017, instead of hosting at undesignated venues like auto body shops, The Deep End will be popping up in established venues such as Kava Lounge, Spin Nightclub, Blonde Bar and World Beat Center. The warehouse party scene may slow in the wake of Ghost Ship, but it won’t be obsolete. Medina and Navalle may still plan a couple under-the-radar shows, and will also turn to other unconventional venues to mimic the darker, more intimate vibe that’s unique to warehouses.
“We definitely don’t want people to come to a spot and get the vibe of a big club with glitz and glamour of all these lights flashing everywhere,” Medina says.
Their ideal atmosphere includes artists, many of which Medina and Navalle first scoped at art shows at the La Bodega gallery space in Barrio Logan. The gallery itself is a warehouse and was recently regulated for safety concerns by the San Diego Fire Marshal. To help fundraise for renovations, The Deep End is raffling off t-shirts and tickets for their festival, West Coast Weekender, at La Bodega’s benefit event at the Quartyard event space in the East Village on Saturday, Jan. 28.
“We just want to make sure people are as safe as possible, especially since the city will be cracking down on it,” Medina says. “That’s one thing, but we want to keep it going because the community in San Diego is very special.”