The development of downtown San Diego has done a lot of good. The area now boasts fewer blue dots on the Megan's Law website than there used to be, which is nice. But with every building that goes in, something gets squeezed out. And that's what happened to the hugely popular urban party known as Street Scene in 2005.
Last year, instead of snaking through the streets of the Gaslamp, the event was held in the Petco Park parking lot-which was like moving from a nook-and-crannied Victorian to military housing. This year, they're on another slab o' steamin' tar, and the nearest street is named after Don Coryell.
Qualcomm stadium is the spot, and it'll be filled with as many people who showed up each Sunday last year to see Drew Brees give CPR to his career. And as of press time, the city hasn't offered a ticket guarantee.
Unless you're at a Judas Priest concert, parking lots aren't very cool places to hang out. Whether it works or not, head honcho Rob Hagey and crew have taken extra measures to ensure it doesn't feel like an excessively cultured Warped Tour.
First off, the lineup is worthy, including namers like The White Stripes, Pixies, Snoop Dogg and The Flaming Lips alongside record-geek runaways like Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Viva Voce and Autolux. They've also brought in extra Street Scene eye candy and diversions, including carnival-style rides just in case Fergie of Black Eyed Peas makes you nauseous and you wanna finish the job.
It's not Hagey's fault that downtown is too impacted now to hold the event. Moreover, it's the Gaslamp Association's loss. But it's kind of a make-or-break year for Street Scene. Hopefully they can overcome the odds and make an undesirable venue cool for two days. If not, we could be looking at the end of an era and a gaping hole in San Diego's cultural almanac.
Either way, you're going to be able to watch the Pixies play San Diego while a nearby veteran bitches about how "they can't call it "Street Scene' when it's in a fuckin' parking lot.'"
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, Mission Valley.
When: July 29 and 30. Gates open at 4 p.m., music from 4:30 p.m. to midnight.
Age: Open to all ages;
21+ in the VIP area.
Cost: $55 for a single-day.
Two-day passes are $85. visit www.street-scene.com or call
VIP: If you're going for both days-and think a good concert experience is worth the price of a mid-size iPod-then it's not a bad idea to buddy-up with someone and splurge on these suckers. Nice getaway from the throng. For $300, you get two tickets for both days with special VIP parking and entrance; a cash bar with not-as-grueling lines; upgraded porta-potties (oxymoron, we know); decent dinner included each night (choice of stuff like chicken fajitas, Cajun-style Andouille sausage, Texas briskets and salads for veggie-folk); and eight bands that are only playing for VIPs (Mocean Worker, Particle, Viva Voce, Transglobal Underground, The Dead 60's, Gram Rabbit, Something For Rockets and local jazz-trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos). The VIP area includes large plasma TV screens with feeds from the stages, plus pool tables, ping-pong and video games.
Parking: $15. Note: must be purchased ahead of time. We suggest you take the trolley, which goes directly into Qualcomm. Being squashed by drunk music fans is better than sitting in traffic.Odds 'n' Ends: You can't bring booze, drugs, backpacks, dogs, weapons of minor destruction or recording devices, although disposable cameras are cool. And unless you're dying to try out your new aloe plant, bring sunscreen, whitey.