Before I even entered the venue, I was impressed with how well Kathy and Willie Payne and their staff organized their Lites-Out Jazz at the Beach concert last Sunday.
Clearly marked signs directed patrons to the VIP parking lot where volunteers waved us through and pointed to available spaces to park our car. From there, it was a few steps to the entrance where competent staff immediately exchanged our tickets for wristbands and meal/drink tickets. When I entered the venue, I was thrilled to notice a “cooling station.” Even though we were a few sandy yards from the cool, wavy, waters, the two industrial-sized fans blowing cool air in this shady tented area was more refreshing than the ocean breeze.
I had my own chair, so I claimed my space in this coolness and sat there for the first two hours. San Diego County was suffering through record heat that weekend (nearly 90, plus humidity at the coast!), and as much as I love live jazz, all I cared about was surviving this intense heatwave. Although I couldn’t see the stage from the cooling station, I certainly could hear the wonderful sounds of Brian Simpson and Marc Antoine.
By the time Steve Oliver took the stage, the sun had moved far enough west that our seats were now in the shade. So, I was able to enjoy the rest of the performances in front of the stage, which also included Eric Darius as the closing act.
Fans not only got to meet the artists after each performance and get a CD signed, they also had photo opportunities at the step-and-repeat.
In addition to the men’s health awareness fair, wonderful food and beverage vendors lined the perimeter of the venue. Pulled-pork sandwiches, sausages with grilled onions and peppers, barbecue, gyros, Greek salad, home-made ice cream, chocolate kabobs and other tasty treats were available for purchase. And, even more convenience as wait staff served patrons at tables and those seated in rows of chairs.
And, on the practical side, there were plenty of clean, running-water restroom facilities as well as trash and recycle bins.
This first event offered all of the perks and comforts one could possibly hope for at an outdoor concert or festival, including spectacular beach views. And, there’s more good news…the Paynes are planning a full series at the Oceanside Pier Amphitheatre in 2015!
Bravo, Kathy and Willie Payne!
For more information, visit www.litesoutjazzatthebeach.com.