Santa Monica Pier continues its concert tradition

As the hot summer nights are winding down and classes are picking up, the Santa Monica Pier continues to hold free concerts on Thursday nights. Even in its 29th year, the Twilight Concerts at the Pier still manage to attract crowds that make their way to the weekly event.

Santa Monica's traditional concert series started on July 11 and showcases contemporary and classic music by local and national musicians every Thursday from 7 to 10 p.m.

With the stage up on the Pier, audience members have the option of sitting near the stage or below on the beach, with a jumbo screen showing all of the action.

The lower seating portion of the concert hosts hundreds of people bringing blankets, chairs, food and friends. But the chatter and conversations on the beach can be drowning, making the music barely audible.

On the Pier, where the stage music is blaring, some attendees sing along to the lyrics while dancing. The area is scattered with vendors like Cotton On and other concert sponsors, as well as nearby eateries.

But the audience is not limited to either the beach or the stage to listen to the music, as Santa Monica College student Nagar Pashmforoush discovered.

“We can go on rides during the performance and still hear the music,” she said.

While the talents of others are mainly what attracts Pashmforoush to the concert, the music is not the only component that brings in people of all ages.

“It’s a Santa Monica event,” said SMC nursing student Justin Steinberg at the concert. “I like to show pride in my community.”

The atmosphere of a community coming together also hit local Manhattan Beach lawyer and habitual concertgoer Valerie Golodnitska, who said she "likes coming here with friends after a long week of working."

The particular night of August 29 held up to the theme of Jazz and Blues as the concert took the audience through a musical trip to New Orleans. The night started off with the Venice-based bluegrass group "Dustbowl Revival," then ended the night with Grammy-nominee "Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue."

While arriving early is a must in order to be anywhere near the musicians during their performances, arriving there may still take half the effort, as the concert begins during rush-hour traffic in Santa Monica.

Yet there are sustainable ways of transportation for the event, such as the free bicycle parking or the various public buses that run in the Santa Monica area.

With only two more concerts remaining this summer, the 29th Annual Twilight Concerts will end this year's series on Sept. 12.