Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Sept. 21, 2021

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Family-friendly festival announced

Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena, Calif., targets adults with children


LOS ANGELES — Add another music festival to the calendar — and invite the kids to this one.

Goldenvoice, the concert promoter responsible for massive Southern California festivals including Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF Fest and Desert Trip, has unveiled the lineup for its newest event, the family friendly Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena.

The inaugural two-day gathering will occur on June 24 and 25 north of the Rose Bowl on the grounds of the Brookside Country Club. The festival will feature three stages of music by rock, soul, jazz, funk and blues acts including Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, John Mayall, the Alabama Shakes, the Shins and more.

Unlike the oft-overwhelming revelry at younger, more-hipster-leaning fests, though, this one will offer a kid-friendly area presented by Kidspace Children’s Museum, art installations and a roster of food and drink vendors that will include some of the area’s most respected chefs and craft breweries.

“Grown-ups can go to festivals, and it turns out there’s a market for it,” said Paul Tollett, CEO of Goldenvoice, during a conversation with him and his colleague Nic Adler at Goldenvoice’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters.

Participating restaurants include Chego, Dog Haus, Fat Dragon, Tikifish and Kogi. Additionally, chefs Bruce Kalman (Union), Dakota Weiss (Sweetfin Poke), Ilan Hall (Ramen Hood), Neal Fraser (Red Bird) and others will be on hand to make food for the masses.

The event is the first since Goldenvoice signed a 10-year contract in 2015 with the Rose Bowl Operating Co., which manages the city-owned stadium. If all goes according to plan, the Arroyo Seco Weekend will occur annually until at least 2026.

The Arroyo Seco joins an expanding lineup of new festivals catering to an older demographic.

Last year Goldenvoice’s sold-out Desert Trip booked baby-boomer favorites including the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and Bob Dylan to appear on the same Indio grounds as Coachella. And while Tollett declined to comment on Desert Trip’s potential return, recently it was reported that Live Nation would bring the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac to Dodger Stadium as part of the Classic West concert.

“We’ve all as promoters had to step up the game because the older you get, the luxuries become necessities,” said Tollett, “but Desert Trip proved that there’s definitely support out there.”

Sitting near a table-top architectural model of the Arroyo Seco festival footprint, Tollett said that he and Adler had an epiphany about the area while tailgating at a UCLA football game. “We were like, ‘Man, this is beautiful,'” Tollett said.

“It breathes a lot, so things aren’t on top of each other,” said Adler, adding that his hope is that the various activities help create seamless, memorable moments for parents and their kids. “It’s really easy. There’s no camping, there’s no tailgating, there’s no overnight.”

Pasadena, however, is better known for its little old ladies than its music scene; it’s a close-knit community that takes its noise ordinances seriously. As a result, Tollett said, the aim was to build a lineup and amenities “around the feeling that Pasadena exudes.”

That meant meeting dozens of times across three years with residents and politicians to ensure that there are no surprises. One concession: Though Goldenvoice has the rights to a three-day festival, it’s only committing to two days the year so as to better adapt to how attendees interact with the area.

The deal is crucial for the Rose Bowl, said Darryl Dunn, general manager and CEO of the Rose Bowl Operating Co., which oversees the Bowl and Brookside’s two 18-hole golf courses.

“Expenses keep increasing, as does competition, and we’re very well aware of that,” he said. “So we’re extremely excited to be able to host another event that we believe will be very unique to the setting of the Arroyo Seco (area).”

It’s also a good test to see if one of Tollett’s arguments for the Pasadena festival’s promise holds true.

“Coachella’s been around for 18 years, so there are some who went in the early days who maybe aren’t going anymore. There’s also some people who never went. And we sell out with no lineup, so we turn away more people than get to go. There’s clearly something there.”

As of Tuesday, the full roster, subject to change, for the two-day event is as follows:

Saturday: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, the Meters, the Alabama Shakes, Dawes, Live, Broken Social Scene, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Roy Ayers, William Bell, Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, John Mayall and Bennie Maupin Ensemble.

Sunday: Mumford & Sons, Weezer, the Shins, Fitz & the Tantrums, Andrew Bird, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, Galactic, the Revivalists, Andy Grammar, ZZ Ward, Lettuce, Jamtown (featuring G. Love, Donavon Frankenreiter & Cisco Adler), the Mowgli’s, Alice Smith, David Lindley, Con Brio and NK Band.

Tickets go on sale Monday. Single-day admission is $125 and a weekend pass is $225.