After tens of thousands of people turned out for a free concert hosted by DJ Khalid last Sunday, the Santa Monica police chief is raising concerns about the free concert series, calling it a safety hazard.
Santa Monica Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks raised concerns about security in an interview with the Santa Monica Daily Press after 60,000 people unexpectedly showed up for the Twilight Concert Series hosted at the Santa Monica Pier.
“Over the years we have diligently, police and fire, worked to ensure safe ingress and egress for emergency vehicles (on the beach),” she said. “The crowd size was so big and with the tideline change toward the latter part of the evening, those safety zones were eliminated.”
Police say there aren't enough officers to patrol a crowd that size, and the city doesn't want to spend the money for additional resources. Some estimates put the crowd size at 60,000
The concert was originally conceived as a way for locals to listen to bigger acts for free, but over the last few years, promoters have turned the free concert series into a regional event.
The Santa Monica City Council has raised concerns about the growing size of crowds before. As a motion submitted before the council in 2014 pointed out, the concert series may not even be legal in the first place:
The current operation of the Pier concerts conflicts, or may conflict with, existing law in several ways. The Community Events Law and regulatory system do not authorize concerts on the beach; and the distinction between a concert on the Pier with spillover on the beach becomes harder to support when the bulk of those attending are on the beach viewing the concert on a jumbotron, which faces the beach audience. And, many of those on the beach drink alcohol or smoke, both of which are legally prohibited.
There are seven more events scheduled for the Twilight Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier, including one tonight hosted by the indie pop band Lemaitre and Coast Modern.