Make Music Pasadena won’t return this year—and possibly ever

Phillip Dane

As ticket prices for summer music festivals consistently tick upwards, we’re even more thankful for L.A.’s slate of free concerts. Unfortunately, it looks like one of our favorite free fests is no more.

Make Music Pasadena will not be taking place in 2017. The nearly decade-old event cites risings costs, falling sponsorships and stiff competition for its hiatus. It’s possible the fest could return in 2018, but it would need some “altruistically-inclined white knights.”

Over the past nine years, Make Music had set up stages across Pasadena’s downtown districts and inside of local business. Though the lineups consisted of largely under-the-radar bands, the likes of How to Dress Well, Nick Waterhouse, Surfer Blood, Tennis, Yacht, Grimes, Cults and Best Coast have all graced the June festival’s stages.

Pasadena will still have live music this June thanks to Arroyo Seco Weekend. Though the Make Music Pasadena organizers say they’re delighted to see the inaugural Rose Bowl-adjacent fest come to town, it’s hard not to see the big-ticket fest as part of the “proliferation of local and national music festivals” that’ve sapped Make Music’s local sponsorship opportunities.

Read the full statement from Make Music Pasadena below:

After nine years of bringing free music to the streets of our city with Make Music Pasadena, Old Pasadena Management District and the Playhouse District Association, co-producers of the festival, have made the difficult decision to put the event on hiatus for 2017 and to evaluate its future viability.

Current funding sources are not sufficient to finance an event that is entirely free to the public. Due to exponentially rising costs in conjunction with a significant lack of funding from sponsorships and donations, Make Music Pasadena faced a $150,000 budget deficit, making it impossible to produce the festival for 2017. A proliferation of local and national music festivals has also made it a challenge to secure both talent and local media attention within a limited budget.

The producing organizations remain hopeful that sufficient sponsorship might be achieved for a 2018 event, and altruistically-inclined white knights are encouraged to contact either organization to discuss details. That’s not to say that Pasadena will be without live music this summer: We are delighted that the Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival will join in the tradition of bringing local, regional, and national acts to the people of Pasadena.

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