SAN DIEGO — As expected, the emphasis of Street Scene '92 will be on diversity--in sounds, sights and flavors. Over the two-night festival, more than 60 artists representing an array of musical styles will be showcased on 11 simultaneously active stages in a closed-off, 18-block area of the Gaslamp Quarter.
Big names and Street Scene first-timers will include Joan Armatrading, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Eric Burdon / Brian Auger Band, Tito Puente, Edgar Winter, War, Tower of Power, Toots and the Maytals, Larry Carlton, Echo and the Bunnymen, Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias, Tom Tom Club, and the Haitian dance-music group Boukman Eksperyans.
The ninth annual Street Scene will take place Sept. 11 (5 p.m. to midnight) and 12 (4 p.m. to midnight).
Producer Rob Hagey announced the acts and dates at a Monday press conference in a loft atop Dick's Last Resort, a Gaslamp restaurant. Considering the scope of last year's event, speculation about the 1992 installment of the increasingly popular food and music festival added to the atmosphere of anticipation.
Formerly known as the Michelob Street Scene, the festival is now co-presented by the city of San Diego in a joint effort with Rob Hagey Productions Inc.
Thought was given to cross-over jams; Burdon's performance is timed to enable the vocalist to wander over to where War is playing, just in case he's in the mood for an impromptu "reunion" with the band he led from 1969 to 1971.
Besides blues, rock, country, Cajun-Zydeco, Tex- Mex, world beat, reggae, jazz, pop, salsa, Western beat, and soul, there will be an immense gospel tent and a stage bannered "Rockin' in the Heart of Texas," inspired by the healthy Austin music scene. Four 21-and-up areas (including the Kansas City Steak House) will feature seven of the music stages.
However, in keeping with Hagey's vision of the event, the food served at Street Scene '92 will challenge the music for selection and exotic appeal.
"This will be the most diverse Street Scene yet," Hagey said in a phone interview Sunday night. "We want the festival to reach out to everybody, and offering a great selection of food helps us to accomplish that."
In contrast to the Street Scene's early days, when concession stands offered basic sustenance to souls braving the marathon series of music performances, Street Scene '92 will boast conceptual food and libation "mini-fests," or what Hagey calls "festivals within the festival."
These will include a centrally located "Taste of Gaslamp," featuring food from nearby restaurants; "Bite of New Orleans," for which the festival is flying in chefs, seafood and seasonings from the Crescent City; "Java Land," an outdoor coffee emporium with tables and chairs; the "Micro-Brewery Tasting Festival," at which 15 micro-breweries from up and down the West Coast will serve two of their beers each, and the "Wine Tasting Vineyard," set up in the Cost Plus parking lot, at which the store will serve wines from its extensive but little-known stock.
The official sponsors of Street Scene '92 include Digital Cable Radio, Southwest Airlines, Carl's Jr., Pepsi-Cola Bottling Co. of San Diego, Perrier, Samuel Adams and Sebastiani.
Like last year's festival, Street Scene '92 will \o7 look \f7 good, as well, thanks to special lighting effects designed to illuminate the Quarter's unique architectural melange. Other attractions will include vendors selling a variety of arts and crafts, and Tower Records and Rhino Records booths offering recordings by the festival's performers at reduced rates.
As before, a "Park-and-Trolley" system will offer reduced trolley fares and parking rates, special trolley locations, and extended hours of trolley operation, thanks to cooperation among San Diego Trolley, San Diego Transit, private parking companies and Metro Traffic.
"Basically, we're refining and redefining the festival every year," Hagey said. "And, now that we don't have a single sponsor, we're able to add more color to the whole event. The upcoming Street Scene represents a major step toward realizing the sort of total-experience festival we've been envisioning."