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Going Out

Music in San Diego's streets

September 04, 2003|Steve Baltin

What began as a one-day, two-stage block party in 1984 that drew 3,500 has evolved into California's largest music festival. The 20th edition of San Diego Street Scene will feature nine stages over 12 city blocks; a diverse music lineup that includes R.E.M., the Sex Pistols and Macy Gray; crowds in excess of 100,000; and carnival and food fare. Oh -- and there will be a whole lotta L.A.

Founder-producer Rob Hagey estimates that 20% of Street Scene attendees make the drive (or, less hassle, take the train) from L.A. or Orange County. And the commuter fun seekers don't go just to tour San Diego's Gaslamp District.

This weekend, there's an L.A. reunion -- the city's legendary punk class of the early 1980s reconvenes, with Bad Religion, Social Distortion, X, Concrete Blonde and Greg Ginn of Black Flag on the schedule. Bad Religion bassist Jay Bentley says that although the festival is like a high school reunion cranked up to 11 for the bands, the scope can be daunting. "It's overwhelming," he says. "I've never really seen that many people in the street without sticks in their hands."

-- Steve Baltin

San Diego Street Scene, Friday-Sunday, downtown San Diego. Single-day tickets, $45. Info: www.street-scene.com.

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