The long-planned, sold-out Bassnectar show for Thursday has been canceled because of the city's noise ordinance.
The last-minute change comes as a surprise, given that Bassnectar, a UCSC graduate, has played the Civic before.
The artist, born Lorin Ashton, blamed the city for the cancellation, but Mayor Don Lane, who hadn't been fully briefed on the situation, said there was likely a disagreement on the noise ordinance.
"People from Bassnectar say the city cancelled the show," said Lane. "But from the city's perspective, we all agreed it should be canceled because you couldn't agree to these terms."
Lane said the city's chief concern is that people live a block away from the 80-year-old building and that with its bad ventilation, the only way to keep things cool inside is to open windows. That would make it even worse for neighbors.
Concert promoter Goldenvoice said that tickets can be exchanged or the money will be credited to the buyer, but no Civic tickets will be accepted at the Catalyst.
The Santa Cruz Civic box office will be open from 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday. Starting at 3 p.m. Thursday ticket holders can exchange those tickets for one of two shows at the Catalyst Sunday May 6 and Monday May 7.
Bassnectar blasted the city government on his Facebook page and asked residents to talk to their elected officials and get the rules changed.
"Santa Cruz, California is one of my favorite places in the world. It
is special to me for countless reasons, and it is one of my favorite
places to play music. I am stunned, and saddened that the City of
Santa Cruz decided last minute to not allow our show to happen
Basically, there is a very vague city ordinance #9.36.010 which
makes it nearly impossible to have a concert at the Civic Center
(unless it is like a gentle jazz show, or a poetry reading). It most
definitely makes it impossible to have a Bassnectar experience, or any kind of EDM (electronic dance music) show.
Now had they told us this 6 months ago when we booked the show, that would have been understandable (it still would have been weird, because we already did one successful show at the Civic Center, and are not going to play music any louder than last time) but having this happen so last minute is basically putting us in a very difficult situation.
Now they have told us we will be shut down if we play at our normal volume (the same volume we played at last time, and the same volume we play at in cities all across the country), forcing the show to be cancelled. We offered to start way earlier than normal, and to have music end by 10pm, and they had zero interest in finding a solution.
We love and appreciate all the support from the Santa Cruz Community (this show sold out way in advance: THANK YOU!) and want so badly to deliver you the best possible experience (again and again and again) so we are looking into moving the show to the Catalyst and doing two nights. We are very sorry that the city has chosen not to support music culture at the civic center, but are working very hard to work around this frustrating and unforseen snag. We love you!
Some positive thoughts:
1. Looks like we will be able to enjoy two great full force experiences @ The Catalyst.
2. Our show in San Jose sold out, but we just expanded the floor space, and moved out bleachers so we can accomodate more people. Cinco De Mayo!
3. If you live in Santa Cruz, and you love music & culture, you can easily contact your city offcials and explain that this ordinance #9.36.010 is not acceptable. I am sure there are a few dozen neighbors who don't want to hear the sound from a concert, but there are thousands of citizens, students and bass heads who deserve to enjoy the music they love. I suggest allowing AT LEAST ONE concert a month, going until at LEAST 10pm, as a small compromise. Currently the way the city has chosen to treat artists, fans, and the music community is shameful. You have the power to change this for your community. :)"
The Civic holds 1,800 for a show; the Catalyist about 900, so the math works for the two-night gig.
The city, which is in the process of talking about a 3,200-seat temporary arena for basketball and concerts, will be depending on live music revenues for the deal to work. Noise will be a factor in the tent proposed for the area south of Laurel.
Here's a good interview and story on Bassnectar in the Santa Cruz Weekly.