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The concert series that became too popular for its own good

The Santa Monica Pier at dusk.
The Santa Monica Pier at dusk.
Siavash Ghadiri Zahrani (seaofash)/Flickr Creative Commons

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The Twilight Concert Series on the Santa Monica Pier has gotten too big. Last summer 30,000 people showed up to see Khalid — one of many popular musicians who has performed as part of the series.

While it's been a staple at the pier for decades, each year the shows draw bigger and bigger crowds, and officials say they've become unsafe. As a result, the Santa Monica City Council this week approved a motion to change how the concerts operate.

Reporter Kate Cagle has been following this story for the Santa Monica Daily Press. She explained to Take Two's Josie Huang why the change came about:

"That's the main problem that the police department is complaining about. The fact is they really can't tell in advance, they can't tell how many people are going to show up on any given night. There's no way to have a ticketing system."

The chief concern is safety. At first, law enforcement and fire officials suggested the series go on hiatus, but that notion was met with an hour of public comments from Santa Monica residents.

"These are local Santa Monicans who grew up with the concerts, who love them, pleading with their elected leaders not to go on hiatus and not to drastically change the concerts, because all these people are showing up for a reason. People love them."

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel, whose parent company Snap, Inc. is one of the series sponsors, showed up to the council meeting and offered $1 million to cover the cost of policing.

In the end, the city council voted to limit attendance to the pier deck, schedule no more than six events starting after Labor Day and limit public safety costs to no more than $400,000.