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Street Scene originated as the brainchild of a San Diego native who has turned his passion for music and the arts into a festival that features an eclectic coalescence of both. Taking place in one of the most vibrant and energetic cities, Street Scene is a signature event unlike any other.

Street Scene was born in 1984 as a semiannual event that occupied just one block of downtown San Diego; 5th Avenue between J & K Streets was part of the Street Scene footprint for 19 years. There was a stage at each end of the block, with concert-goers bouncing back and forth for alternating performances by Los Lobos and The Blasters in May, and by X, Robert Cray, and the Neville Brothers in August. The Gaslamp Quarter had just received its official "National Register of Historic Places" designation in 1980, and Street Scene came along just as restoration and re-development efforts were getting into full swing, helping to kick San Diego's downtown renaissance into high gear.

By 1987 Street Scene had become an annual occurrence, with its now familiar timing as an end-of-summer celebration. That year, a second block was added, creating an L-shaped venue. There were still two stages, this time with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Concrete Blonde as the headliners. When their performances accidentally overlapped, with each band playing simultaneously on opposite stages, the concept of developing Street Scene into a multi-stage festival emerged. The following year the Street Scene floor plan mushroomed to accommodate five stages over several blocks. Filling all those stages meant expanding the musical horizons of the event; Zydeco and the blues joined rock and alternative as Street Scene's trademark of musical variety took hold. Before long Street Scene was exceeding its capacity and evolved into a multi-day festival. In 1990, a Friday night lineup was added, creating two consecutive nights of partying. Then in '95, a Sunday "all ages day" made Street Scene into a 3-day affair.

The addition of days wasn't the only expansion Street Scene experienced in the '90s. The Taste of San Diego brought a new dimension to the event, as San Diego's finest restaurants prepared some of their best dishes to turn Street Scene into a smorgasbord of both music and food. Bringing even more color and entertainment to the festival has been the Brazil Carnival, featuring parade-like "processions" of revelers carrying oversized masks, wearing flamboyant costumes, and dancing to the pulsing rhythms of Rio. Then there have been the freak shows, off-the-wall circus acts, modern-day burlesque performances, the Dragon House drag queen runway, carnival rides and much more, all contributing to the kaleidoscope of fun and sensual stimulation that is the hallmark of Street Scene.

Anticipated by locals as well as people from all corners of the country, Street Scene outgrew the streets of the Gaslamp and in 2004 moved next to Petco Park. Known for showcasing up-and-coming talent as well as familiar favorites, record numbers came to see a stellar lineup including Jack Johnson, A Tribe Called Quest, Roots Rock Reggae Festival featuring the Marley Brothers, and Foo Fighters. In order to accommodate growing attendance and to continue booking such high profile artists, Street Scene was moved to Qualcomm Stadium, which allowed festival goers the convenience of a trolley stop at the front entrance and the ability to easily navigate between stages. The new venue also allowed Street Scene to present Bedouin Soundclash, West Indian Girl, and Chebb I Sabbah alongside internationally renowned artists such as Tool, Kanye West, AFI, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Bloc Party.

Now, in 2008, Street Scene is making an electrifying return to its roots in Downtown San Diego with a hip and intriguing lineup that's sure to satisfy any music lover!


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