Pandora Targets College Students With Back-to-School Concert

To bring a 2,000-guest concert to the historic Santa Monica Pier, planners had to work with tight guidelines on everything from truck weight to the timeline.

By Jenny Berg August 19, 2014, 7:30 AM EDT

The evening's concert featured of-the-moment acts such as Iggy Azalea.

Photo: Vero Image

Pandora Internet Radio hosted a back-to-school-theme concert August 9 at Santa Monica Pier. Featuring performances by Iggy Azalea, Rita Ora, and Magic, the event was free, but all 2,000 guests had to have tickets. Pandora announced the event on its Iggy Azalea station about a week in advance, and listeners could click through a link to score their spots.

The Santa Monica Pier is a historical venue that comes with its share of logistical quirks, and planners from Stoelt Productions had to work around a strict set of rules and timelines to execute the large happening. “The interesting thing about being on the pier is that you're 30 feet in the air, on sticks,” said Matt Stoelt, C.E.O. and creative director of the production firm. “On the pier itself, there are two yellow lines, which distinguish the reinforced portion of the pier, and that portion of the pier is the only place trucks that have a [weight] of 20,000 pounds or more can come down. So essentially, our stage placement was mandated by that reinforced section of the pier.” Additionally, only half of the pier was rented for the event.

Then there was the question of crowds. “On a Saturday in August, the pier was at capacity before we even showed up,” said Stoelt. Planners worked with the local police department to develop a plan that directed ticket holders to an off-site check-in at the Civic Center; as guests lined up starting around noon, planners could set up the pier for the 6 p.m. concert. They also got to prep a bit in advance.

“Foot traffic becomes so incumbent during the daytime, and we were able to purchase parking spots to build our stage during the day on Friday,” Stoelt said. “The stage, which was a trailer, came in on Friday morning. The beautiful part about using a trailer is that the trailer can be placed and set up within about two hours, not withstanding the audio and the lighting.” The stage and its lighting were set up by around 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon, and the rest of the build out began on Saturday morning at 12:01 a.m. At that point, planners took over the pier's west deck and began building brand activations for companies such as Schick Quattro, Capri Sun, and Amazon Student.

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