Independence Jam: Big-ticket acts rock out at Pier Amphitheater

OCEANSIDE — The Independence Jam at the Pier Amphitheater on June 7 was monumental for Oceanside not only because of the big names it brought to its two stages, but also because it comes on the heels of many changes in the city.
In addition to Dead Confederate, Metric, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Black Keys on the main stage, the Casbah stage featured local bands Apes of Wrath, The Creepy Creeps, Scarlet Symphony and Dirty Sweet. Eco-friendly vendors and environmental groups surrounded the Casbah stage.
“It’s great to have a North County concert in a cool outdoor venue,” Drew Verkade of Carlsbad said. “I bought tickets the first minute they opened up.”
“Right here in my own backyard, here at the pier is a prime location,” Cory Bohn of Vista said.
Many concertgoers said they showed up to see The Black Keys, a two-piece blues rock band. “Raw power,” Bohn said describing The Black Keys.
The rest of the lineup featured a list of bands even the headlining performers wanted to see. “It’s a great lineup of people,” Walker Howle of Dead Confederate, said. “I’ve never seen The Black Keys. It’s really great.”
The concert was evidence of the changes happening in the city of Oceanside. “It’s the little Oceanside amphitheater with big-time music,” Terry Goodman, Parks and Recreation special events supervisor, said. “The setting is No. 1 — to be able to host a festival or concert right here on the ocean. It’s not the well-kept secret it used to be. Now the challenge is what are we able to do with it.”
Doug Schultz, Lincoln Financial Media Company event manager, has a seemingly fitting resume to show Oceanside the possibilities for the amphitheater. Schultz arranged the KIFM Smooth Jazz and KSON Country music concerts previously held at the amphitheater. The success and high security maintained at the jazz and country music concerts paved the way for the FM 94/9 Independence Jam rock ‘n’ roll lineup.
“They are certainly bringing in a little bit larger crowd,” Goodman said of the estimated 3,000 that attended the Independence Jam. “I think events like this draw people who may not normally visit Oceanside. It brings folks into town to have a positive experience.”
The Independence Jam hit Oceanside just as it has redeveloped much of its downtown area and issued the first permit to allow dancing in a downtown establishment.
It took a full day of setup to transform the beach amphitheater into a state of the art concert venue. “It took extensive permitting, fire inspection, police running power, maintenance people to close streets surrounding the event site,” Schultz said. “We started at 7 a.m. in order to do an evening show.
“A full event site takes an enormous amount of rentals,” Schultz said. Generators, toilets, hand washing stations, trash receptacles and catering for the performers all had to be arranged.
With the behind the scenes preparation in place by 3 p.m., performers were set to rock the event’s two stages. Timing between the stages was seamless, with nonstop music and no band interfering with another band’s performance.
“San Diego has always been great to us,” Howle said. “We had tons of fans before we even played here, all because of this radio station, 94/9.”

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