Carlsbad Council gifts grant to music festival

CARLSBAD — City Council unanimously agreed to gift a special events grant to the annual Carlsbad Music Festival. The festival, celebrating its ninth year, is gearing up for a weekend packed with eclectic musical selections from Sept. 21 to Sept. 23.

Staff recommended City Council to fund the $10,000 request for direct cash assistance, making this the second year in a row the city has supported the Carlsbad Music Festival, which is now exclusively held in the Village.

Matt McBane, the director of the Carlsbad Music Festival receives a $10,000 city grant for the festival to take place next weekend. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

Courtney Enriquez, management analyst for Housing & Neighborhood Services spoke, to City Council members about the grant request.

Enriquez pointed out that the request was for total direct cash assistance and there would be no in-kind city services. She also described it as a family-friendly community oriented event.

Enriquez highlighted that the Carlsbad Music Festival is eligible for two more years of direct cash assistance.

City Council’s intent in creating Council Policy 51, she said, was to use city funds to help new special events or programs get started, and then have those programs become self-sufficient along with community-supported efforts.

“The city of Carlsbad recognizes the value of having arts, culture and entertainment in our city and the impact it makes to our residents,” Enriquez said. “We strive to provide the highest quality of life for our residents, and by offering opportunities to organizations, like Special Events Grants, the city demonstrates their commitment to providing high quality events in our city.”

The $10,000 will be used from the City Council’s General Fund contingency account.

Enriquez went on to point out that the Carlsbad Music Festival organizers have collected $35,000 in other grants, totaling 46 percent of the event’s budget.

The city monies will help pay for “hard costs” like venue and instrumental rentals, marketing materials, audio services and graphic designs.

Matt McBane, composer and director of the Carlsbad Music Festival, was on hand to speak to City Council members. While thanking them in advance for their consideration, he called the special event grant request both important and necessary.

The festival’s theme this year is Adventurous Music by the Beach and promises to deliver a unique experience. McBane said people will be exposed to music they have never heard before throughout the Village in a way they have never seen before.

Its array of musical genres will include jazz, pop, classical, folk and world music.

“We will also have world-class artists and a high level of music making for people to hear,” said McBane, adding that their loyal fan base grows every year.

This year, the headcount is expected to reach 3,500 or more.

Two free events will serve as a huge visitor attraction.

The first is The Village Music Walk kickoff on Friday night, and the other, the grand finale at Magee Park featuring Sara Watkins, a Carlsbad resident known for her talent with the Grammy award-winning band Nickel Creek.

“I really think this is a good community event because we bring musicians from all over the country for this festival,” he said, noting that it also serves as a national musical platform.

The Carlsbad Music Festival has netted attention from the Los Angeles Times, which reviewed it as “magnificently enlightening” while KPBS called it “one of the area’s most innovative music showcases.”

Councilman Keith Blackburn acknowledged McBane for his work. “This is the kind of event that gives our downtown Village the personality we all keep striving for so thank you very much,” Blackburn said.

For more information about the Carlsbad Music Festival, visit carlsbadmusicfestival.org.

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