As we celebrate Del Mar Foundation’s 40th anniversary, it’s fun to revisit how one of our signature events, Summer Twilight Concerts (STC), got its start. The original name and venue was Seagrove Twilight Concerts: this series is older than Powerhouse Park, where it now takes place!
In 1982, Lou Terrell was Del Mar’s Mayor, and he was also one of the three original DMF Board members, with Joel Holliday and Bill Kirwin. Lou was passionate about starting a series of outdoor summer concerts, and soon, DMF volunteers started organizing STC, featuring music with a variety of styles: “Bach to Beatles, Sousa to Sondheim, Blues to Barbershop to Baroque.”
“Imagine rolling lawns, a sea breeze, and a panoramic view of the pacific coast. Families and groups gather with blankets and picnic hampers while musicians tune their instruments. An evening concert begins in the special setting of Seagrove Park as the sun begins its ocean descent.” So began the fundraising letter for a series planned “for the relatively calm quiet of Monday evenings” beginning in mid-July, “alternating with City Council sessions.” John Dempsey created a limited edition print celebrating the series, as a donor incentive (missing from DMF archives: if you have this print, let us know!).
In response, 115 families and businesses donated $14,046, a stage was built, and the first musicians tuned their instruments in Seagrove Park in July 1983– not Powerhouse Park, which did not yet exist, though in Feb. 1983, Del Mar voters approved the purchase of the property that would become the Park. And now, 39 years later, Summer Twilight Concerts will once again resume at Powerhouse Park: truly a Del Mar tradition, pausing only for a pandemic.
Over the years, other signature events have joined DMF’s lineup: First Thursdays, Bluegrass and Beyond, DMF Talks, and much more. To get the first opportunity to register for these events, join our email list: bit.ly/DMF-signup.