On the South Shore? In the mood for free, live, lakeside music in the evening? This summer, you no longer need to enviously look north to Tahoe City's Concerts at Commons Beach.
Starting in June, simply head down to Live at Lakeview, the free weekly concert series to be held at Lakeview Commons at the corner of Lakeview Avenue and Highway 50 in South Lake Tahoe.
Owned by the Bliss family in the early 1900s, the land that is now Lakeview Commons was sold in the 1920s to an extended group of private individuals, city of South Lake Tahoe spokeswoman Nancy Kerry said. The families later sold the land to the county for $7,500. After the city incorporated in 1965, it entered into a 55-year lease with the County, which is still in effect.
Redevelopment of the 56-acre recreation area began about 2005 when interest in the area increased as the City and CTC became aware of potential funding. With the passage of Proposition 84, funds for the project were made available through the California Tahoe Conservancy, Kerry said. Once design was completed, construction began, but was stalled due to contractual issues and then restarted in 2011. The property opened to the public in December, and features a new amphitheater, barbecues, picnic area, restrooms and more.
It was around that time that Rob Giustina went to the city with plans for the newly redeveloped area, he said.
"Why not use it for a concert series?" Giustina told Lake Tahoe Action. "It's comparable to the commons there at the other end of the lake, with the Sunday concerts."
"I approached the city with the idea, and they backed me up full force," he said. "They realized that this is something that we need to do down there, something that definitely needs to happen."
The owner of On Course events, a local planning and promotion company, Giustina has spent recent months obtaining the necessary permits and designing the venue.
Every Thursday night, Live at Lakeview will feature live musical acts as well as food, beverage and crafts vendors.
Two goals are to keep booth use fees low to encourage community participation, and to offer a number of free booths for local nonprofits, Giustina said. Holding the series on Thursdays is another community-oriented decision.
"With Thursdays, we can potentially drive some more of our visitors to come up earlier in the week." Giustina said. "And it's great for locals, because they're usually working all weekend."
The Lakeview Commons area has 660 seats and ample standing room, and could accommodate about 2,250 people, he noted.
Giustina is currently working to line up sponsorships and performers. He asked Ryan Kronenberg and Adam Northway of Pet Projekt Productions to assist with sound production and booking acts.
"Dead Winter Carpenters are going to open it up on the 28th," Kronenberg said. "We also have Fruition, Keyser Soze, Puckle, and Groove Session. We're working on some others."
In addition to headlining acts, Giustina hopes to book a variety of local performers to open each week's show.
Funding remains a challenge for the startup concert series thoguh, which will be free to the public.
"I've been hoping to raise money in advance with sponsors, but it's going a little soft right now. I'm really hoping to see the community come out and get involved and support this," Giustina said.
City officials are enthusiastic not just about the concert series, but also what it represents.
"We're very excited," Kerry said. "It's showing that you can take environmental thresholds and redevelopment policies and create a wonderful public space."