Friday, April 18, 2008

Snoop's Coming to Monterey!

The Dogg is coming to rock the Peninsula, as in Snoop D-O-Double-G.
Headlining the second annual Monterey Music Summit, West Coast rap legend Snoop Dogg will perform Saturday night with returning act Ozomatli, as part of the renewed, revitalized and rearranged pop music festival.
Last year's inaugural event in October brought some 8,000 to 9,000 music fans and more than 30 acts to the two-day event helmed by promoter Joe Fletcher. This year, it's a three-day affair, to be held at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, May 30-June 1. Visit for info.
Three-day passes are $169, with limited one-day passes available the day of each show.
The change in date and venue (the first summit was held at the Monterey Fairgrounds) was made to establish the summit as a late spring event, with the full use of Laguna Seca facilities a part of the draw for out-of-town festival goers.
From camping facilities to bike and hiking trails, Fletcher envisions the three-day festival as a destination event for contemporary pop music lovers.
“We were really excited to launch the first Monterey Music Summit, but we new from the beginning it was going to be a growing process,” said Fletcher. “For the type of event we wanted, we needed camping. And we wanted to move into a time of year that was a little warmer. It left us a little shorter in the time we can promote, but we knew we could establish it in the time of year that was warm.”
The biggest name on the bill so far is Snoop Dogg, the West Coast rap star who has maintained a significant level of popularity more than 15 years after making his debut with legendary rap producer Dr. Dre.
“It's kind of funny to watch his whole career. There are very few people you can point to and say ‘This guy's been at the top of his game for a long time,’ ” said Fletcher.
The decision to bring in Snoop on a bill featuring mostly rock and jam bands wasn't meant to cash in on his marquee value.
“We didn't want to bring a big name just to have hip-hop,” he said. ‘We wanted someone to cross the boundaries that's more than a hit maker.”
While Snoop's image is clearly classified as gangsta, due to his lyrics and numerous run-ins with the law, Fletcher wasn't worried about the problem of drawing a rowdy audience. Fletcher called Snoop “a good friend” and even gave a surprise comparison.
“He's just always a great guy to work with and hysterically funny. He's almost like a Bill Cosby,” said Fletcher. “His career has morphed from street thug to more romantic guy to now his show on the E! Network, where he's this family guy.”
Aside from Snoop Dogg and Ozomatli on Saturday, name for the Friday night lineup are electronic music mavens Sound Tribe Sector 9 and The Crystal Method. Sunday's top acts are rock band Coheed and Cambria. Another name Sunday act is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
New acts for the summit this year include longtime punk/funk outfit Fishbone, California rock band Slightly Stoopid, actress/rocker Juliette Lewis and The Licks, veteran dance music impresario Dieselboy with MC Messinian, pop singer Paula Cole, Melvin Seals and JGB (Jerry Garcia Band) and former Saturday Night Live band leader G.E. Smith's band, Moonalice.
Other new acts include Albino! Heavy Heavy Afro Beat, Shelby Lynn, Raine Maida, Super Drag, Sara Melson, Just Jinjer, and Tea Leaf Green, who were scheduled to appear last year but didn't make the trip.
Returning acts include West Indian Girl, New Monsoon, Hot Buttered Rum and Tea Leaf Green, who were scheduled to appear last year but didn't make the trip.
An appearance by Tibetan Monks, presenting “Mystical Arts of Tibet,” will take place in the new tent stage, along with burlesque with The Filthy Gorgeous Burlesque.
Fletcher said he aimed to bring a variety of acts to the show that would draw a crowd and bring a positive message to the summit.
Like last year's event, this year is billed as carbon neutral. Fletcher and his crew plan on planting trees to offset the carbon emissions caused by the show's energy consumption and transportation.
He is joining with local agencies, from Monterey-Salinas Transit and the Offset Project, to green-minded companies like Pure Water, which will provide free purified water to concert goers.
“We really wanted to make sure we kept the same environmental theme. We're spending a lot of time and energy. . . to really create a festival that's as sustainable as possible,” he said.
With a goal of providing a dynamic lineup of music, keeping things green and propping up the region as a pop-music stop, Fletcher again has high hopes for the summit. At the same time, he's downplaying the need to sell out early on in favor of giving concert goers an enjoyable experience.
“We want people to be able to come, camp, have plenty of elbow room and have as good and comfortable an experience as possible. And we don't need to sell 30,000 tickets to make this work,” he said. “By design, we want this to be a little smaller, a little easier to deal with, and for people to feel like this is their festival.”

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