Outdoor concerts return to downtown San José this year, as the legendary Music in the Park kicks off the first of three concerts June 17, 2022, with additional shows on July 15 and August 19.
As the series moves into its 31st season, a new team will produce the events. The San José Downtown Association selected downtown-based entertainment industry veteran Mauricio Mejia to promote future concerts. Serial entrepreneur Mejia, who has more than 25 years in the entertainment industry, says he plans to build on Music in the Park’s legacy by seeking the best available talent and making continuing improvements to the experience for concertgoers.
Begun with free lunchtime music performances in 1989, the shows were quickly embraced by urbanists eager to bring life to a nearly abandoned downtown, becoming a visible symbol of the city’s renaissance, validating the vision of revitalization champions that if a downtown were rebuilt, people would come.
The shows moved to the evenings and grew even more popular. When attendance exploded between 2009 and 2011, the concerts, which had increased in number to 13 per season, were paused to reinvent the festival. It returned a year later, in 2013, as a paid and gated event. A season was skipped in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and an abbreviated season was held in 2021.
Acts who have played Music in the Park include Maroon 5, Cold War Kids, Neon Trees, Better Than Ezra, Brandi Carlile, Toots and the Maytals, Colin Hay, BoDeans, Timbuk 3, Spencer Davis, Berlin, Los Lonely Boys, Edgar Winter, South Side Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Phoebe Snow, Jesse Colin Young, Jefferson Starship, Jesse Colin Young, J Boog, the Delfonics, War, Tower of Power, Camper, Los Lobos, Pete Yorn, Ozomatli, Y&T and Third Eye Blind.
“We are delighted to transfer the Music in the Park legacy to a local producer that loves downtown San José as much as we do,” said Scott Knies, San José Downtown Association Executive Director, who has overseen the concerts since their inception. The spinoff of the event was a key recommendation of SJDA’s 2020 strategic repositioning plan.
“We look forward to assisting the new production team and playing a support role in the success of this beloved concert series,” Knies said.
Councilmember Raul Peralez, who represents downtown, said, “I am very pleased that this series will continue under the guidance of a locally-based promoter. Music in the Park has been an important part of the downtown experience for two generations.”
Downtown Association co-founder Dan Pulcrano, CEO of Weeklys publishing group, conceived Music in the Park and pitched it to the City of San Jose as complement to the mid-1980s development boom. “We called it the software to the city’s hardware,” said Pulcrano. “Now it’s in its fourth decade, and it’s exciting to see it reinvented for downtown’s coming ascendance.”
Veteran talent agent John Kastner, whose credits include serving as Festival Programmer for Canadian Music Week for the past decade, will book the acts. Kastner’s previous San José shows included the Iggy and the Stooges show at 2013 C2SV festival.
San Jose Inside is published by the Weeklys publishing group.