Although it is not listed in the classic song by Bobby Troupe, Santa Monica is, unofficially, the last stop on Route 66. It sits on the ocean and is home to the original muscle beach and the place where Los Angelinos go to get away from the city. The world-famous Santa Monica Pier is where hundreds of movies have been shot, from the Elmer Gantry in 1941 to Forrest Gump. (There’s even a Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant on the pier.) Needless to say, there’s a whole lot of music happening in Santa Monica.
There’s Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the pier which features, what else, surf rock. Up and down Ocean Avenue (Highway 1) are a number of hotels, restaurants and coffee shops and within a six block radius there are all kinds of eateries, brew pubs and open space that cater to the enormous tourist trade with music and entertainment.
City run spaces, like the Third Street Promenade, the Miles Memorial Playhouse and Stewart Street Park do not allow for spontaneous performances, but offer opportunities to musicians to perform at sanctioned events funded by the city. Most performance contracts are offered to LA County residents only and there are a number of other opportunities and grants for teens, artists, film makers and other from LA County.
Buskers (street musicians) are not required to purchase a vendor’s license, but there are restrictions placed upon them as to location, safety, equipment and how money is collected for a performance.
The City of Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division support Santa Monica’s vibrant arts & culture community by producing a full calendar of cultural events, anchoring the diverse creative sector, promoting Santa Monica as a cultural destination, managing the city’s public art collection, administering grant programs for local arts and culture organizations, schools and individual artists and advancing the goals of Santa Monica’s long-range cultural master plan.
Cultural Affairs also staffs the 13-member Arts Commission which advises the city council on matters of policy.
Santa Monica, with the pier as its focal point, has been a destination for travelers for nearly 110 years and is home to a number of celebrities including producer Brian Grazer, Bob Dylan, Actress Angelica Huston and writer Larry David.