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This summer’s most frequent music festival venue is a golf course

A loose crowd of people relax while sitting on a hill of grass beneath trees.
Palomino festival attendees chill at Brookside Golf Club, outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, on July 9. The golf course has hosted five music festivals this year.
(Dania Maxwell / Los Angeles Times)
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Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It’s Thursday, Sept. 1. I’m Vanessa Franko, an assistant editor on the audience engagement team with a focus on arts and entertainment.

Last weekend, you could find top alternative rock acts such as LCD Soundsystem and the Strokes playing the first hole at the Brookside Golf Club in Pasadena adjacent to the Rose Bowl. Post-hardcore band Turnstile and hip-hop duo the Ying Yang Twins were over at the ninth hole.

Technically, they were playing on the golf course as part of the This Ain’t No Picnic festival.

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Although the Rose Bowl has hosted dozens of music icons over the decades — think Beyoncé and U2 — in recent years the concert action has moved to the exterior of the hallowed stadium.

Since 2017, Brookside has hosted a number of multistage music festivals, starting with Arroyo Seco Weekend. And so far in 2022, the golf course has been home to new wave and goth fest Cruel World, early ’00s alt-rock-themed Just Like Heaven, country festival Palomino, 88rising’s Asian-focused Head in the Clouds and last weekend’s This Ain’t No Picnic.

Behind those events is Goldenvoice, the concert promoter that has produced the taste-making Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio since 1999 and also operates L.A. venues such as the Fonda and the El Rey.

But why is the golf course more attractive than a stadium with a track record of hosting superstars?

It’s a preference, explained Stacy Vee, vice president of talent at Goldenvoice. Encouraging people to move around is part of the festival experience, and stadium seats aren’t really conducive to that.

She said Brookside offers the infrastructure of the Rose Bowl but also the flexibility to “marry the vibe of whatever festival with the venue.”

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“It’s not one size fits all,” Vee said, “because it feels different at each of these festivals. It’s the most beautiful kind of blank canvas.”

Brookside is a unique venue in that the entire Rose Bowl complex is very much a part of the Pasadena community. When Vee arrived on-site Friday, a day before the fest, golfers were still playing on the course. On Saturday morning, the usual joggers were out on the trail around the stadium.

Other Southern California music festivals at various venues have stumbled in the wake of the pandemic, with events such as Ohana Encore Weekend, Viva! L.A. and Flannel Nation backing out after lineups were announced and tickets went on sale. But Vee said her team was already hard at work for next year.

“We have to be at the top of our game,” she said, “and really approach things carefully and get the booking exactly right, hit the bull’s-eye with talent, work as far out as possible and be really intentional and strategic.”

The events at Brookside come at a time when the Rose Bowl is losing its cachet as one of the go-to stadium venues in Southern California. Artists who previously played the Rose Bowl, including the Rolling Stones and BTS, have diverted south to the flashy new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood for their most recent jaunts.

However, there is a new two-day K-pop festival coming to the stadium side of the Rose Bowl this fall. Kamp will feature stars such as Monsta X, Kai and aespa at its Southern California debut Oct. 15-16.

Of course, the Rose Bowl is most famous for hosting a much different performer every year: UCLA football. This season, the Bruins will play eight games at the stadium for the first time in the program’s history. UCLA’s season kicks off in Pasadena on Saturday with a nonconference game against Bowling Green.

Speaking of college football, here’s a great interview by The Times’ Brady McCollough with ESPN announcer Kirk Herbstreit, who talks about his side gig with the NFL, a recent blood clot scare and the important people in his life.

And now, here’s what’s happening across California:

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

It’s not the heat, it’s the ... no, it’s absolutely the heat. California’s extreme heat waves, like the one Southern and Central California are in the midst of, are getting worse because climate change is making the “heat dome” — a phenomenon that typically brings broiling conditions — even worse. Los Angeles Times

A judge received $300,000 from a trust account for clients of the lawyer with whom she was having an affair. Attorney Tom Girardi wired Tricia Bigelow, then a presiding justice of a state appeals court in downtown L.A., the money from funds meant for cancer victims and other residents of a polluted Inland Empire community. The same week, she closed on an oceanfront condo in Santa Monica, according to financial records filed in a state court lawsuit. Los Angeles Times

L.A. STORIES

Off-duty LAPD officer accuses gang enforcement unit of racial profiling. The officer was detained Saturday night alongside a man suspected of possessing drugs and a gun. According to multiple department sources, the officer accused his colleagues of confronting him because he is Black and not having a legal justification to detain him. Los Angeles Times

COVID-19 protections against rent hikes and evictions may end in L.A. The city’s housing department has released a proposal that will allow landlords to again evict tenants for not paying their rent, even if they’ve fallen behind due to COVID-related circumstances. If the City Council passes the proposal, evictions could resume in 2023. Los Angeles Times

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POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Three members of the Mission Viejo City Council have been ordered to leave office. Council members Greg Raths, Wendy Bucknum and Ed Sachs were voted into office for two-year terms back in 2018. They remained on the council through the 2020 election, and now an Orange County Superior Court judge has ruled that it’s time to go. Orange County Register

Bill to protect workers who smoke pot off the clock passes. The state Legislature wrapped its session on Wednesday. Among the bills passed on the final day included one that would amend California’s antidiscrimination laws and the Fair Employment and Housing Act to prevent companies from punishing employees who smoke marijuana outside work. Los Angeles Times

SPORTS

UC Berkeley swimmers say university leaders failed to take action against women’s team head coach Teri McKeever for decades. McKeever is facing multiple allegations of bullying and abuse. The letter from former swimmers and parents to the school’s chancellor is in response to a university-commissioned investigation into McKeever and the program. Mercury News

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HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

COVID-19 Omicron boosters are coming. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized the updated booster Wednesday, and the expectation is that eligible California residents will be able to get the new shots come mid-September. Los Angeles Times

California students wait months for mental health counseling. The state is struggling to deliver school-based mental health counseling and ranks in the bottom five nationally for the number of counselors working in schools. There are billions in state funding aimed at the problem, but change won’t happen quickly. Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Artist Carlos Villa gets a belated retrospective in San Francisco. The Filipino American artist influenced countless students as a teacher at the San Francisco Art Institute. A retrospective offers a beguiling peek at his underappreciated work, columnist Carolina A. Miranda writes. Los Angeles Times

Put these arts events on your calendar. Let our experts guide you to the must-see arts events coming to Los Angeles. You can see retrospectives from contemporary artists, inventive operas, genre-bending local theatrical premieres and more. Los Angeles Times (Want more? Don’t miss our ultimate guide to fall entertainment.)

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CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles: Sunny, 96. San Diego: Sunny, 81. San Francisco: Partly cloudy, 69. San Jose: Sunny, 87. Fresno: Sunny, 108. Sacramento: Sunny, 105.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory is from Sam Ludu:

When I was growing up in San Bernardino in the ’60s, it was common for residents to forgo using rakes when tending to their fallen leaves in autumn. Instead, they would use garden hoses to wash away the leaves on their lawns, driveways and sidewalks. Why not? We thought we had all the water in the world.

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments to essentialcalifornia@latimes.com.

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