Adding a New Tune to Laguna’s Art Scene

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Reggae artist Pato Banton

By Valerie Yu, Special to the Independent

Grammy-nominated reggae artist Pato Banton performs Sunday, July 15, at The Cliff’s Laguna Village in the highly-anticipated “Music Matters” Concert, a special showcase to top local nonprofit Blue Water Green Earth’s free summer-long music series, which runs Mondays through Thursdays from 6-10 p.m.

The “Music Matters” concert, which will run from 4-8:30 p.m., offers a taste of the Laguna Beach music scene by also featuring live performances by Nick “I” Hernandez of Common Sense, regional singer-songwriter Kevin Miso, and the Kenny Garcia Band

Admission is open to the public.

“Our concert ‘Music Matters’ is all about showing the community how music and the arts can change the world,” said Rick Conkey, primary promoter of the event and founder of the eco-friendly nonprofit Blue Water Green Earth. “We want to showcase the beauty of music—a cultural aspect so vital to civilization—so that more people get access and can appreciate it for what it is.”

Besides striving for more music in Laguna, Conkey also hopes to raise awareness for environmental issues. He organized the seventh annual Blue Water Music Festival on Earth Day at the same venue earlier this year. For the upcoming concert, he plans to unite behind the same concept, that “the arts really can drive positive civic and environmental change.”

Conkey said proceeds will go towards BWGE’s environmental projects such as a daily beach-clean-up service program.

The performers stand firm behind the dual cause as well. “The bottom line is that these artists can inspire; it’s in their blood. They all believe in the cause—for both the music scene and environmental one,” Conkey said.

The showcase headliner, Banton agreed.  “Music is still on the map right now, but it’s diminishing in acknowledgment. I just want to put it back on the scene…Laguna is such a beautiful place—the scenery, the people, the art—and we just want to bring back one of the most vital parts of it.

Located at 577 S. Coast Highway, The Cliff’s Laguna Village and the concert’s venue boasts oceanfront dining and a 180-degree panoramic view of the Pacific from a multi-level patio.

Even so, there will only be a few sit-down tables for VIP ticket holders and dinner service, while other concert goers can enjoy tunes at cocktail tables, lounge-style seating and around two full bars, said General Manager Andrew Turula.

With nearly 180 guests expected, Banton feels confident that the “Music Matters” concert will be a success. “If the right people show up to support music, the impact will be profound,” he said. “After all, music does matter.”

 Presale tickets cost $20; $25 at the door. VIP tickets, including two drinks and lounge-style seating, $60; VIP with dinner service, $100; both include free door-to-door shuttle service within Laguna. Reserve VIP tickets through July 11. Tickets may be purchased at (949) 573-8624 or [email protected].

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