Now in its seventh year, the event is sponsored and booked by radio station KPRi. With a mix of local and national performers, the Green Flash concert series takes place each month through September, and though the concerts feel intimate, the venue holds up to 800 people, making its capacity larger than such local hotspots as the Belly Up Tavern.
“We were looking for some opportunities to mix up our programming a little bit and were looking for something that could bring in the over-21 crowd,” said Birch Aquarium managing director Jessica Crawford. “We thought a concert series on our tide pool plaza might give us an opportunity to interact with people who might not otherwise come to a museum.”
Crawford said she is thrilled with the new audiences the concert series has introduced to the aquarium.
“When you come for a Green Flash concert, there is a different atmosphere,” she said. “The people are really enjoying the ocean view and are interacting with our exhibits in a different way than if they had just come here for a visit. We find that these concerts set a different feel for the aquarium and get people interested in the ocean in a different way.”
Only the weather, Crawford said, prevents the season from being extended, because “past September, it can get cold on the Tide Pool Plaza as the ocean winds kick in.”
Haley Jones, program director with KPRI, said performers are brought to the series based on several criteria.
“The music needs to go with what we’re playing on KPRI and it needs to fit with the location,” Jones said. “The vibe of the venue is a little low key.”
Award-winning singer Eve Selis has played the series three times, opening this year’s season. She considers it one of the prime concert spots in San Diego.
“My favorite thing about playing at the Birch Aquarium is the gorgeous location,” she said. “We’re on stage above the ocean, the sun is setting and people are there to listen to our music. What more could we ask for, except maybe a green flash? Still waiting for that.”
For Jones, the best thing about this concert series is “hands down the community angle of it. It’s our favorite concert series, it feels like a little community event. It’s like a group of friends that get together once a month,” she said. “And I like that we’re helping the Birch Aquarium at the same time.
“Not only is it a great opportunity to enjoy a great concert at sunset, but it also helps contribute to our ability to teach San Diegans about the ocean and how to protect it,” she said.
The Green Flash concert series continues throughout the summer, with upcoming concerts including Need to Breathe (June 20), Matt Nathanson (July 18), The Dunwells with The Heartless Bastards (Aug. 15) and former Rugburn member Steve Poltz (Sept. 19). Admission to the shows is for those 21 and up only and includes free parking as well as entrance to the aquarium.