In With a New Music Festival, Out With the Arroyo Seco Weekend?

Rose Bowl hopes to make music pay off for the historic stadium’s long-term goals

Published : Wednesday, May 15, 2019 | 4:53 AM

When the Rose Bowl Board punted on the NFL’s offer to host its games back in 2015, it pinned its hopes instead on the then-new Arroyo Seco Weekend arts and music festival concept.

“It’s clear the NFL can be a distraction in our goals to try to achieve what I believe to be a superior alternative,” Rose Bowl Operating Company President and Pasadena Councilmember Victor Gordo said back then. “The music and arts festival is long term, it is financially superior and more fitting with our brand.”

But after two seasons with an attendance highwater mark of only about 28,000 coming to the “family friendly” music acts, Goldenvoice announced Tuesday a new one-day August 31 festival which targets a different audience, called the Pasadena Daydream Festival, has apparently replaced the Arroyo Seco Weekend.

Gordo, however, seems just as ebullient and optimistic over the new festival as he was for the Arroyo Seco Weekend events.

“The City of Pasadena has plenty to be excited about with The Cure and the show they are going to curate at the Rose Bowl,” Gordo told Pasadena Now Tuesday. “This is a band who is highly regarded around the world. And for them to choose to curate [and] play a show at the Rose Bowl in an anniversary year is exciting. It’s exciting for the City, it’s exciting for the people of Pasadena, and for our business community.”

The Cure, 80s gothmeisters and hitmakers led by heavily mascara-ed lead singer and writer Robert Smith, assembled the entire festival lineup, much like a museum director planning an exhibition of related artists.

Thus, The Cure, 2019 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, have “invited” a selection of their favorite artists for the summer show, with performances by The Pixies (who opened for the Cure at Dodger Stadium 20 years ago), Deftones, Mogwai, Throwing Muses, The Joy Formidable, Chelsea Wolfe, The Twilight Sad, Emma Ruth Rundle and Kælan Mikla.

Rose Bowl CEO Daryl Dunn acknowledged that the idea of a band “curating” a show is becoming a bit of a trend.

“[Robert Smith] did it last year in London [with the Meltdown Festival], and evidently it was very, very successful,” said Dunn. “You’re hearing more about it now, but if you think about it, sort of makes sense. A lot of times actors become directors. Maybe this is the music version of that.”

Gordo said the festival is step with the community’s determination to eschew the NFL but invest in the stadium and use it for other sports opportunities and entertainment.

“The goal was to make the Rose Bowl so attractive to the music industry that it would be a measure of success,” Gordo added. “If you play at the Rose Bowl, you’ve made it. And I believe we’re well on our way to accomplishing that.”

Dunn shared Gordo’s enthusiasm, saying, “I think it’s like I said, if I wasn’t working here, I would be buying a ticket, bringing my son. Because my son likes The Cure and so do I. A lot of the bands now span generations.”

The Rolling Stones is another example of the same appeal, Dunn said.

“With the Rolling Stones, you may have multi-generations of families enjoying the band. I think the similar holds true for The Cure.”

The first-ever Pasadena Daydream Festival is scheduled to place at the Brookside at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, Aug. 31.

The festival will also feature performances by Pixies, Deftones, Mogwai, Throwing Muses, The Joy Formidable, Chelsea Wolfe, The Twilight Sad, Emma Ruth Rundle and Kælan Mikla, it was announced.

Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 17th at 12 p.m. at

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