As recently as June 8, the White Stripes' website said the band would play Street Scene at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in September. Last weekend, the radio aired ads for a White Stripes concert at Bayside Embarcadero on September 18, a few days before Street Scene. It seemed San Diegans would have ample opportunity to see the band. But when the list of Street Scene performers was announced on Monday, the White Stripes were not mentioned.
The Smashing Pumpkins were rumored to be in the Street Scene lineup, but insiders say Viejas Entertainment also wooed the band over to Bayside.
"All [artists'] agents are financial whores," says one talent buyer. "They will go with whoever offers them the most money."
But the Bayside bookings of two loud bands raise questions that were seemingly addressed following noise complaints from Coronado residents; Viejas Entertainment had promised to bring quieter acts to the venue and agreed to face fines for excess decibels.
"Maybe they will try to convince the 60-year-olds in Coronado that the White Stripes are a blues band," says one insider.
Steve Redfearn, president of Viejas, could not be reached at press time.
Headliners at Street Scene include the Killers, Social Distortion, Panic at the Disco, and Muse. Some say this year's Street Scene lacks the headliner punch of other annual summertime city festivals, such as Chicago's Lollapalooza (Pearl Jam); Manchester, Tennessee's Bonnaroo (the Police, White Stripes); or Austin City Limits (Dylan, White Stripes).
"We got off to a late start this year," says Nick Masters, president of Live Nation for Southern California. He says the Smashing Pumpkins were not able to play Street Scene due to travel issues.
On June 15, three days before the lineup was announced, the Union-Tribune reported that specially-priced, advance tickets for both days would be available for $93. Last year, that pre-announcement, two-day ticket deal went for $45. On Monday a two-day pass went for $120, plus ticket fees.
"It's a different venue with different circumstances this year," says Live Nation spokesman Greg Terlizzi about the pre-announcement admission price.