“It was a struggle to get the permits from the City of Chula Vista,” says Mikey Hernandez. “They rarely issue permits for live music that goes beyond 11 p.m., but I was adamant about getting permits that would extend the show to 2:30 a.m.” He says the process took two months. “Everybody reviewed the paperwork — five separate departments, including the fire department.” He says the original date was June 5. That got pushed back to July 24. Now, it’s set for Saturday, September 18.
“One of the more difficult permit struggles was with the fire chief,” he says. “But they just want to make sure that people can have a good time and be safe. I had to read the California Codes on what I could and could not do. It’s a pretty boring read.” He laughs. “But, it makes sense.”
Hernandez produced the first South County Music and Arts Festival last year in Rohr Park in Bonita, which he says drew over 1000 in attendance. “I want to keep this a community event, but I want it to grow into a larger community event. It’s a celebration of South County; not just Eastlake or Chula Vista but South County as one united force.”
Hernandez says that he plans to take his new knowledge and produce similar concerts in other communities and, eventually, in other cities. “It was a well-earned lesson that the City gave me.”
This year’s festival is based around a full day of music, including reggae, rock, hip-hop, soul, R&B, DJs, and spoken word. Hernandez says that the bands he and promotion partners Lifted Muzik (a South Bay record label) have booked include Quino from Big Mountain, Stranger, Roots Covenant, and Ballet Folklorico. The work of South Bay artists will be on display as well.
“We’re shutting down the parking lot in front of the Eastlake Tavern and the Brew House at Eastlake and setting up the same concert stage that was in use at the Del Mar Fair. We’ll have a big sound system and a big lighting system.”
Mikey Hernandez, 31, is a Chula Vista native and an audio engineer by trade. “I mix sound for large concerts.” His goal is to produce three or four large shows per year.
“The [South County Music and Arts Festival] is happening on Mexican Independence Day. We want to offer that as our underlying theme. Chula Vista,” he says. “It’s the happiest place on earth. Second to Disneyland.”
For more information, go to southcountyfestival.com.