"After 11 years and almost 550 concerts, AMSD Concerts will be coming to an end soon," was posted this morning in an email blast from producer Carey Driscoll. "The July 12 Led Kaapana concert will be the last show we present."
Acoustic Music San Diego began on July 25, 2003, with a single concert at the now-defunct Valley Music store in El Cajon before moving to a community center in Normal Heights. Driscoll staged a half dozen more shows there. The nearby United Methodist church on Mansfield worked better for Driscoll’s needs because of the superior acoustics, the central location, and an audience that, as Driscoll puts it, “comes for the music and respects the artists by not talking nonstop during their performances." The series remained there for a decade.
In February, AMSD traded one church for another when Driscoll moved the production to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church near Southeast San Diego. The reason, Driscoll told the Reader in December was that the Normal Heights church had a new minister with new ideas about how the seating should be arranged.
“He’s going to an in-the-round setup that wouldn’t work for concerts, and the change will reduce capacity, too," Driscoll said. "But I really appreciate the fact that we were able to use the church for ten great years, and we would have stayed there as long as the series existed if not for the changes they’re going to be making.”
Over the years Driscoll has produced shows by Blood, Sweat & Tears founder Al Kooper, the Strawbs, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Judy Collins, Janis Ian, It's a Beautiful Day, Tom Rush, Geoff Muldaur, John Sebastian, Tom Paxton, Richie Havens, Barry McGuire, Dave Alvin, and Peter Case, just to name a few. He became known as a promoter who was willing to take risks and bring artists otherwise not known to San Diego.
A personal AMSD high? Getting to meet the Band's Garth Hudson in the green room one year.
AMSD's final four shows are Chuck Mead on May 25, Global Guitar Greats Thomas Leeb, Stephen Inglis & Shawn Jones on June 6, Trippin' the Sixties with Barry McGuire and John York June 14, and Led Kaapana on July 12.
"Thank you," today's morning email continues, "to our volunteer staff, concertgoers, media, performers, and everyone else who has supported our efforts over the years."
Carey Driscoll declined to comment.