Make Music Pasadena, facing financial deficit, is going on hiatus

Atlas Genus on the main stage at Make Music Pasadena 2016 (Photo by Carl Pocket)
Atlas Genus on the main stage at Make Music Pasadena 2016 (Photo by Carl Pocket)

Make Music Pasadena, the summer Saturday of free music that brought scores of performers to the streets and venues of the Rose City, won’t happen this year. The future of the event, which organizers say faces a $150,000 budget deficit, is in jeopardy.

In a statement issued Thursday night, the producers of the event, the Old Pasadena Management District and the Playhouse District Association, said MMP would go “on hiatus for 2017” while they “evaluate its future viability.”

MMP grew to be wildly successful over its nine years, hosting some national touring acts and becoming an important annual showcase for L.A. emerging acts. But staging a festival — especially one with the wingspan of the Pasadena event — is expensive.

“Current funding sources are not sufficient to finance an event that is entirely free to the public,” they said, adding that “a proliferation of local and national music festivals has also made it a challenge to secure both talent and local media attention within a limited budget.”

Indeed, the local festival scene has exploded in recent years, with both municipally backed and promoter-fueled events seemingly springing up everywhere.

“The producing organizations remain hopeful that sufficient sponsorship might be achieved for a 2018 event, and altruistically inclined white knights are encouraged to contact either organization to discuss details,” MMP’s statement said. “That’s not to say that Pasadena will be without live music this summer: We are delighted that the Arroyo Seco Weekend Festival will join in the tradition of bringing local, regional, and national acts to the people of Pasadena.”