Downtown summer concerts earn LB a Sociable City Award

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Eleni Houghtonn Diageo, Allison Harnden and Jim Peters from RHI pose with Steve Sheldon, Justin Hectus from the Downtown Long Beach Associates.

The Summer And Music (SAM) concert series presented June through August this year by the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and the Redevelopment Agency (RDA) has been recognized with a Sociable City Award for Outstanding Achievement in Vibrancy, it was announced today by DLBA President and Chief Executive Officer, Kraig Kojian.

The Award, presented by the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) at their Annual Conference held in Austin, TX in November, recognizes exemplary programs throughout the U.S. that help foster safe and vibrant nightlife in urban areas.  Downtown Long Beach was one of just four U.S. cities honored at the Conference.

“The cities that received awards are outstanding models for planning and managing nightlife. Their city leaders are at the forefront of innovation for harnessing dining and entertainment as an economic engine to drive revitalization and increase city funds,” commented RHI president, Jim Peters.

2009 marks the first year for RHI’s Sociable City Award Program. Nine cities from the US and Canada applied. RHI’s board (representing national hospitality, safety, development and community organizations) reviewed applications and selected winners based on cities’ fulfillment of the criteria for safety and vibrancy.

The city that received the much anticipated award for North America’s Most Sociable City satisfied the majority of criteria in both categories of safety and vibrancy. The three cities that qualified for an outstanding achievement award — including Long Beach — satisfied the majority of award criteria in one category: safety or vibrancy.


The SAM series featured more than 40 free concerts in the Waterfront, East Village Arts District and Pine Avenue areas of Downtown Long Beach, including Soul Motion on Pine Avenue, Battle of the Tribute Bands, Busker Fest and the Long Beach Funk Fest, which drew more than 12,000 attendees.  Performances by such notable local artists as Delta Nove, Avi Buffalo and the Cold War Kids helped to attract more than 30,000 music fans to Downtown Long Beach throughout the summer months.

Presented jointly by the DLBA and RDA, SAM was created and produced by local music aficionados, Justin Hectus and Rand Foster.

“We wanted to overhaul the traditional Downtown Music Series into something that would have a more significant impact on Downtown businesses,” said Kojian.  “What Justin and Rand came up with exceeded all expectations and this national recognition is a testament to SAM’s success.”

For more information about the DLBA, please call (562) 436-4259 or log on to

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