Axios San Diego

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Welcome to Wednesday. That's not an idiom or anything — just a greeting.

  • Today's weather: Coast — Partly sunny; highs in the mid-60s. Inland — Mostly sunny; highs in the low 70s.

Situational awareness: Student protesters at UCSD are calling for a walkout from classes at 12:05pm, followed by a protest on Sungod Lawn, per an Instagram post by Students for Justice in Palestine.

Today's newsletter is 880 words — a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Wonderfront returns while festival industry retreats

A crowd shot of the 2022 Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival. Photo: Courtesy Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival.

Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival's road to becoming a premier music event in San Diego hasn't been easy. Now, its third iteration in six years arrives with the festival industry on the rocks.

Why it matters: Wonderfront skipped 2020 and 2021 for the pandemic, and took 2023 off while shifting from fall to spring. It's back now with an impressive lineup and a focus on single-day tickets.

Driving the news: The three-day event kicks off at noon Friday at Embarcadero Marina Park, with free community stages at Seaport Village.

The big picture: More than a decade after major festivals revamped the music industry, they've fallen on hard times.

Between the lines: A typical weekend festival expects a 70-30 split between three-day pass and single-day ticket buyers; however, Wonderfront managing partner Paul Thornton said organizers have flipped that this year.

  • That meant planning each day as a stand-alone event.
  • "For someone who is really only into hip-hop, if we spread it across three days, that might feel thin," Thornton said. "If they can focus on one day, that feels like good value."

Context: San Diego has a reputation as a tough market, but Thornton said Wonderfront officials have adjusted to its late-buying tendencies.

  • "It's just the nature of the market — people are afraid to be locked in too early," he said. "It could be a perfect beach weekend that people don't want to give up."
  • The fests that thrive here — like EDM-centric CRSSD and country-focused Boots in the Park — have stayed small and catered to a niche.

By the numbers: The public agency San Diego Tourism Marketing District has again contributed $250,000 to the festival, and the Port of San Diego waived park permit fees.

What's next: Thornton said Wonderfront hopes to surpass 12,500 attendees per day.

  • "We know we have a challenge, but we keep getting better, and if we do this right, we know people will come," Thornton said.

The intrigue

2. 😎 Your Wonderfront festival guide

A festival fan during Wonderfront's 2022 event. Photo: Courtesy Wonderfront Music & Arts Festival

More than 80 acts spread across nine venues will perform at Wonderfront — including free stages outside the festival and aftershows around town.

The vibe: Festival organizers this year mostly focused each day around a genre.

  • Friday is hip-hop and EDM day — headliners Kaytranada and JID follow a day of T-Pain, Channel Tres, Bakar and Paris Texas.
  • Saturday is all-interest rock and pop — Weezer and Dominik Fike headline after a day of sets including Carly Rae Jepsen, Action Bronson, Briston Maroney, Milky Chance, Poolside and Proxima Parada.
  • Sunday will feature a rootsy, Americana, party vibe headlined by Beck and Mt. Joy with standouts like The Roots, Marcus King, Steel Pulse and Natasha Bedingfield.

How it works: Music Box is hosting $35 aftershows each night — Channel Tres on Friday, Poolside on Saturday and Rayland Baxter and Fruit Bats on Sunday.

  • Seaport Village will offer two free stages featuring local bands like The Routine and Band of Gringos.

Zoom in: Wonderfront built a dance-club tent in the center of the grounds.

My thought bubble: Setting the big names aside, I'm carving out time to see Paris Texas, Proxima Parada, Mapache and Samm Henshaw.

The big picture

3. The Lineup: Local news roundup

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

🚎 MTS is proposing a new trolley line — the Copper Line — to replace the "green" and "orange" lines between the El Cajon Transit Center and Santee to reduce delays. (KPBS)

⚖️ Hundreds of residents and property owners are suing San Diego over the Jan. 22 flood damage that totaled more than $100 million. They say the city ignored stormwater system maintenance. (CBS8)

City Council members are hesitant to advance Mayor Todd Gloria's plans to add new shelters while existing homelessness programs are facing possible budget cuts. (Union-Tribune)

4. 🕊️ Remembering Joan Jacobs

Irwin and Joan Jacobs at a gala dinner in 2018 in New York City. Photo: Krista Kennell/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

San Diego community leader and philanthropist Joan Jacobs died Monday at 91.

The big picture: For decades, Jacobs and husband Irwin, a co-founder of Qualcomm, donated hundreds of millions of dollars to institutions and causes in San Diego.

  • They were original signers of the "Giving Pledge," a campaign for America's wealthiest people to "give the majority of their wealth to address some of society's most pressing problems."

Zoom in: The Jacobs made a $120 million pledge to the San Diego Symphony in 2002.

Other Jacobs beneficiaries include: San Diego's Central Library, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, the Salk Institute, KPBS and Voice of San Diego.

What they're saying: "[Grandma Joan] showed me that I could be feminine and win an argument, I could be a wife and mother and grandmother and also a leader, and I could chart my own path in life while still remembering and giving back to my community," her granddaughter and U.S. Rep. Sara Jacobs said in a statement.

Our picks:

🏀 Andy isn't even sheepish over how hard he's jumping on the Anthony Edwards bandwagon.

💐 Kate is wondering if anyone has used Native Poppy for DIY wedding florals.

This newsletter was edited by Ross Terrell and copy edited by James Gilzow.