Ryan McDonald

Locals get inside track to Teen Choice tickets

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Actress and singer Lucy Hale is co-hosting the awards. Photo courtesy BabyGrande PR

by Ryan McDonald

Hermosa Beach will soon provide the world with what may be its only chance to see pop colossus OneRepublic perform their hit “Rescue Me” in shouting distance of an actual lifeguard tower.

The Teen Choice Awards, a youth-oriented awards ceremony drawing some of the biggest and most marketable stars on the planet, is coming to the sand south of the Hermosa Pier on Sunday, Aug. 11. The event, which will be nationally televised on the Fox network, is expected to draw about 10,000 fans for a celebration likely to thrill fans and reveal Hermosa to millions of people, while testing the preparation and infrastructure of the small, densely populated coastal town.

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Organizers announced this week that as many as 3,000 of the sought-after tickets to the event will be set aside for residents of Hermosa, Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach. In a statement, Hermosa Mayor Stacey Armato said that reserving the substantial number of tickets for locals will not only allow them to enjoy the spectacle of the show, but may reduce  impacts on the area by increasing the share of people who walk or bike to the show.

“We thank Fox and Teen Choice 2019 for supporting our efforts to encourage walking and cycling to Hermosa Beach to reduce demand for parking and ease congestion during this exciting live event,” Armato said.

Among the many celebrities scheduled to appear at the awards, which will run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., are Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers and Robert Downey, Jr. The event will be hosted by actress-singer Lucy Hale and YouTuber David Dobrik; Hale has more than 24 million followers on Instagram, while Dobrik’s YouTube channel has over 13 million subscribers. Taylor Swift is ranked eighth on Instagram with 114 million followers.

YouTuber David Dobrik is co-hosting the awards. Photo by Jack Dytrych

The high-wattage nature of the ceremony has produced excitement but also concern that a large event is being foisted on Hermosa residents during what is already the busiest time of year for the city’s beaches. The awards fall in the middle of a six-week period that includes the Hermosa Open volleyball tournament, the International Surf Festival, a two weekend-long summer concert series, and the Labor Day Fiesta Hermosa.

Because of what city staff have described as a need for confidentiality in negotiations with the broadcaster and marketers, news of the awards coming to Hermosa was not announced until a special May 31 Hermosa City Council meeting, and many of the stars expected to appear and preparation aspects of the event have only been announced in the past week. Although most large-scale events in the city go through a public vetting and approval process, the city’s municipal code allows for staff to negotiate privately with event producers when secrecy is a concern or timing is of the essence.

This is what occurred earlier in 2014, when Jimmy Buffet played a surprise Saturday night concert on the beach as part of a marketing tie-in with “Shark Week.” Thousands of Parrotheads descended on Hermosa for a well-received show that unfolded smoothly on the beach, but created complications elsewhere in town. Jani Lange, a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, said that the traffic impacts of the show were felt all the way to Pacific Coast Highway, and that area restaurants, given little notice of the show, lost money because “they ran out of food, they ran out of beer.”

There is considerably more notice for the Teen Choice Awards. Banners for the event have been hung throughout town, mailers have been distributed to residents, and city staff says they are speaking with businesses likely to be impacted by the ceremony. But unease about the event is likely to remain.   

“There are several aspects of the agreement that were reached that I think would not have wound up being recommended by this commission, or at least would have been seriously questioned by the commission, if it had been presented to us,” said parks and rec chair Robert Rosenfeld at a recent meeting.

Setup for the Teen Choice Awards is expected to begin this coming Monday, employees of Bob Bain Productions, the El Segundo company that is producing the ceremony, told the commission. The company will use Parking Lot A, just south of Pier Plaza, and is expected to fully occupy the parking lot starting Thursday, Aug. 8.

By afternoon on the day before the event, the Pier and portions of The Strand to the north and south will be closed to pedestrians to allow for event rehearsal. Starting at 11 a.m. on the day of the awards, Hermosa Avenue, Beach Drive, and several streets north and south of Pier Avenue will be closed to cars. Businesses in the area will remain open and accessible, although a portion of Pier Plaza will be reserved for an event red carpet. The event infrastructure is expected to be removed by Monday, Aug. 12

Event producers said that they are as aware as any one of the challenges associated with hosting the ceremony on Hermosa’s beach. The team has hired more security than for any previous ceremony, and is instructing those setting up the show to buy their lunch at downtown Hermosa restaurants.

“It means so much to be here. Money cannot buy this environment,” Brett Ostro, who is working with Bob Bain Productions, told the parks and rec commission.

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