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Station to Station stop in Barstow deemed a success
BARSTOW • Skyline Drive-In owner Gene Harvey said that Wednesday night meant back to business for his outdoor theater, one day after it had been transformed into a sprawling, carnival-like atmosphere of art and music.
“I think everything went off pretty well,” Harvey said of Tuesday’s Station to Station tour stop, featuring musical performances from the likes of Beck and Cat Power, and art from Olaf Breuning, Peter Coffin and others.
Harvey said the 800 or so concert-goers in attendance, by show officials’ estimation, was on par with the drive-in’s busiest summer nights.
A maximum-alotted 1,000 tickets were sold for the event. More than 1,000 people were inside the grounds — including staff, media and artists — according to Molly Logan, Station to Station’s executive producer.
But five times as many could have easily filled the outdoor theater, which instead provided a wide-openness for attendees to walk and converse, an unusual liberty for any event of similar magnitude.
“We intentionally kept those numbers,” Logan said. “(Or else) you don’t have that sense of intimacy.”
Logan said that artist Doug Aitken, the brainchild behind the tour, put Barstow in his sights about a year ago at the planning stages.
“Barstow was the one stop that was non-negotiable,” she said. That may be hard to believe when the list of other stops on the tour include New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Los Angeles.
However, Aitken had done creative projects in the area before, she said, and grew “obsessed” with the drive-in.
Asked if there were any chance of Station to Station returning next year, Logan said it was possible.
“We always said if demand was there,” she said. “I think the response at every stop has confirmed our idea that people are into in art, music and film.”
Most of the 800-plus people who bought tickets to Tuesday’s show weren’t local, coming from places as close as Los Angeles to as far away as New York.
Some fit the night into broader travel plans, including one couple from the Czech Republic. Others had began to follow the tour in stops like Winslow, Ariz., or Santa Fe, N.M., and were hoping to see it through until at least Los Angeles.
One group of six said they were from Hinkley.
“It’s very unexpected,” local 19-year-old Tannesa Tinley said.
“It’s legit,” Tinley’s friend, Hunter Mauldin said. “It gives us something to do.”
Area authorities were on hand just in case, but reported no problems.
Local businesses had a part in the act as well. Los Domingos restaurant in Barstow was contracted for alcohol concessions. Logan said many of the show’s staff dined at the Main Street restaurant Monday night. And staff and artists stayed in area hotels, she said.
“It’s good to be here in Barstow on this beautiful desert evening,” the last performer of the night, Beck, told the crowd that had gathered near the front of the stage.
It seemed to be a consensus feeling.
“People have said, ‘can you stage something in Barstow and have the numbers you want?’,” said Harvey, who confirmed he would be receptive of hosting the event again. “Well, the answer is a resounding ‘yes.’”
Shea Johnson may be reached at (760) 256-4126 or at SJohnson@DesertDispatch.com.