City of Santa Monica

Staff Report

Approval of Memorandum of Understanding for 2020 Soulstice Festival


Department:Economic Development Division, Housing and Economic DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:03. Consent Calendar


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Recommended Action

Recommended Action
Staff recommends that the City Council authorize the City Manager to negotiate and execute a Memorandum of Understanding with the Main Street Business Improvement Association to co-produce the 2020 Summer Soulstice festival.

Staff Report Body


The Summer Soulstice festival (Soulstice) is an annual community event that the Main Street Business Improvement Association (MSBIA) launched in 2001 to showcase the local businesses in the Main Street commercial district.  For the third year in a row, Main Street is proposed to be closed to vehicles for the Soulstice festival.  Staff recommends entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with MSBIA to co-produce the 2020 Soulstice festival and define the roles, responsibilities, and financial contributions of each party.



The MSBIA has produced the Soulstice festival, an annual, free, one-day, live-music event since 2001.  The summer event was organized to celebrate Main Street’s businesses, attract residents and visitors to the area, and expand the entertainment offerings provided at the Sunday Main Street Farmers Market. The event brings vitality to the street, offers the community an opportunity to enjoy free, live musical entertainment in an outdoor setting, and provides an economic boost to the retailers and restaurants on Main Street.  The 2020 Soulstice is planned to feature live bands, a sidewalk sale by Main Street merchants, 150 vendor booths in the street, and beer and wine gardens in private parking lots. This year marks the 20th year of the festival.


As in 2019, the 2020 Soulstice festival is planned to include the closure of Main Street to vehicular traffic from Pico Boulevard to Marine Street on June 28, 2020 from 9:00AM to 9:00PM.  The 2019 street closure was a success because it provided for an expanded closed-street environment, increased the number of exhibitors and activity areas, and allowed for a better integration of the north and south sections of the commercial district.  The Ocean Park Association, which represents the neighborhood surrounding Main Street, has expressed its support for the full road closure. 


Staff recommends that the City enter into an MOU with MSBIA to co-produce the 2020 Soulstice festival, to be held on June 28, 2020. Under the terms of the proposed MOU, MSBIA would assume responsibility for organizing and managing the event, as well as obtaining all appropriate permits.  MSBIA would also be responsible for contracting with an event promoter and musical acts, securing the event space on private property, contracting with vendors and sponsors, and raising the funds necessary to support the event, which is estimated to cost approximately $120,000.


The City would be responsible for providing oversight and coordination of the City’s permitting process, granting access to the street banner on Main Street, coordinating the City’s social media promotion of the event, and providing fee waivers and reductions as well as direct and indirect financial assistance.  In addition to indirect support, the City is expected to provide $26,000 in direct financial assistance to support the event costs, including $1,000 from the Buy Local program budget and $25,000 from the Council Discretionary Funds ($8,000 appropriated June 25, 2019 and $17,000 appropriated January 14, 2020).


Past Council Actions

Meeting Date



(attachment A)

Authorization to enter into MOU with MSBIA to co-produce the 2019 Soulstice festival


(attachment B)

Authorization to enter into a MOU with MSBIA to co-produce the 2018 Soulstice festival


Financial Impacts and Budget Actions

Staff seeks authority to enter into an MOU with MSBIA to co-produce the 2020 Soulstice festival. The indirect costs associated with the event, including fee waivers, fee reductions, and in-kind staff time, are funded from the various City department budgets, including Housing and Economic Development, Community and Cultural Services, Police, and Fire. The City’s direct financial contribution is $26,000.


MOU Request

Request Amount

FY 2019-20 Department / Account #

Total MOU Amount


Council / 01100001.532330.12012


$  8,000

Council / 01100001.532330.12002

$  8,000

$  1,000

HED / 01160004.537040

$  1,000