The popular Twilight Dance Series on the Santa Monica Pier will kick off its 25th anniversary season Thursday, July 2nd.

The concert series’ anniversary coincides with other milestone celebrations this year, highlighted by the 100th birthday of the Pier itself September 9th and the 85th anniversary of the La Monica Ballroom, which was one of the historical centers of the big band dance era before it burned down at the west end of the Pier.

For the first time in Twilight Dance Series history, there will be a wine bar available at each concert showcasing a variety of world class wines presented by Wally’s Wine. Tickets for the wine bar will be available to those 21 and older for purchase at the concert.

All concerts are free and begin at 7 p.m.

The concert series will begin with a performance by the multi-media band Playing for Change. The band has become a global phenomenon with an estimated 20 million views on You Tube, a top ten debut on Billboard magazine’s list, over 100,000 in record sales and a feature documentary scheduled to air on PBS next month. The band is also set to play on The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien Thursday, July 9th.

The band’s video for “Stand By Me” is believed to be the highest rated music video of all time on You Tube, a Twilight Dance Series spokesperson notes.

Other performance highlights of the weekly concert series are Joan Baez (July 9th), the Squirrel Nut Zippers (July 23rd) and Patti Smith, who will close the series September 3rd. Among other scheduled performers are Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited, Sgt. Garcia, Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women, Idan Raichel Project , Venice and Lila Downs.

Complimentary valet bike parking will be provided for the concerts. Information, www.twilightdance.org/, www.santamonicapier.org/, or (310) 458-8901.

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