Music News & Reviews

Paso Pops’ July 4 fireworks, concert moving to a new spot

Paso Pops, held at the Paso Robles Horse Park in 2017, moves to the Paso Robles Event Center in 2018.
Paso Pops, held at the Paso Robles Horse Park in 2017, moves to the Paso Robles Event Center in 2018.

A popular Fourth of July concert and fireworks show is moving to a new venue in Paso Robles.

Paso Pops, an Independence Day celebration, will be July 4 at the Paso Robles Event Center, home to the California Mid-State Fair, Firestone Walker Invitational Beer Fest and numerous other events. The move comes after the two years at the Paso Robles Horse Park.

Concert organizers have signed a three-year contract with the venue, according to a news release.

“It was a tough call, but thus far ... it was the right call,” Paso Pops founder Steve Cass wrote in an email.

According to Cass, finances played a big part in the decision to change venues.

“We lost $20,000 last year and 25 percent of the cost to put on the show was for infrastructure required for a 4,000-person event,” including a stage, tents and portable toilets, said Cass, owner of Cass Winery in Paso Robles and past Paderewski Festival board president.

Those extras aren’t required at the Paso Robles Event Center’s Main Stage, which also offers bleacher seating and ample protection from sun and wind.

Plus the new venue is more easily accessible than the Paso Robles Horse Park, which has a single drive-in entryway, Cass said, requiring shuttle buses and traffic control.

Sponsored by the Paderewski Festival, Paso Pops features wine tasting, food trucks, fireworks, family-friendly activities and patriotic music by the San Luis Obispo Symphony, led by music director Andrew Sewell. New this year are carnival rides for kids, the news release said.

Actor, director and wine-industry spokesman Casey Biggs — also known as Paso Wine Man — will serve as emcee for a third year.

Paso Pops started in 2016. Cass told The Tribune then that he was inspired to create a “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular”-style event after a free Fourth of July fireworks show in Paso Robles fizzled in 2015 due to adverse weather conditions.

Tickets for Paso Pops cost $20, or $1,000 to $3,500 per table, and go on sale April 2. (Up to two children 12 and younger are free with paid adult admission.) Net proceeds benefit the Paderewski Festival’s Youth Piano Competition and Youth Cultural Exchange Program.

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Note: This story has been updated to include details from Steve Cass about the reason for Paso Pops’ move.

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