Rock on: summer concert series coming to Quarry Amphitheater

Quarry Amphitheater
UC Santa Cruz and Noise Pop Industries plan to fill the Quarry Amphitheather this summer.

This summer, the Quarry Amphitheater will rock.

UC Santa Cruz, in partnership with Noise Pop Industries, will produce a series of concerts in the university’s storied, outdoor venue. The musical lineup currently includes two performers across three show dates: Carla Morrison will take the stage on June 24 and Sound Tribe Sector 9 (STS9) will entertain audiences Aug. 12 and 13.

Carla Morrison is a Mexican-born singer/songwriter. An anomaly in the regionalized world of indie pop, she sings almost exclusively in Spanish but is beloved around the world for her poignant, tender, love songs. Her alto voice communicates deep emotions in settings ranging from acoustic constructions and elegantly constructed indie rock to atmospheric electronic pop. 

STS9 has been a sonic pioneer for two decades. Using electronic and acoustic means, the instrumental five-piece channels the primordial and celestial, producing a cutting-edge sound that has forged a path for multiple generations of electronic dance music. Seamlessly integrating their exploratory and improvisation-based music with a fully immersive light show, each performance is a transcendent celebration of humanity.  

Tickets for Carla Morrison and STS9 will go on sale Friday, April 15 at 10 a.m. and can be purchased directly from the Quarry Amphitheater’s website. Morrison and STS9 are just a few of the sounds that will fill the Quarry this summer. UC Santa Cruz and Noise Pop Industries plan to announce additional performances soon. 

Based out of San Francisco, Noise Pop Industries is one of the nation’s leading independent music promoters. Annually, they produce hundreds of events spanning more than two dozen venues throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In addition to featuring many early-career performances by artists such as Modest Mouse, The Flaming Lips, The White Stripes, Death Cab for Cutie, they also co-founded Treasure Island Musical Festival and Another Planet entertainment. 

Jose Reyes-Olivias, general manager of Quarry Amphitheater, noted Noise Pop’s past work as just one of the reasons to be excited about the Quarry’s upcoming summer, “Noise Pop’s connection to independent music and culture felt like a perfect fit to find some great artists to play here.” 

Likewise, Noise Pop welcomes the collaboration with UC Santa Cruz. “Noise Pop is honored to present the inaugural public concerts at The Quarry Amphitheater and breathe some new live music life into the greater Santa Cruz region,” said Noise Pop Industries founder Kevin Arnold. “We’re fortunate to have forged a partnership built on a shared vision and passion for the potential of the Quarry with Jose and the UCSC community,”

The advent of the 2022 summer concert series marks an important–and long awaited–moment for the Quarry Amphitheater. After an $8 million dollar renovation brought the amphitheater back to life in fall 2017, campus officials hoped the space would again become the vibrant gathering ground it once was. 

In its heyday, the Quarry Amphitheater was central to campus life. Hosting convocations, rallies, and performances, the amphitheater’s stage welcomed public figures like Angela Davis, Ravi Shankar, Alfred Hitchcock, and Dolores Huerta. Not only did the recent renovation restore the quarry’s vital role in campus life, it also created an opportunity to establish the quarry as a prominent, local entertainment venue. 

When the Quarry reopened in 2017, the Dean of Students office took over management of the amphitheater and planned to make this vision a reality. Reyes-Olivias explained, “This has been part of the vision since we re-opened in 2017 and is the result of a lot of hard work by staff across campus. We are really looking forward to welcoming our audiences to this magical open air beauty of a venue.” 

With a general admission capacity of 2700, the Quarry is not only the largest outdoor amphitheater in the Santa Cruz area, it’s also one of the most uniquely designed. Carved from a former lime quarry, tucked within redwoods and amidst rocky outcroppings, the Quarry’s asymmetrical terrace design will offer concert-goers breathtaking views in every direction. 

Garrett Naiman, dean of students and associate vice chancellor for student development and engagement, shared his enthusiasm for the Quarry’s milestone, “This effort–originally planned to be on a larger scale–was initiated prior to the pandemic. We are really excited to finally see this idea come to fruition and have the Quarry host its first ever public facing summer concert series. We see it as a big moment for the Quarry Amphitheater, for our campus and for our connection to the broader community and region.”

At last, it’s time to rock the quarry and let the good times roll.