The Civic and its users need your help! The City of Santa Cruz will vote next week on the 2022 budget, and draconian cuts are proposed that will severely impact the Civic Auditorium, where we hope to resume concerts in person next summer. Please note the following concerns, as expressed by our Executive Director, Ellen Primack, review the budget links below, and contact City Council members to ensure that your own voice is heard on the matter. Thank you!
Civic Auditorium
A letter to City Council from Festival ED Ellen Primack:
Dear P&R Director Elliot, Mayor Meyers, and members of the City Council,

I write to you as Executive Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, founding member of the Friends of the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, and a concerned resident of the City of Santa Cruz, to request your special attention to the Civic Auditorium budget as you determine funding for the coming year.

The pandemic has had an especially profound and negative impact on the performing arts, artists, and cultural organizations of our community. At a time when we can finally find hope in the wake of despair, and the community can begin to plan to gather, the Civic Auditorium can and must play a meaningful role in the recovery and revitalization of our downtown. As presenters and promoters reemerge from dormancy, the sheer size and flexibility of the Civic will make it more important than ever to our community of artists and audiences.

The economic impact of the Civic on Downtown Santa Cruz—restaurants, businesses, and services—is enormous. Investing in Civic Auditorium staffing and infrastructure has a direct correlation to its ability to generate operating income for the City and the businesses which surround it. Undercutting that investment just as restrictions lift and the potential to grow usage of the facility increases would be short sighted.

I ask you to please consider that there is a profound need for our community to gather, and to gather specifically around arts and culture; and I believe there will be increased demand for the facility as the year continues. Supporting that growth and the potential for full scale and increased usage in 2022 will serve the City and the entire community. Capitalizing on this opportunity, rather than retreating from it with funding cuts, can and will make all the difference. Thank you for your time and efforts.


Ellen M. Primack
How the proposed budget impacts Civic users:
  • Box Office Representative budget is cut yet again, representing a total loss of 50 staff hours per week. This will likely translate to reduced operating days and far less customer service for ticket buyers.
  • Civic's facility attendant will be reduced to half-time, that means less time to keep the Civic clean and functional.
  • Budget for temporary staff will also be reduced to half, meaning less friendly faces and far longer lines at concessions.
RFT Civic
  • Other than roof repairs, no budget has been allocated for safety and comfort-related capital improvements as recommended by FOCA (Friends of the Civic Auditorium).
What you can do:
  1. Review the recent Santa Cruz City Council 2022 proposed budget meeting packet HERE. It includes presentations from all departments, and some public input. Note: Park & Rec section begins on p.144 (Civic falls under their jurisdiction) and Civic mentions on p.155 and 156.
  2. Send a note voicing your opinion to City Council members here: citycouncil@cityofsantacruz.com.

Words to City Council from IATSE, our Festival stagehands:
"Many in the industry predict this will be the largest entertainment boom to hit the US in anyone's recent memory. The last thing the City should be doing is taking Santa Cruz out of that conversation by removing funding from one of the largest entertainment venues in the area, right at the time that entertainment is going to be exploding.

This building can be profitable, especially under current management, and could therefore fund other projects in the City of Santa Cruz. But money needs to be allocated to the venue to ensure that can happen, not removed from it to guarantee it doesn't have a chance.

Sincerely, Andrew Hurchalla
Business Representative IATSE Local 611
Santa Cruz/Monterey"
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter!


Your friends at the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music