Word today on the street, and the beach, is that country music megastar and actor Tim McGraw (left) will appear in concert tonight on Coronado Beach just outside the Hotel del Coronado. The stage is already built, and my sources tell me McGraw, who appeared and sang on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night in Hollywood, is performing, possibly at 9:00 p.m., possibly earlier.
But here's the rub, y'all: you and I are not invited. It's a private and supposedly secret performance held by one of the Hotel Del's clients, presumably a very rich one. This of course begs the question: Did this client really think word wouldn't get out about this show? In this age of social media, phone cameras and instant "news," how in the heck do you hold a secret function on a very popular beach on a crystal-clear San Diego day when temperatures are in the 80s?
People walking by have already seen roadies unloading gear with McGraw's name on it. Do the math, folks. Coronado Beach tonight is gonna look a lot like The San Diego Zoo.
This all puts the Hotel Del's PR and marketing folks, who I know well and who are very capable and ethical people, between a beach boulder and a hard place. Does the hotel upset its obviously wealthy client and go on the record with info about the show? Or does it not comment at all and appear as
if it's not taking any responsibility for holding an event featuring one of America's most popular entertainers adjacent to a public beach?
Sara Harper, the Hotel Del's director of marketing, would neither confirm nor deny the McGraw appearance tonight. I got that confirmation from a local radio station and from Coronado locals who spoke with roadies unpacking McGraw's music equipment. But Harper did acknowledge that there is an event taking place this evening on the section of the beach that is owned by the hotel, and that the hotel's client is keeping the information about it strictly confidential.
"Our client is holding their
private event on Hotel del Coronado property, not on the public beach
area," she said. "We have held many events on Del Beach over the years similar to
this and there have not been any issues. The City of Coronado is aware
of the event as they oversee the public beach."
The Hotel Del would not detail which parts of the beach are private and public. But it looks like one big beautiful beach to me. And even if the stage and immediate
area around it are on Hotel Del property, there's an enormous surrounding beach area still within eyeshot and earshot of the stage that is 100 percent public.
In other words, fans of McGraw, a truly class act and loving husband and father of three daughters, will probably show up tonight on Coronado Beach in droves. Who can blame them? And if and when they do, should they not be given at least a general idea of where
they can and can not hang their hats? I'm sure Tim will love it when he sees his real fans beyond the fences, ropes and cones.
I first found out about McGraw's appearance on Coronado Happenings, the largest social media site about Coronado on Facebook. The site has been talking about the McGraw rumors for a couple days. I made a few calls to confirm the appearance, then subsequently posted on the site and asked people to comment.
It turned into a heated debate about who owns the beach. There are of course no dotted lines on the sand telling us where we can and can
not go. But in the past, the hotel to its credit has been very good about letting folks
traverse and enjoy the parts of the beach it owns.
None of this was meant to antagonize folks at the Hotel Del. It's a lovely hotel and beach and a favorite spot for me and my family, as I've noted in past stories. The folks who work there are cordial and professional. But perhaps the moneyed client who booked a music superstar to appear on a local beach should have realized that, these days, word travels fast about stuff like this.
Neither the hotel's client nor the best security force will be able to stop the potential stampede of country music fans when they make their way come hell or high water to Coronado tonight.
Said Danielle Biggins McCurdy, "I'm sure the hotel will try to block off the walkway to detour people, but yes, the beach is public."
Added Coronado resident Bridget Dillen, "It's going to be crazy down there tonight, and I'm excited."