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ArtPower at UC San Diego Unveils New Local Launchpad Program at Epstein Family Amphitheater

Epstein Family Amphitheater at nighttime.
Epstein Family Amphitheater. Photo by Erik Jepsen.

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ArtPower at UC San Diego will present two upcoming shows at the Epstein Family Amphitheater as part of the kickoff of a new Local Launchpad program. The program was created to invest in local artists, providing them with a space to develop and showcase debut performances on campus and then go on to tour across the country. 

The two new tribute shows kicking off the program will feature San Diego-area artists performing the music of global phenomenon Taylor Swift as well as the legendary duo Johnny Cash and June Carter. Both events will take place at the Epstein Family Amphitheater, bringing new and old hits from the beloved artists right to San Diego.  

“Nostalgia and tribute concerts not only entertain but also serve as a fantastic way to introduce community members to our new venue” said Colleen Kollar Smith, Executive Director of UC San Diego’s Campus Performance and Events Office. “We are thrilled to present bands that have built large followings in San Diego like Yachtley Crew and Queen Nation. At the same time, we want to create opportunities for local artists to develop work and provide a platform that will serve them creatively and economically into the future.” 

“This program is intended to forge a pathway to representation for this work and pave the way for future tours of these concerts to performing arts centers and venues beyond our region,” Kollar Smith added. 

Caitie Grady Evans (left) and Charles Evans Jr. (right).
Caitie Grady Evans (left) and Charles Evans Jr. (right), lead performers of “Because You’re Mine: The Music of June Carter and Johnny Cash." Photo by David Rumley.

On March 22, the first tribute show, “Because You’re Mine: The Music of June Carter and Johnny Cash,” will take over Epstein Family Amphitheater with timeless tunes such as “Jackson” and “Ring of Fire.” Hitting the stage to pay tribute to the country icons are local artists Charles Evans Jr. (winner of the San Diego Critics’ Circle Award for his portrayal of Johnny Cash in Lamb’s Players Theatre’s “Million Dollar Quartet”) and Caitie Grady Evans, (Winner of the San Diego Critics’ Circle Award for her performance in Lamb’s Players Theatre’s “Once”). 

“We are delighted to be premiering "Because You're Mine: The Music of June Carter and Johnny Cash" at UC San Diego,” said Charles Evans Jr. “The music of these two country legends has had a massive impact on my life, and this show is something I have dreamt of for a long time. The support we have received as part of the Local Launchpad program has made it possible to bring that idea to life and bring the show to audiences.” 

Tickets for the Friday evening performance are available at prices ranging from $20 to $45 dollars; free tickets are available to UC San Diego students. The tribute show begins at 7:30 p.m., showcasing the iconic love story of Johnny Cash and June Carter with featured duets including “Long Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man,” and Cash solos such as “Folsom Prison Blues.” 

Cassie Bowerman (Cassie B) with a sparkly guitar.
Cassie Bowerman (Cassie B), singer of “Dream Like Taylor: A Live Band Journey Through The Enchanted Eras of Taylor Swift.” Photo by Jeff Lewis.

On July 12, all Swifties are invited to sing and dance along at the premiere of “Dream Like Taylor: A Live Band Journey Through The Enchanted Eras of Taylor Swift.” This tribute to the 14-time Grammy Award winner will feature Cassie Bowerman (Cassie B) on vocals, musical arrangements by Taylor Peckham (Broadway’s “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical”) and projection and video design by Blake McCarty (two-time winner of San Diego Critics’ Circle Award for Outstanding Projection Design). Attendees can anticipate performances of some of Swift's greatest hits, including "Shake It Off," "Blank Space" and "Wildest Dreams." 

“My dream for performing is to always be challenging myself to create bigger and better entertainment for audiences,” said Cassie B. “This experience with UC San Diego is a significant step in my career with their support and creativity elevating my performance to a whole new level.”

This second Local Launchpad show will begin at 8 p.m., spotlighting songs from all of Swift’s musical eras such as “Love Story,” “You Belong With Me” and “Look What You Made Me Do.” Tickets for the tribute show range from $25 to $35 with free tickets available for UC San Diego students.  

Tickets for both Local Launchpad performances are available now. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the ArtPower at UC San Diego website. 

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