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Arts & Culture

Grammy-winning Switchfoot to headline December Nights on Saturday

A banner advertising Switchfoot performing at December Nights in Balboa Park, Dec. 1, 2023.
Carlos Castillo
A banner advertising Switchfoot performing at December Nights in Balboa Park, Dec. 1, 2023.

Twenty years ago, a San Diego radio station — 91X — was the first to play Switchfoot's music.

Now, the station was instrumental in getting the band to perform at San Diego's signature holiday event: December Nights.

"91X called, and, whenever they call, we answer the phone," drummer Chad Butler said. "We love those guys."


Switchfoot just came off its 20th-anniversary tour, so guitarist Tim Foreman said being home for the holidays and playing for the hometown crowd was special.

"It's good to be home this year for Christmas," he said. "A lot of times, we're on tour, and I can't think of a better way to get into the hometown holiday spirit than playing a Christmas show in our backyard."

This is the first time December Nights will have a major musical act on its stages. 91X program manager Garrett Michaels said the idea started last year after the band released its first Christmas album, "This Is Our Christmas Album".

"I think the opportunity for them to be able to perform at December Nights at Balboa Park really kind of hits them at their heart," Michaels said.

But the timing wasn't right. The band was on one tour and getting ready for its 20th-anniversary tour.


Michaels said that, as a San Diego-grown band, the guys from Switchfoot would have been at December Nights with their families anyhow.

"I think maybe the cherry on the holiday sundae is that they actually get to perform for friends and family here on the Organ Pavilion stage," he said. "I mean, a fun fact about Jon and Tim Foreman is their mom is actually trained and qualified to play the organ here."

He said the band was in talks with the city to see if they could incorporate the organ into their set but, with the cold weather, it's unlikely that it will happen.

The band will perform at 6:30 p.m. at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and at 8:45 p.m. at the AARP stage in the Holiday Cheer Garden near the NAT.

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