Ken Dahleen, founder and producer of the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series, announced the performers for the 2019 — the 20th-annual — ISCS.

The first headliner, and these are all headline acts, will be The Diamonds, nationally famous and treasured. Do not come alone to this event, be sure to bring your “Little Darlin’.”

Dahleen has worked with the group many times and they are as excited to visit Idyllwild as he is to introduce them to the inaugural crowd at the Idyllwild Community Center Amphitheatre.

“July 11 is the grand opening of the amphitheatre,” Dahleen said proudly. “It’s the first time for the new location and we’re opening with The Diamonds. It’ll be great!

“For the 20th series, I tried to pick the top groups — the most popular — over these 20 years,” Dahleen said. (See the accompanying box for the entire 2019 schedule.)

A Marine and musician, years ago, Dahleen, a saxophonist, spent many summer nights performing with popular and well-known musicians and acts. “I said we ought to do this in Idyllwild.”

But there was no local government entity to approach that would help organize and defray costs. So on his own, Dahleen reached out to community leaders to provide that assistance.

“We only had months to do it,” he exclaimed. But they did it. There were four acts that year and the concerts were where the Village Center Complex (Higher Grounds and Idyll Awhile) are located now.

Over time, the concerts have migrated from their original venue to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park, the Idyllwild Community Center, and in 2018, the parking lot of the Idyllwild Brewpub. But in 2019 and the future, the ISCS will be hosted at the ICC Amphitheatre.

“We’re proud to do that, inaugurate the amphitheatre. It’s a wonderful addition to the community,” he said.

As a former Marine, Dahleen admitted that many of his proudest moments each year have been when the Marine Corps band performs. “I still have friends connected with them and some friendships have passed.”

But the biggest challenge each year, Dahleen said, without hesitation, is fundraising. 

“We always start out without enough money, but by the last concert we’ve got enough,” he said. He then mentioned that this year’s budget is a little more because of some special things planned for the 20th anniversary series.