San Diego Music Awards set for August return to Humphreys

Jason Mraz performs at a San Diego Music Awards ceremony
A file photo of Jason Mraz performing at a San Diego Music Awards ceremony.
(Crissy Pascual)

Because of the pandemic-fueled shutdown of live events, the San Diego Music Awards was held online last year for the first time in its history. This year, the nonprofit event will celebrate its 30th anniversary on Aug. 24 at the 1,450-capacity Humphreys Concerts by the Bay.

The 2021 edition will take place a week after the season-opening Aug. 17 and 18 standing-room-only shows at Humphreys by the bands Mt. Joy and Trampled By Turtles.

This year will mark a return to the bayside venue for the awards show. It moved to downtown’s House of Blues in 2017 after being held for more than a decade at Humphreys.

“I decided to speak to Humphreys about returning because it’s our 30th anniversary,” said San Diego Music Awards founder and promoter Kevin Hellman. “It was our long-time host venue and is the best place for us. It’s home. Hosting the awards show outdoors is a bonus, given the current climate (of uncertainty) that we’re in.”

The 2021 nominees will be announced May 2 at 7 p.m. on a livestream program at Voting for nominees will open to the public from May 15 through June 30.

The pandemic has had a direct impact on this year’s number of categories, which have both shrunk and grown.

Awards will be handed out in 20 categories. Because live concerts have been stilled since early 2020, the awards categories honoring live performances have been placed on hold this time around. In their place, categories for Best Video and Best R&B, Funk or Soul Album have been added, along with songwriting awards for Best Folk/Acoustic, Best Americana, Blues or Jazz, Best Hip-Hop, Best Pop, Best Rock and Best Indie/Alternative.

Proceeds from the awards show benefit the San Diego Music Foundation’s Guitars in the School program. Tickets will go on sale May 10 at Prices have not been confirmed yet.