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Lana Del Rey breathes life into old history video about Long Beach’s Jergins Tunnel at Coachella

Jesse Lopez, a former journalist, said his video detailing the history of the Jergins Tunnel from 2016 was used during Lana Del Rey's set at Coachella this year.

Lana Del Rey breathes life into old history video about Long Beach’s Jergins Tunnel at Coachella
Jesse Lopez stands in front of a mural in Downtown Long Beach Monday April 29, 2024. Audio from a video he published in 2016 was used during Lana Del Rey’s Coachella set this month. Photo by Jason Ruiz

The 2024 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, which has come and gone, saw some local hype after Sublime reunited with former frontman Bradley Nowell’s son but they weren’t the only Long Beach voices heard at the festival.

Jesse Lopez, a former Grunion Gazette journalist, who now works for the city’s LBTV network, says he made an unplanned appearance at Coachella. Lopez wasn’t on stage, but a recording of his voice from a video he published in 2016 about the history of the Jergins Tunnel played during an interlude amid Lana Dey Rey’s set.

The performer headlined shows on both weekends of the festival and Lopez believes clips of his history video from 2016 were used as the buildup to her song “Did you know there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd,” which she released in March 2023.

Lopez posted a video reacting to the news that he said he woke up to after taking a nap following a long day of filming at this year’s Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach. He began getting messages that his nearly eight-year-old video was getting new likes and comments with the words “Coachella” and lots of exclamation points, he said.

When he pulled up a live stream of Del Rey’s set from that night and saw the intro to the song, he instantly recognized his own voice, although was a bit altered.

“I’m just tripping out at that moment, I know how many people can fit there at the same time,” Lopez said of the polo grounds where the festival is held, which can hold 125,000 people.

A screenshot of Lopez’s video shot inside the Jergins Tunnel in 2016. Photo courtesy of Jesse Lopez

Lopez’s video and Dey Rey’s song refer to the now sealed-up Jergins Tunnel that used to run beneath Ocean Boulevard, allowing people to safely cross under the busy street. It ran from the north side of Ocean Boulevard and ended under the Jergins Trust Building, which was built in 1919.

The tunnel opened in 1928 and allowed for safe passage to the beach and the Pike amusement area. However, the tunnel was closed in 1964 when the city opted to widen Ocean Boulevard. Despite being sealed from the public, the tunnel remains intact.

The Jergins Tunnel may still have a life beyond being part of Lana Del Rey’s discography.

Long Beach announced plans late last year for a new Hard Rock Hotel to be built on the parcel of land that sits atop the old Jergins Tunnel and as part of the city approval process, the developer will be required to restore and reactivate the tunnel.


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The hotel developers have already hinted that the tunnel could become a speakeasy once the new 31-story development is completed, something city officials hope will happen before the 2028 Olympics come to town.

As for Lopez’s video being used at the biggest music festival of the year, he said he’s flattered and thankful for Del Rey shining a positive light on the city.

“I’m incredibly thankful to her that she’s exposing people to Long Beach history and Long Beach itself,” Lopez said. We don’t always get the best publicity.”

The tunnel inspired Lopez to get more involved in seeking out local history and helped launch his “Discovered History” series at the Gazette.  He now serves on the board of the Historical Society of Long Beach where he was able to access historic photos of the tunnel to complete his video back in 2016.

And while Del Rey’s camp hasn’t reached out, her fans have and Lopez says he’s enjoying the positivity that’s come from his work being showcased during her set. Lopez added that he has plenty of material for more Long Beach-inspired songs.

“If she wants to write a song about the never-built Disney Sea, I’m more than happy to collaborate with her,” Lopez joked, referring to the sea-themed theme park that Disney announced it wanted to build next to the Queen Mary in the 1990s.

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