ECHO PARK — Neighborhood festivals come in all shapes and sizes and this past weekend’s Echo Park Rising was no different. The music festival fit over the community like a circus tent. It brought out the best in the community, it brought out the worst. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that a 22-year-old was stabbed to death, apparently in a fight over a skateboard, on Friday night, the murder scene and yellow police tape just a few yards from the crowd gathered outside one of the festival venues.
Surprisingly Friday was the tamest day in relation to the crowds, as they seemed to double on Saturday. There were more babies with headphones and more foot traffic on Saturday, with sets starting around noon and the last of them ending around 2 a.m. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
I started off Friday at the Echo Park United Methodist Church where 19-year-old Phoebe Bridger offered a heaping of folk. Her voice carried out into the church, where it was only her mother and I in the audience. A steady stream of congregants, however, found their way to the church to catch her cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” and it was the perfect champagne bottle to christen this ship/festival.
Not all of the acts could be viewed, and, with Echo Park Rising going for the three-day weekend, it was important to pace oneself, maybe even limit the intake of beer and go for, GASP, water! The main stage was right outside the church in a restaurant parking lot , so some overlap was heard with loud acts accompanying quieter ones.
Fullerton label Burger Records made themselves at home at the festival, with a boatload of their bands present on the roster. Vision played at The Echo and served what Burger Records calls “totally tough East Los brit-pop.” It definitely struck a chord.
Most businesses on Sunset Boulevard wanted a piece of that sweet festival pie. So, for example, the Vietnamese restaurant Xoia had a beer garden with DJs while kids on the street passed out fliers to unknown venues.
On Saturday, I caught Feels’ set, which was just beautifully dense, the type of performance that leaves your head ringing for hours. Down the street, the Time Travel Mart hosted Sofar Sounds, an acoustic session series, one that seemed to bring a reverence for live music out of the audience. I ended the night with Myron & E at the main stage, where they wowed the audience with some lively soul music. Plenty of people were dancing, the city of Los Angeles as their backdrop.
Sunday was the weekend’s wrath catching up. The body can only take so much. Trash littered the streets and one of The Echo’s security guards was wearing a shiner that he did not have the night before. The highlight of my Sunday was Dante Elephante, a crooner on the guitar who captivated The Echo with a voice that would make Black Francis run for cover. I’m sure others have their own favorites and will limp into work on Monday with their own stories.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.