By BRENDA REES
After being postponed last year, the 17th annual Eagle Rock Music Festival returns with new vigor and purpose on Saturday, August 20 as the largest free music festival in the Los Angeles area. Organizers have taken the criticism of past festivals and have worked with the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council, community leaders and local businesses to tailor the festival to be less of a full-out party scene, and more of family-friendly and neighborhood vibe.
The initial event was going to be in the spring but scheduling conflicts pushed it to this August date which puts ERMF in direct competition with another nearby large music and arts festival, Echo Park Rising which takes place on the same weekend (Aug. 18-21).
Here’s what visitors can expect on Saturday:
Hours: 4 pm – 10 pm
Cost: Free, but see “Getting in as VIP”
Location: The festival is on six blocks of Colorado Boulevard, stretching from Eagle Rock Boulevard to Argus Drive.
Parking and Traffic: It’s going to be nuts. Park in Eagle Rock Mall near the Macy’s building and grab the free shuttle. Shuttles will run 3-11pm. The festival has partnered with Lyft and new users can download $20 credit to use getting around the crowded streets. In addition, cyclists can take advantage of a bike valet which will be located at the festival entrance on Colorado and Eagle Rock Boulevard.
The Theme: About 90 percent of the 40 festival bands are from Northeast Los Angeles and the East LA area, making this a “For Locals and By Locals” event. In general, most bands share an urban world music vibe.
Big headliners: Dengue Fever, Jungle Fire and Boogaloo Assassins; spinning at a DJ area will be Phatrick of Short Stop’s Motown Mondays and Seano from Dublab.
Getting in as VIP: Admission to the festival is free, but a donation gives you perks. (Donations are collected to support arts programs at the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock.) A $10 donation gets you a fast track entrance and a digital download mix of artists showcased at the festival. A $20 donation gets you fast track entrance, the music mix, access to the VIP area and a limited edition t-shirt.
What’s New This Year: One stage will be dedicated to local emerging artists that applied online to participate in the festival – more than 250 submissions were received.
Don’t Miss: Low Leaf and the Ascension Crew at the Experimental Stage in the back patio of Colombo’s Restaurant. Leaf usually is a solo act but here she will be backed up with a full band. Expect a blend of avant garde, experimental jazz and hip hop.
Kids and Family: Children’s crafting through the day at the Family Stage near Eagle Rock City Hall in addition to performances for pint-sized crew.
Other Themed Spaces: Americana Stage at Women’s Twentieth Century Club, Subtropical Stage at Rantz Auto Center, Comedy Stage at the Coffee Table, among others.
Food Selections: Eagle Rock Kitchen, Tommy’s Burgers and Homeboy Industries will be part of a food village along with food trucks; local restaurants along the festival area will be open with special menus. In addition, most restaurants outside of the six blocks will also be serving during the evening. Grab a drink at the Black Boar or Eagle Rock Brewery further east on Colorado and escape the maddening crowds.
Street Closures: Starting at 5am, Colorado will be closed between Eagle Rock Blvd and Argus.
Security: Beefed-up security will be on hand. Backpacks will be searched at the entrances so don’t try to sneak alcohol or other substances. Glass containers and coolers are not allowed.
Finally: Dogs are allowed, but leave your musical instruments at home.
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