Photo Credit: Welikela.com
Eagle Rock has several year-round venues, but every October music lovers converge on this Los Angeles neighborhood for the Eagle Rock Music Festival. In this post, we’ll give you the rundown on Eagle Rock’s biggest annual event!
Looking for a place to grab lunch in Eagle Rock? Check out our post about the best pizza in Eagle Rock!
This local labor of love is now in its 18th year, thanks to the dedicated promoters, nonprofit orgs, and volunteers who have cultivated the event since its humble beginnings in 1998.
In its inaugural year, the festival featured just ten bands, and the audience mostly consisted of families in the neighborhood. This year, the event attracted tens of thousands of fans, and the roster included more than forty musical acts performing on a dozen different stages.
The festival takes over six blocks of Colorado Boulevard, from Eagle Rock Boulevard to Argus Drive. The festival’s epicenter is Eagle Rock’s Colorado Boulevard, but the massive concert has spilled out into auxiliary stages housed in local businesses. Lead organizers are excited to see the festival growing and going strong, but still hope to retain the authentic “charm” of a truly local event. Upwards of nine tenths of the performers are from the Los Angeles area, in keeping with the festival’s local vibe.
The Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, a small nonprofit organization that employs just a handful of fulltime staffers, masterminds the annual festival. Planning for the event begins several months ahead of time, early in April, when organizers contact city officials and performers to hammer out a tentative schedule. In keeping with the festival’s neighborhood-friendly ethos, planning is a collaboration between local officials and business owners, the Center for the Arts, and the affiliated nonprofit organizations who oversee year-round music educational efforts.
Photo Credit: La.streetsblog.org
Interested in learning more about LA arts initiatives? Read our post about sculpture in Echo Park!
The Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock pays for all city permits and services, arrangements which amount to only a small fraction of the planning process for the festival. Admission to the festival is free, but participants are encouraged to give a ten dollar suggested donation, to allow organizers to continue to cover the cost of the festival and continue many of the arts and music programs festival organizers curate in local schools. Each year, more than a hundred businesses, groups, and individuals support the festival with sponsorships and personal donations.
In addition to cultural and community value, the festival is a big financial win for Eagle Rock – the music festival is the single biggest day of the year for local restaurants and shops. Tens of thousands of people visit the neighborhood from all over Southern California, staying to eat, drink, and shop while they listen to local musicians. The integrated structure of the festival, with audiences encouraged to flow freely from stage to stage, is part of the design – many visiting fans use the festival as an excuse to explore downtown venues.
During the festival, Colorado Boulevard becomes a walkable gallery of stages set up for diverse musical acts. As the organizers say, the festival is designed with variety in mind. If you don’t like what you hear, just walk a block down the street and you’ll find something completely different! Annual installations include the Razorcake/Zocaloc Stage, dedicated to hard rock and punk; the Family Stage, for kid-friendly tunes, crafts, and magicians; and the Emerging Stage, which foregrounds indie and local acts.
Local restaurants are generally packed during the festival’s run, and food stalls and trucks crowd the sidewalks. The festival prides itself on having one of the best culinary lineups in the area, and many restaurants near Colorado Boulevard post special menus to celebrate the festival.
Whatever you like to listen to, the Eagle Rock Music Festival has something you’ll love. If you’re planning to visit Eagle Rock, consider scheduling your trip around this vibrant local festival!
Interested in more public arts collaborations? Read about murals in nearby Echo Park!
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