Shakespeare said it best when he wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.”

And play on Pasadena will. 

On Saturday, 150 musical acts will descend upon the city for its ninth annual Make Music Pasadena festival  – the largest, free music festival in California. 

Produced and organized by the Old Pasadena Management District and Playhouse District Association, this free, nonprofit event will give music lovers of every genre time to wander the streets of historic Pasadena and enjoy a full day of free concerts on stages throughout Pasadena’s charming urban spaces – parks, alleys, churches, museums, rooftops, and plazas. 

With 12 hours of musical performance showcasing nearly every genre including indie and alternative rock, electronica, folk, Latin, world, funk, and jazz, this event offers something for everyone.  

Past performers have included national acts such as Best Coast, The Antlers, and Ra Ra Riot. This year’s impressive lineup welcomes both established headliners and homegrown acts like Australia’s ambient pop band Atlas Genius, indie-folk band The Mowgli’s, indie punk quartet Bear Hands, and reggae-folk band Nahko and Medicine for the People. 

Vocalist Katie Earl of Los Angeles-based The Mowgli’s said the band is excited about this year’s festival. “We’ve always loved this festival and are so honored to be invited to perform this year.”

Earl said this festival brings it home for their nationally touring band. 

“We’re from LA but often feel like our bigger audiences are spread all around the country. For us this festival is a chance to prove ourselves to a hometown audience who’ve never seen us before. Festivals like this are so important for local communities, especially such a historic, artistic city like Pasadena, which is a true treasure.”

Local favorites include gritty indie rockers PAPA, Echo Park’s art-pop band James Supercave, SXSW electronica darlings Pr0files, electronic pop duo Phantoms, garage rock trio The Dead Ships, and more. 

Sarah Hilbert of Make Music Pasadena said festival coordinators wanted to give everyone a chance to shine – especially local talent. 

“Our stages feature a purposely curated/up-and-coming/buzz-worthy roster of L.A. bands. … We really wanted to support the emerging LA talent and give these bands a wider audience,” Hilbert said

And did we mention … it’s free?

Make Music Pasadena is a French idea adopted here in which musicians literally take over the city, with six main stages and 30 smaller ones set up throughout Old Pasadena and other parts of town for a carefree day full of great music everywhere one turns.

Steve Mulheim, president and CEO of Old Pasadena Management District, said the artist lineup for each year is carefully crafted.  

“The music is the story. We are very thoughtful about seeking out and securing a range of genres so our audiences can enjoy favorites while also discovering something new. Beyond genres, we also cultivate artists that span the experience spectrum: We have established acts, emerging local talent and even young students trying their hand at a live performance for the first time.”

A section of historic Colorado Boulevard — best known as the route for the New Year’s Day Rose Parade — closes to accommodate the Colorado Main Stage. Non- stop music throughout the day continues on main stages in streets surrounding the historic Pasadena Playhouse and the 1930s band shell at Memorial Park. 

Fans can also find impressive lineups at the Paseo Colorado Stage, Vroman’s Jazz Stage, and The Shoppes at Stats Stage. Neighborhood boutiques and restaurants, vendor booths, and food trucks help make it a full day of entertainment. 

Even Pasadena transit buses join in the fun and link all of the main stages, running free all day and featuring live music on board. 

So if you’re looking for a fun, free musical adventure this weekend, come on out and enjoy a carefree day packed with music, food, and — most importantly — fun.