Last year the Eagle Rock Music Festival successfully experimented with holding the festival in summer, on what was determined to be a family-friendly date in August. About 65,000 people attended, according to Director of Events Matthew Himes, and the festival achieved its goal of rebooting itself as a celebration of, for and by the Northeast LA community. This year, however, ERMF has been shuffled back to its traditional slot in October.
“We realized there were quite a few events going on around Northeast LA and surrounding neighborhoods,” Himes explains. “We didn’t feel it would have been good form to have too many events going on in LA and overtaxing the city and the communities, and so that all the community events would have their time to shine we moved back to October.”
Produced by Center for the Arts Eagle Rock in partnership with Councilmember Jose Huizar and Council District 14, ERMF will occupy eight stages at the Center and venues along Colorado Boulevard this Saturday. Most of the acts booked to perform are different from last year’s event; headliners Las Cafeteras have made a full circle with the festival, having performed on the Subtropical Stage about eight years ago. This will be their first time as festival headliners.
Afrobeat and Afro-Cuban-influenced music are well represented by crowd-pleasers like Soulfire Collective, Mexico68, Earth Arrow, and Novala. East African-inspired jazz composer/arranger/multi-instrumentalist Dexter Story will be remixed by electronic-jazz sound wizard Mark de Clive Low, and Aloe Blacc drummer Te’Amir, who has also worked with de Clive Lowe as well as Kamasi Washington and Afrobeat ensemble Ethio-Cali, will also explore the electronic jazz-soul-hip-hop edge during his set.
Other acts likely to spark memorable moments: local “retro-futuristic” jazz wrecking crew DD Horns, the style and smart pop craft of Livingmore, and the “rustic soul music” of Little Silver Hearts.
There will of course be numerous food vendors and activities for kids such as slime-making (a little Borax and glitter can do wonders), as well as VR booths, music equipment demos, vinyl records and vintage movie posters for sale, and a free Comics of Color comic book-making workshop. After 18 years, “people have certain expectations of what the festival is,” Himes says; the hope is to surprise them with “some new flavor.”
Perhaps the biggest surprises will arise from the presence of British DJ Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM at the Center. Instead of a Comedy Stage, the Center will host the radio station’s LA branch with a live broadcast in the mold of its Wednesday night shows out of Highland Park, with musicians creatively jamming on jazz and global music.
Himes has final say over which bands perform at ERMF, though he describes the decision-making process as a “community effort.” This year’s Locals Stage features emerging acts that were chosen from the avalanche of submissions the Center received: Livingmore, “neu dream hip-pop” crew Dabble, slick indie-rock foursome BRAEVES, the ironically named Pretty Flowers, tuneful pop-rockers the 131ers, garage rockers Hugh Effo, and beatmaker C-Minus.
“We had over 350 submissions this year,” Himes says. “We want to give a chance to everybody.”
The 18th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival takes place 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 7, at various stages along Colorado Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Argus Drive, Eagle Rock; festival entrance is on Colorado Boulevard between Eagle Rock Boulevard and Caspar Avenue. Tickets: Admission is free, but a $10 donation through Ticketfly gets you a fast-track entry pass plus a digital download of last year’s ERMF mix, and for a $20 donation you’ll be provided fast-track entry, access to a VIP section, entry to the ERMF Kickoff party at the HiHat in Highland Park Friday night, an 18th Annual ERMF digital mix, and a limited-edition 2017 festival T-shirt. Proceeds benefit the Center’s after-school Imagine Studio arts education program for Northeast LA children. Lineup: Las Cafeteras, the Seshen, Dexter Story Remixed by Mark de Clive-Lowe, Te’Amir, Earth Arrow, Novala, and DJ Seano on the Center Stage (east entrance); El Haru Kuroi, the Delirians, Subsuelo, Mexico68, Changui Majadero, and Eagle Rock High School Latin Jazz Band on the Subtropical Stage at Rantz Auto; Chola Orange, the Altons, the Soulfire Collective, Black Shakespeare, DD Horns, and DJ Monalisa on the Experimental Stage at Colombo’s back patio; Bridge to Everywhere, 5th & Birmingham, Little Silver Hearts, Dan Riley, and Sheriffs of Schroedingham on the Americana Stage at Women’s 20th Century Club; Dabble, BRAEVES, Livingmore, the Pretty Flowers, the 131ers, Hugh Effo, and C-Minus on the Emerging Locals Stage (west entrance); Nick Shattuck, Angela Roa, Cesar Saez, Nancy Sanchez, Fayleen Morrow, the Remstoys, and J. Dale and the South Woodlawners on the indoor Jazz & Blues Stage at Colombo’s; and Mt. Washington Elementary Little Wolves, California Dance Institute, Dalia Heights Elementary, and Bloom School of Music and Dance on the Family Stage at Eagle Rock City Hall.
For more info, visit Eaglerockmusicfestival.org, Ticketfly.com/event/1562041