Eagle Rock Music Festival Concert Series highlights the talent in the community on Feb. 21

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The Linda Lindas perform at the NELA music festival. Friday, Feb 21. Ethan Dulaney/The Occidental

The Eagle Rock Music Festival Concert Series’ third event took place Feb. 21 at the Center of the Arts Eagle Rock, featuring local bands and solo artists performing for their friends, family and community. According to Dan Marfisi, the creator and organizer of the event and a 20-year Eagle Rock resident, his experience as a lifelong musician led him to begin the smaller concert series. The first show was in May 2019 and the second was in October 2019.

For nearly two decades, Eagle Rock has had a yearly music festival and Colorado Boulevard has been transformed into a stage for local artists. In response to community feedback, the 2019 Eagle Rock Music Festival was restructured from a one-day festival to a series of community-organized events.

Marfasi said that Eagle Rock needed a more consistent space to come together as a group and play music.

“What I am trying to do is build a community: give everybody, adults and kids, a place and chance to get up on the stage and play for each other, and then meet each other and create friendships that way,” Marfasi said.

Naima Corea performs her original song “Spit it Out” at the NELA music festival. Friday, Feb 21, 2020. Ethan Dulaney/The Occidental

The Center for the Arts Eagle Rock’s doors opened at 6:30 p.m. for the event. The back of the room housed the main stage; Marfisi said it was constructed earlier that day by his son and his friends, who attend Eagle Rock High School. The stage was complete with microphones, amps and a blue drum set brought from Marfisi’s home. To the right of the stage was a smaller platform for solo artists, decorated with hanging light bulbs framing a microphone and a stool. There were around 100 chairs facing the stage, sandwiched between Spanish arches and beneath circular chandeliers. The front of the room had a snack bar, selling wine and beer with a local’s discount, pies from restaurant Four N 20 and an array of different snacks.

At 7 p.m., rock band Notorious Bayou Brothers took the stage. Made up of four high schoolers, the rock band played for 25 minutes, including their own remake of “This Land is Your Land.”

MaryFrances Spencer, an Eagle Rock resident since 1989 and the event’s bartender, said the time between performances was special for the attendees, filled with constant hugs and laughter.

John Crooke, lead singer of indie rock band Three Idylls, performs at the NELA music festival. Friday, Feb 21. Ethan Dulaney/The Occidental

“We all kind of know each other,” Spencer said. “[The concert is] a way to enjoy our community because we are all creative here.”

Naima Corea, the second performer and an Eagle Rock High School senior, played acoustic guitar and sang original songs. Her set lasted 15 minutes and her last song was an original titled “Spit it Out.” Before playing, she said she finished it yesterday.

The third band, The Linda Lindas, was the youngest band at the concert series. Eloise, 12, her sister Mila, 9, their cousin Lucia, 13, and their friend Bela, 15, began performing a year ago and have since opened for famous rock bands “The Dils” and “The Ally Cats.” After asking people to stand up and dance, The Linda Lindas began their performance, with about 12 elementary school kids dancing in the front.

Lucia said the show was important for them: not only was it their first show of 2020, but because it was so local, a lot of their friends got to come and see them play.

“It is very welcoming,” Lucia said. “I know a lot of people from here, so a lot of my friends got to come who usually don’t come to our shows.”

The Notorious Bayou Brothers perform a rendition of “This Land is Your Land” at the NELA music festival. Friday, Feb 21, 2020. Ethan Dulaney/The Occidental

The fourth performer was Henry Baskin, who has played guitar since he was 5 years old. During his fourth song, he brought his friends Corea and Lemy Ignacio up to the stage. The fifth band, Get Out, began at Eagle Rock High School in 1991. Get Out played eight songs, including one about Eagle Rock in the 1990s. Clementine, the last solo act, played acoustic guitar. Clementine is 10 years old and has played the guitar since she was 4. Thee Idylls, the night’s final act, is an alt indie-rock band that started around 2017. Thee Idylls pride themselves on being an Eagle Rock band.

John Crooke, the lead singer of Thee Idylls, said the reason for both the excitement and the necessity of the concert series is the community.

“I think it’s a testament to Eagle Rock being a real creative community. I think it’s pretty embedded in the DNA of the town,” Crooke said. “I don’t know that you get that everywhere in Los Angeles. There’s something special about Eagle Rock.”