Eagle Rock Music Festival mixes big names, local bands

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Author: Jeremy Childs|Jane Drinkard

A family of five all dressed as Pikachu may seem out of the ordinary in any other context, but they fit in perfectly among the diverse crowd of the 16th annual Eagle Rock Music Festival last Saturday. One only needed to walk briefly along the festival grounds to see skateboarding high school students glide past young parents pushing strollers, and clumps of Occidental students mingling among elderly locals.

“It’s kind of overwhelming in a good way,” Abigail Appel (sophomore) said. “There’s such a wide range of ages. I’ve seen little kids on leashes, but also old people.”

The Eagle Rock Music Festival is an annual street festival organized by the Center for the Arts Eagle Rock. Taking place along Colorado Boulevard, between the intersections of Eagle Rock Boulevard and Argus Drive, the music festival included over 30 acts at six different venues.

One of the major changes to this year’s festival was the consolidation of venues to one outdoor stage and five enclosed stages. The outdoor stage was located in the middle of Colorado Boulevard and served as the main stage of the festival, while the other venues each had lineups within a particular genre.

The street was also filled with booths from local organizations and over a dozen food trucks, with eclectic bites ranging from the popular Kogi truck to a sweets truck serving brownies and cookies.

“The only reason I came was to get food,” Charlie Caccamo (junior) said. “But food trucks and music work symbiotically. Some people come for the music, some people come for the food, and they get both.”

A highlight of the festival was the closing set on the main stage, when the three featured artists—Maya Jupiter, Quetzal and headliner Aloe Blacc—took to the stage to perform. Blacc went on early to accompany Quetzal and Maya Jupiter, crooning along to the other acts and showcasing his dynamic vocals. His solo performance closed the night to hundreds of spectators.

“My new album is called ‘Lift Your Spirits,’ and that’s what I want to do for you all with this performance. I want to lift you up,” Blacc said during his performance. The crowd danced and sang along to a set of his most popular hits, including “The Man,” “I Need a Dollar” and “Wake Me Up.”

“It was super cool to see someone so up-and-coming right now at the Eagle Rock Music Festival,” Jimmy Bromley (sophomore) said. “His voice was incredible and it’s exciting to think about the people they may be able to draw in the future if they had Aloe this year.”

But the featured artists were not the only acts worth seeing. The festival had something to offer the young, old and everyone in between, and the acts were even more diverse than the crowd. The six stages boasted music for every palette: Latin jazz, rock, folk, R&B;, soul, hip hop and electronic were just a sample of the represented genres.

Five Occidental juniors—Angus McDonald, John Kennedy, Campbell Scott, Nick Waldram and Rounak Maiti—performed on Saturday night as part of a rock band called Campus Security. Occidental students and alumni came out to the show in support of the band, filling the indoor venue to the point of standing room only.

“We showed up and they had 15 chairs set up for people to watch us and we were like, uh, we’re going to need more,” Kennedy said. “There was such a great turnout. So much love from the Oxy community that they couldn’t support the amount of people who came. They had to start turning people away from [the venue].”

But Occidental students did not only perform at the festivalseveral of them worked as volunteers, guarding the entrances, manning the booths and helping with setup and take-down.

“There are great vibes because [the festival] is free [or] by donation. Everyone is in a giving kind of mindset,” Ashley Andreou (sophomore) said.

The event proved itself once again to be an occasion where the residents of Northeast L.A. could come together to enjoy great food, company and music.

“This,” Blacc said, motioning to the crowd during his set, “is community.”

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