There was one brief moment Saturday night in which the crush of humanity near the Low End Theory stage at the 13th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival was overwhelming.
Then an overhead street light went out—and the crowd was plunged into virtual darkness. In other circumstances, this might have set off a panic. Instead, along Colorado Boulevard, it provided the opportunity for strangers to link arms, offer reassurances, and continue moving through the crowd until illumination was restored.
Festival's Unique Eagle Rock Spirit
Such was the spirit of the signature NELA music extravaganza—held every year on the first Saturday of October—a time when the bands and stages become a backdrop for the community to take to the streets and meet neighbors new and old while enjoying the diversity of what is now Los Angeles’ premier music event.
All for a $5 donation to benefit the , although even that miniscule fee was avoided by what one music fan portrayed as “cheap sheep”—those who lifted up the yellow police line tape in order to bypass the official entrance.
Music Lives up to Reputation
The sound was uniformly excellent, the bands on schedule, the crowds enthusiastic. Especially impressive were the Kingsize Soundlabs and the Ship Studios stages that offered an impressive side-by-side showcase for 14 different acts.
The event also afforded a spate of spontaneous performances: an energetic street-side percussion circle; another group of lithe young men performing an intricate Capoeira dance to the strum of the berimbaus.
The roots of the community were echoed in the Jarocha sounds of Vercruz performed by the enthusiastic ensemble Cambalache (whose name means “cultural exchange”) on the Rantz stage—rhythms that made a multigenerational audience shake its collective booties with wild abandon.
Other standout performances on various stages included the video-backed electronica of Pharaohs; the dark vibes of Molino, the hair-whipping antics of HEALTH and the bass-heavy bombast booming from the Low End Theory stage. For those seeking respite from these throbbing beats, the historic enclave of the offered the swank, big band sounds of the Erik Estrand Ensemble.
'Night of the Peaceful People'
“It’s a night of the peaceful people,” observed one festivalgoer. And so it was—on a tropically humid night under the stars, it was not only the music but the animated audience that made the 13th Annual Eagle Rock Music Festival an epic night for community camaraderie.