5 Great L.A. Drum Circles (Besides the Venice One)

Hermosa Beach Drum Circle in February 2014
Hermosa Beach Drum Circle in February 2014
Sabina Sandoval Drums

After a few recent debacles between drummers and police officers at the famous Venice Beach drum circle over new excessive noise ordinances, it's time to uncover some convenient L.A. alternatives that won't have you worrying about being involved in a small riot afterwards.

The inception of drum circles began in the 1960s and has since developed styles ranging from facilitated drumming with a designated leader to something more anarchic.

We ultimately just want you to keep rocking out. Here's a list of five great drum circles in Los Angeles county.

Sandoval and friends at Hermosa Beach Pier
Sandoval and friends at Hermosa Beach Pier
Sabina Sandoval Drums

Free to Be Me Drum Circle
Under the Hermosa Beach Pier every third Sunday of the month, drum leader and teacher Sabina Sandoval hauls as many drums as she can fit into her vintage 1960's VW bus to hold a full day of drumming by the water. This facilitated circle has been gathering for the past twelve years, attracting families and children to come play timbales, congas, djembes and more. Around 50 to 100 people come and go throughout the day to take part in the fun. Sandoval explains that because it's facilitated, there's much more control, as compared to the Venice Beach circle, making it a peaceful and safe experience for everyone. Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach; Third Sunday of the month, 10 a.m.,

Griffith Park Drum Circle
Every Sunday morning at around 9 a.m., while most people are in church, large groups of locals flock to Griffith Park to drum up some heavenly beats of their own. Lasting until the late hours of the night, the group can consist of more than 70 people at times. About as faithful and long-running as the Venice circle, Griffith Park has been drumming up beats for the past 35 years. With no leaders running the weekly gathering, it is recognized as a free-spirited experience for drummers from all walks of life. 4730 Crystal Springs Dr., Griffith Park; Sundays, 9 a.m.

Remo RMC's Kids Drum Circle
Remo RMC's Kids Drum Circle
remormc Instagram

Remo Recreational Music Center
Along with basic community drum circles held every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m., led by Alex Spurkel, Chris Ramirez, and Ossie Mair, Remo RMC offers Health Rhythms the first Thursday of every month, providing a meditation-like aura to relieve stress, plus a women's drum circle every second Saturday 4 to 5:30 p.m. and a Kids Rhythm Club every Saturday from 9:30 to 10:05 a.m. and 11:00 to 11:40 a.m. This North Hollywood location provides the chance for both professionals and amateurs to get into the zone and express themselves. A special treat on the second Sunday of the month is a drum circle with the legendary father of drum circles, Arthur Hull.
7308 Coldwater Canyon, North Hollywood; Various. (818) 982-0461.
Sacred Rhythm Lodge
Running 15 years strong is the Sacred Rhythm Lodge drum circle in South Pasadena. Drawing ages from as young as 14 to as old as 90, the circle brings 20 to 40 people together each month, led by Stephanie Buffington, owner of Tribal Music Tours. When she's not facilitating the South Pasadena circle, she's out traveling around the world facilitating drum circles and ceremonies with tribes in North Africa, India and Asia. 1005 Buena Vista St., South Pasadena; Last Thursday of the month, 8-10 p.m. (626) 799-4795. 

Rhythmotomy Drum Circle
Nestled under its very own Bodhi tree in Conejo Creek Park is the 24-year-old Thousand Oaks Rhythmotomy drum circle, meeting every third Sunday of the month at 2 p.m. Jim Long facilitates this smaller outdoor circle that attracts around 20 to 30 people each meeting, and he also hosts private drum circle parties in the area.

1379 East Janss Road Thousand Oaks; Third Sunday of the month, 2 p.m. (805) 496-8322.

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