OK, so they didn't book Kendrick Lamar or Guns N' Roses. There's no VIP tent serving seven-course tasting menus, and the sound quality can vary dramatically from stage to stage. But Echo Park Rising is the most fun you'll have at any music festival in Southern California precisely because of how casual and free-form the whole thing feels. Taking place over four days in roughly 30 venues throughout Echo Park, EPR books a staggering array of mostly local bands, playing everything from punk to cumbia to garage-rock to electro-pop. This year, in one stretch, you could go from hearing psych-pop maverick Rudy de Anda playing inside a clothing store, to the Latin soul grooves of Chicano Batman on the festival's main outdoor stage, to reunited “coyote rockers” Wiskey Biscuit at the Echo, to solo fuzz-rocker Colleen Green inside a banquet hall at the back of Taix French Restaurant. Best of all, it's free, so you can discover your favorite new local band without dropping a dime on anything except beer and maybe a slice of Two Boots.
Bleached performs at Echo Park Rising; Credit: Hannah Verbeuren