Like a smaller, sturdier Sunset Junction, the Eagle Rock Music Festival keeps trucking along as one of the most reliably diverse and pleasantly laid-back free festivals in Los Angeles. Now in its 18th year, this year's ERMF takes place Saturday, Oct. 7, along a closed-off section of Colorado Boulevard in its namesake Northeast L.A. neighborhood. It will feature sets from an outstanding mix of established and up-and-coming acts representing a rainbow of California sounds, from the updated traditional Latin folk of Las Cafeteras to the futuristic soul and hip-hop of Bay Area six-piece The Seshen to the electronic jazz excursions of synth and sampler wizard Mark de Clive-Lowe, who will be paired at ERMF with Ethio Cali percussionist and composer Dexter Story.
In terms of booking and programming, Eagle Rock Music Festival remains a “by locals, for locals” event, according to festival director Matthew Himes. “I book mostly local bands and my focus is to represent Northeast L.A. and surrounding neighborhoods and reflect the diverse and immense amount of talent we have in the area,” Himes says via email. “We have a little bit of everything but with a focus on Latin, Afrobeat and the beat scene.”
Himes says that in addition to music, this year's ERMF will feature an expanded artist village showcasing the works of 19 local artists (up from eight last year). Proceeds for the festival, which offers $10 “fast entry” tickets and $20 VIP passes, will benefit Imagine Studio, an after-school arts program created by the festival's co-producer, the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock. “We bring working contemporary artists into elementary and middle school classrooms throughout Northeast Los Angeles to connect our community's youth with the joy and discovery that an exploration of the arts can bring,” Himes says.
Other musical highlights of this year's lineup of 60 bands include reggae/rocksteady veterans The Delirians, funk four-piece Chola Orange, global bass collective Subsuelo, bouncy pop-rockers Livingmore and East L.A. Afrobeat mob Mexico68.
In addition to Saturday's all-day festival, there will be a kickoff party on Friday, Oct. 6, at the Hi Hat in nearby Highland Park, co-produced by booking and artist management company Qvolé Collective and featuring local R&B treasure Jimetta Rose, beat producer and MNDSGN associate Swarvy and Orange County hip-hop/jazz ensemble Apollo Bebop.
“The Eagle Rock Music Festival offers the best of Northeast Los Angeles with Colorado Boulevard and its dynamic restaurants and local, independently owned businesses as the backdrop with an array of music, art and culture that is sure to please,” said Councilmember José Huizar, a longtime sponsor of the event. “Through 18 years, this festival has become a mainstay of L.A.’s music scene and a great venue for upcoming artists to showcase their talents and this year’s lineup, led by Las Cafeteras, is no exception.”
For more on this year's festival, visit eaglerockmusicfestival.org.