Echo Park Rising, Saturday August 17th 2013, Photo Journal
Music festivals can be overwhelming, so many bands to see and so little time, but this Echo Park Rising just went to an extreme rarely reached! Imagine hundreds of bands playing in at least 17 different Echo Park locations, along Sunset Boulevard! How do you cover that? I hesitated between seeing as many bands as possible, and switching from one place to another before watching a band finish its set, or seeing just a few and watching their whole set each time? I stayed for bands’ entire sets on Saturday and ended up watching 10 bands, but I am gonna try the other way on Sunday, because it was just so frustrating! The whole afternoon, I was going from the Echo to the Echoplex to the Echo Patio to the Taix restaurant’s Champagne Room to the outdoor stage, but I missed so much! I didn’t have time to check out what was happening at Origami Vinyl, Lolipop Records, Lot 1 or any of the cafes, which were also hosting music.
Echo Park Rising is in its third year, the festival is growing fast and it is still free of charge (except the 2-day VIP pass at $20 giving front row access). Happening one week before the highly anticipated FYF fest, Echo Park Rising is not your average festival, there are no big music names, and except if you live in Los Angeles and spend a lot of time in clubs and bars, you may know none of the bands which were participating to the 2-day celebration. Contrarily to pricey festivals, it is indeed a celebration of local bands and Echo Park/Silver Lake tremendous musical richness. How many musicians live in this neighborhood? How many bands are based there? I am not sure, but it looks like half the population is involved in music! I saw the singer of the band NO entering the Echo to check out another band, The Soft Pack’s singer hanging out with the outdoor stage DJ, or the chaotic fanfare of Kill Sonic erupted in front of the stage where White Arrows were doing their soundcheck. My guess is that they were all doing this, and, this weekend, Echo Park population probably had a higher concentration in musicians than the Grammy Awards. Sure, no Lady Gaga, Katy Perry or Jack White in view – still, who knows if a few celebrities weren’t checking out local bands? – but a lot to see and listen to… On Saturday, I got to see a few familiar groups such as Manhattan Murder Mystery and the Soft Pack, but also got to see Olin & the Moon, Gap Dream, Young Empress, Cillie Barnes, Kan Wakan, Detective, White Arrows and Big Black Delta… I hope to do better on Sunday. These last two seemed to be the headliners, well, sort of, I actually didn’t know them, they were playing on the big outdoor stage around 8 and 9 pm, but the term headliner wasn’t really in the festival’s spirit. It stayed hyper local all day long, and was of course sponsored by local businesses.
The crowd grew big at night around the main stage to see Big Black Delta, but the festival was actually so spread out along Sunset boulevard it was difficult to realize how many people attended the event. This year, the Echoplex patio had been transformed into a cool zone, a sort of wet oasis, and food trucks abounded behind Taix restaurant. It was a fun indoor-outdoor day, with way too many choices, but how can you choose when you don’t even know what the hell all these bands are playing?