In case you haven’t heard, the Long Beach Funk Fest will not be landing in Long Beach this year. However, fear not funk lovers, the organizers who have brought the funk for six years straight to the broiling hot summer streets of the city still plan on “sustaining our future through funk,” one monthly event at a time.
Bobby Easton, founder and producer of the Long Beach Funk Fest, is a Long Beach native who has been playing and touring with his Long Beach-based band, Delta Nove, for years. The artist and musician, however, had never aspired to become a festival producer.
“It was something that I saw as a need to elevate and do my part to preserve the genre of funk music, which is something very dear to me,” he said. “After six years, I really needed to balance things out in my life and recharge. There were also lots of ups and downs since the Long Beach Funk Fest's beginning in 2009, from funding challenges, logistic challenges, and a venue change in 2014.”
Although fans were disappointed that the funk fest would not be taking place in 2015, another opportunity presented itself when a dear friend of Easton’s and the original talent buyer of the legendary Temple Bar in Santa Monica, Megan Jacobs, began working for The Federal Bar in Long Beach.
“While I was brainstorming ideas of keeping the funk going in Long Beach without the actual festival, she approached me about putting together some shows there, knowing that I am a Long Beach native," Easton told the Post. "It was then that I told her about the 'Long Beach Funk Fest presents' idea, and we both loved the idea of working with each other again."
While Easton is planning for the Funk Fest to come back stronger than ever in 2016, now, for an indefinite period of time, Long Beach Funk Fest and The Federal Bar will do their best to keep the funk alive in Long Beach through a monthly series of events, the first one to take place on Thursday, July 9, featuring Dr. Madd Vibe & the Missin' Links featuring Angelo Moore of Fishbone!
Choosing this month’s funk artists was a collaborative effort between Jacobs and Easton, while Easton says he’s been a huge fan of Fishbone since the '80s.
“Dr. Madd Vibe is the alter ego of the lead singer of Fishbone, Angelo Moore,” he said. “He is such a talented and unique artist.”
A few newer bands, such as Ray Jermaine and Via Leaves will take the stage and Long Beach Funk Fest alumni DJ Dennis Owens, who has been co-hosting the Good Foot at Alex’s Bar every third Friday of the month, will also be present to lend his tried and true, funk and soul jams to the scene.
“We also have a long list of funk artists that we are working to bring in the coming months, including some LB Funk Fest alumni,” said Easton. “We are just working to continue with our motto, sustaining our future through funk, and keep doing what we can to contribute to Long Beach's vibrant culture.”
For more information, visit the event page here.