One-day music festival Happy Sundays returns to Zaferia

Setting up for Happy Sundays. Photo by Jackie Rae.

After taking a year off because of the pandemic, the one-day music festival Happy Sundays is back. The fifth annual event featured over 40 bands from all over Los Angeles and Long Beach performing in seven different venues along Anaheim Street in the Zaferia District.

The festival is organized by Long Beach husband-wife duo Julia Kugel Montoya and Scott Montoya. Their goal is to provide a hassle-free day of music for both artists and fans. That endeavor was a complete success. Music lovers and fans had a wide range of not only music but, food, drinks and green environments.

Commodity/Alltime Plants, provides wine, coffee, beer, and even coniferous plants. On Sunday it also gave Jimmy Vincent an opportunity to perform for the first time as a solo acoustic artist. Vincent recently moved to Long Beach to be closer to his parents, and he said performing in a venue that was so green and filled with plants, relaxed him, which he said was needed as he performed a heartfelt song about his father for the first time in front of his parents.

Performing at Commodity/Alltime Plants for Happy Sundays. Photo by Jackie Rae.

Vincent also said festivals like Happy Sundays are important for artists to build community and do what they love without the pressure of bringing in large crowds. While that artist might not have felt the pressure to bring a crowd, the crowds did come. And, they could move from one venue to the next with ease. Each venue was within walking distance or, you could get on the Happy Sundays bus, making it easy to discover new bands and new venues like Compound.

A piece created by Narsiso Martinez on display at the Compound for Happy Sundays. Photo by Jackie Rae.

This venue provided an experience that was unique to the festival. Here, art from local artists was on display,  including a piece called “Always Fresh” by Narsiso Martinez. His piece was his first solo project featured in the Long Beach Museum of Art in 2018. To set the tone, music was provided by a DJ known as the Portuguese Lover.

The Portuguese Lover sets the tone at the Compound during Happy Sundays. Photo by Jackie Rae.

The newly opened Compound is an artist-first venue that includes a completely separate space specifically for artists. Here, artists and performers can create the atmosphere they thrive in to let their art flow freely and, have a place to display their creations. There’s also a room that features bioluminescence and free yoga classes Thursday through Sunday from 9 to 10 a.m.

The diversity of the venues and the bands ensured there was something for everyone, which speaks to the purpose of the festival. Julia Kugel says from day one, the goal has been to partner with local businesses to offer a free event that is designed to support the community’s interests.  You can find out more and get involved with next year’s Happy Sundays event by visiting the website here.

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Jackie Rae is a multimedia reporter for the Long Beach Post who joined in May 2021.