“If music be the food of love, play on!” said William Shakespeare in his play The Twelfth Night. It’s an apt quote to describe the third edition of Long Beach’s Music Tastes Good festival, in which local chefs and musicians will be spotlighted alongside other national and international stars of their respective games.
Dawna Bass, vegan chef at the restaurant Under The Sun in downtown Long Beach, will be one of the 16 featured chefs at Music Tastes Good (MTG) on Sunday, September 30 at Marina Green Park. She’ll be presenting her plant-based fare alongside such west coast culinary superstars as Pat Manning, executive chef at Portland’s Toro Bravo restaurant.
Chef Luis Navarro, owner of Lola’s Mexican Cuisine on 4th Street and an MTG alum since 2016, will be the Music Tastes Good Taste Tent MC.
Long Beach band Asi Fui will also be appearing on the 30th, sharing the stage with British singer/songwriter James Blake, Janelle Monae and The Church, among many other musical acts.
Music Tastes Good is quickly developing a distinctive feel and is helping put Long Beach on the musical map. The fine food, art installations and a magical setting help set the vibe for a weekend of eclectic and energetic musical offerings.
“Long Beach is one of the most creative, D.I.Y., music and art-friendly communities in the country,” said Asi Fui drummer Ryan Reiff. “All of the bands share shows and support each other. A lot of us have been in other bands together. There are a lot of great venues for music and art that other mid-size cities lack compared to Long Beach; Summer and Music, MTG, 4th Street Vine, Alex’s Bar, Que Sera, The Prospector and a number of other great Long Beach staples keep the city buzzing pretty good.”
Reiff describes the sound he and bandmates Tatiana Velasquez (vocals, bass), Jacob Connelly (keyboards) and Miguel Vazquez (guitar) make as the result of “a lot of different influences between the four of us, from Hip-Hop to Shoegaze, Jazz to Art-Rock. We like heavy grooves and dreamy sounds. We are very excited to be playing the hometown festival. It’s a privilege to be able to play with some of the best touring bands right now.”
“Asi Fui” translates from Spanish to “This is how I was:”
“My grandmother used to write it on her photographs of her youth, when she was in her old age,” explained Tatiana, “so it kind of signifies a time span for everything that we do.”
It’s an appropriate name for a band that relies heavily on spontaneity and improvisation.
Chef Dawna Bass founded the vegan restaurant Under The Sun with her partner Christine Cox after the pair created Rainbow Juices, a company which features organic, cold-pressed fruit and vegetable juices made from locally grown produce.
“With MTG, I think it’s pretty awesome that they have invited a raw/vegan spotlight,” said Dawna. “Being that it isn’t a vegetarian/vegan festival, it could possibly give some people an opportunity to try something they’ve maybe never had or even heard of before.
“With this style of cuisine, it also allows us the opportunity to bring some focus back to those that are growing the food! The farmers who work with the seeds, soil, plots and plants are lost in the middle aisles of our grocery stores, fast food chains and vending machines. No farmers, No food. Know Farmers, Know food. It’s a truth you can taste,” Dawna said.
“My favorite part of being a raw/vegan chef,” added Dawna, “is when people come to me and tell me they aren’t vegan or vegetarian but they find themselves craving our food and not being able to stop thinking about what they ‘ordered last time.’ It’s a compliment that truly brings me joy because I feel it’s opened them up to a new way of thinking about food.”
“Hopefully, Music Tastes Good serves as an inspiration that even the craziest ideas are worth celebrating,” said MTG Creative Director Chris Watson, “even if it’s just a couple days per year. There are plenty of festivals in Long Beach now, especially with the corporate interest in the Long Beach festival market, but this event is about as homespun as it gets. Music Tastes Good came from Long Beach, and it will always be a real Long Beach celebration.”
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