A decade of Buskerfest: Summer and Music’s final event this year is its most celebrated

Buskerfest in downtown Long Beach. Photo by Brian Addison.

The final event—and arguably most celebrated—of the Downtown-based Summer and Music series presented by the DLBA, Buskerfest, will for the 10th year bring some of the city’s most talented, undiscovered musicians out of the woodwork to win over the hearts of eager show goers this Saturday.

As is tradition, wooden nickels are provided to the audience to toss at competing bands, while the group with the most nickels by the end of the night wins a career-boosting prize. Inspired by actual buskers, the musicians and entertainers who take to the streets and public spaces to perform, this year’s event will feature bands performing on four raised flatbed trucks.

While headliners The Blasters, Psychic Temple, Mike Watt & The Secondmen and Trulio Disgracias will no doubt impress, Buskerfest is most lauded for its mission to attract new talent in front of local audiences.

“[…]Buskerfest has provided us the platform to celebrate not only our local music scene, but our local scene in a much larger sense,” said Rand Foster, SAM co-producer and owner of Fingerprints Music, in a statement. “This year’s line-up is our best yet, and as good as it looks on the poster, the magic really happens when we all come together to celebrate this amazing community.”

From top/left: Members of Janie Matthew Hill, John Miranda, George Madrid, Evan Ronson, Heather Jean Sommerhauser and Ann Louise Thaiss. Photo courtesy of Janie.

One of those upcoming performances will include Long Beach-based Americana band, Janie, which will vie for nickels while urging attendees to listen to its just-released debut single, “Share the Sky.”

Supported by a new Long Beach label Monte Bre Records—co-founded by local-couple-in-love George Madrid (also a member of Janie) and Alyssandra Nighswonger, two names synonymous with the local music scene—”Share the Sky” is a long-awaited first for the group, whose influences range from classic country to psychedelia.

One of Janie’s members, singer, songwriter and guitarist Matthew Hill said the band is looking forward to playing on the “great proving ground” that Buskerfest creates for emerging artists.

Janie will be competing for wooden nickels against seven other bands: “good time music” makers Brother Pines, “electrified” surf rocker Chief White Lightning, local funk legends Delta Nove, award-winning country singer Leeann Skoda, dreamy local crew The Nectarines, “colorful ambient shoegaze” band SLICE and psych-pop outfit Steppe Bison.

The band with the most nickels will be announced around 9 p.m. and will receive a prize of $2,500 its members can use to advance the group’s career in music.

Buskerfest is free and kicks off at 5 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. in the East Village Arts District between Linden and Elm Avenues and on Linden Avenue between 1st Street and Broadway. Audiences can buy food and drinks from Taco Rog, Wa Wa, Modica’s and Beachwood Brewing.

For more info, visit the website here.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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