Prepare for Buskerfest, the Golden Grail of Long Beach Music


Los Angeles band Carly Ritter performs at last year’s Buskerfest. Photo by Menchie Caliboso.

The flatbeds are getting prepped, the wooden nickels are ready to be handed out, and you, dear Long Beach, can have the first look at the list of competitors at this weekend’s Buskerfest, being held in the East Village Arts District.

The annual tradition—part of this year’s spectacular Summer and Music (S.A.M.) series for which we all give thanks to Rand Foster, Justin Hectus and Gina Darrt in creating—is slowly becoming the golden grail of Long Beach local music. Previous Buskerfest performers include the LBC awesomeness that is Cold War Kids, Wild Pack of Canaries (who also played at S.A.M.’s Twisted at the Pike), Avi Buffalo (right before they shared the Art Theatre stage with Vampire Weekend in 2009), Tijuana Panthers (still poppin’ up at pop-up shows around Long Beach), and last year’s winners, Father & Suns (be on the lookout for their album release and review here).

And this is not, as some pundits say, a gimmick.

It’s about music. Stripped down (since bands are only allowed to bring minimal equipment), unadulterated music with no one dictating what is good and bad other than the audience tossing their wooden money into their band-of-choice’s hat.

This year’s competitors include Long Beach’s Bearcoon, the self-described “Hillbilly Mountain Blues Lumberjack Rock” duo that is Solange Igoa and Andrea Walker; Darryl Mapp’s back-of-the-truck blues band that is Classic; pro-skater gone jazzy guitarist/bassist/drummer/harper/xylophoner/badass Ray Barbee; punk-hop outfit Ghetto Blaster$; folk-tinged and bluegrass-y Jesse Daniel Edwards; Long Beach (by way of Echo Park) “dream punk/pop pop” get-up So Many Wizards; the CSULB-founded rock band that is Thy Squid; unsigned-but-awesome just-rock group The Moderates; and last but certainly not least is Hanlin, Jones, and Ricky IV (Hanlin hails from Long Beach’s roadhouse blues warriors The Dibs & Bourbon Jones while Jones is best known as the frontman of his band The Suffering Halos, both of whom have joined Chicago’s cellist/bassist/songwriter/vocalist guru Ricky IV).

Even better? The all-new jam session set as a finale featuring the aforementioned Buskerfest winners Fathers & Suns joining the theatre troupe that rocks, RiotStage!—with all competing bands encouraged to join in. Rumor has is that The Ziggens and Eastern Conference Champions might be joining in on the jam sesh as well.

One can only hope but to say the least, we are so ready.

Buskerfest will take place Saturday, September 6 from 5PM to 11PM on 1st Street between Linden and Elm Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

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Brian Addison has been a writer, editor, and photographer for more than a decade, covering everything from food and culture to transportation and housing. In 2015, he was named Journalist of the Year by the Los Angeles Press Club and has since garnered 16 nominations and two additional wins for Best Political Commentary for his work at KCET and Best Blog for Longbeachize, a section of the Long Beach Post. Brian currently serves as a columnist and editor for the Long Beach Post.