If ever there was a music festival that accurately captured the essence of its surrounding community, it would be Echo Park Rising. Though the many talented, rising bands and artists are enough to bring locals out from under the woodwork in enthusiastic droves, the festival itself supersedes the music.
At its core, Echo Park Rising is “a neighborhood event focus[ing] on the music, creativity, diversity and small businesses of Echo Park.” And it stays true to this sentiment in ways that many, once humble music festivals have not. You won’t see overpriced bottles of water or the stench of large businesses banking on impressionable flocks of wannabe hippies. On the contrary, Echo Park Rising is hosted by Echo Park, for Echo Park to celebrate Echo Park, naturally. Local businesses offer deals and discounts on their goods and services, making the already FREE event an excuse to enjoy the best of the neighborhood without digging holes in your pocket. We especially enjoyed the Lost Knight’s generous $10 festival pricing on hearty fish n’ chips. And El Clasico Tattoo is offering $100 specials for palm-sized tattoos.
Flourishing in its 5th year, the timely rise and success of the festival parallels the respective resurgence of the neighborhood as whole. With three centuries as the hub, home and breeding-ground for great artists, it seems expected that Echo Park would pay homage to its creative history in the form of a neighborhood music festival.
With all this in mind, if you are reading this now (as in Saturday morning now), you have two more days to enjoy the festivities. With such a huge roster of artists spanning across Sunset Blvd, Glendale Blvd, Alvarado Avenue and Echo Park Avenue, it’s best not to fall into a frenzied state of FOMO and accept that you won’t catch everything. You can approach the festival in one of two ways: meticulously plan your schedule around specific artists which bodes well if you happen to be fans of such artists; or, do as we did, and just allow yourself the spontaneous freedom to be surprised by a lack of plan.
On day one, we found ourselves in the inspiring presence of Phoebe Bridgers as she sent goosebumps down our spines with her soulful, haunting voice in the mercifully air-conditioned Echoplex. The vibe accelerated upstairs at the Echo (as did the heat) as Slutever raged with raw, rambunctious angst. After Arielle recharged her battery with a slice of Two Boots Pizza, we made our way to Stories Books and Cafe where punk legend Alice Bag shared excerpts from her book, Pipe Bomb For The Soul, in anarchist perfection.
We went out with an Americana bang at The Lost Knight — an appropriate genre for a British pub — with a supper of beers and limey fare. We caught the tail-end of Miles Tackett’s set, and were impressed with his tight guitar chords whilst maintaining such lively, danceable music.
Elijah Ocean was another standout of the day, pairing the organic elements of folk and country with the soul and substance of classic, southern rock. With the power and tightness of his talented band behind him, Ocean’s heartfelt melodies and thoughtful lyrics soured quite seamlessly above. The final act of our particular evening was Charlie Overbey & the Broken Arrows. Rowdy, energetic and solid, these veterans sprung the Lost Knight into its late-night festivities with thunderous fun.
As we made our way back home, we stumbled upon a punk trio called Paradoks, rehearsing for a set on the curb by Patra Burger. They kindly let us photograph them, and in the images captured the heart and soul of what Echo Park is about. We’re different, uninhibited, diverse, outspoken, creative and bursting with spirit unparalleled in much of Los Angeles. Hear it, see it, feel it and be it this weekend with Echo Park Rising.