On Saturday April 30, South Pasadena embraced its musical and artistic side with the return of the Eclectic Music Festival and Arts Crawl, bringing lively music performance and beautiful artwork back to residents after a 2-year hiatus.
Throughout the day, various musicians performed around South Pasadena landmarks. The festival featured 65 musicians performing a broad range of musical genres on 13 different stages at locations like the Canoe House, Mamma’s, and the South Pasadena Public Library.
The SPUSD parking lot was packed with different booths selling artwork, clothes, jewelry and ceramics among others. Food stands were scattered around selling food like hotdogs, ice cream, hamburgers and smoothies.
The musical groups performed quite a variety of genres. Kazan Taiko, a Japanese drumming ensemble from USC played in front of the Library. The group played Nagado Daikos to various rhythms in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd.
Other bands like the Elliott Caine Quartet Quintet played original and standard jazz tunes. The group featured Elloitt Caine on trumpet, Scott Gilman on tenor saxophone, Mahesh Balasooriya on piano, Kenny Elliott on drums, and Bill Markus on bass.
Numerous South Pasadena businesses have embraced the festival, with Jone’s Coffee hanging up photos of South Pasadena landmarks like the Walking Man and the iconic “Halloween” house. While describing different photography techniques, Justin Wells explained the importance of having communities rich with art and creativity.
“Putting local artists in the local businesses puts you back into connection with your neighbors,” said Wells. “If you go to Paris or Amsterdam, or these old European cities, one trip or one week in Paris will make a lifetime impression on you, because of the aesthetics of the whole experience. And when you commodify everything like we have in America, you don’t have that.”
Adam Fratto and Mary Urquhart- both volunteers at the South Pasadena Museum – welcome the festival’s return, emphasizing community kinship after two years of COVID-19.
“I feel like people are really excited,” said Fratto. “We just crossed a threshold somehow in the last couple months, and people just want to be hanging out together and partying together…It’s a great event. It’s great for South Pasadena. It’s so lively. I think it gives people a great feeling about the town.”
“It’s so nice to have the museum opening during the Eclectic Festival,” Urquhart said. “Already we’ve only been here an hour and a half and there are almost 150 people that have been to the museum.”
Artists flocked to the Arts Crawl, selling quite a diverse set of artwork. Artist Maddie Saunders sold children’s book illustrations outside Square Deal Barbershop, while Kim Lesak sold colorfully decorated ceramics outside the Dinosaur Farm. All around Mission Street, there was no shortage of creative artwork displayed.
Steve Fjeldsted has been a part of the South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival for 10 years, originally bringing genres like jazz, rock and blues music to the Library Community Room. Fjeldsted enjoys the Eclectic Festival, citing the communities’ positive aura and growing popularity over the years.
“South Pasadena’s Eclectic Music Festival is the friendliest place,” said Fjeldsted. “Everybody gets along and enjoys themselves…it’s low-key, low pressure, but still full of lots of creative energy…It’s good to be back.”
About The Eclectic Music & Arts Festival
The Eclectic is organized and produced by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce in partnership with DeepMix Entertainment and the City of South Pasadena. Started in a parking lot with a couple of local bands and a few dozen attendees, the Eclectic has grown into a signature event for the city, featuring dozens of diverse, local and regional musical acts, one-of-a-kind artisans and makers, interactive activities, open galleries, beer and wine gardens, and family-friendly fun.