Summer and Music Concludes With Fourth Annual Buskerfest Saturday

share this:

On Saturday, August 25, 2012 nearly a dozen local bands will fill Downtown Long Beach’s East Village Arts District with stripped-down street-side sets during Summer and Music’s (SAM) fourth annual BuskerFest. From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., performers will play unplugged or “busk” for wooden nickels given by event attendees. The band that collects the most nickels will win a “Merch Table” package, valued at over $7,000, which includes design work by Bos Design, screen-printed-shirts, totes and posters.

BuskerFest will conclude SAM’s seasonal concert series on a solar-powered main stage at First Street and Elm Avenue, with headlining performances by Beachwood Sparks, Sub Pop’s long-standing Los Angeles country-indie rock band, and The Fling, a home-grown Long Beach indie-rock band in the process of recording its second full-length album.

Designed to be the pièce de résistance of SAM—Downtown Long Beach’s award-winning, sustainable concert series provides a summer full of free music—BuskerFest stemmed from the notion that Long Beach’s untapped wealth of extremely talented musicians deserved a unique celebration all their own.

Wild Pack of Canaries and Sea Funk Brass Band will kick off the event at 5 p.m., opening the stake-bed stages, which will be stretched along First Street between Elm and Linden avenues. From 6-8:45 p.m., 10 bands-turned-buskers, each playing stripped-down sets for a roving audience, will perform. Attendees will be equipped with wooden nickels to drop into the respective guitar cases of their favorite acts. The band that collects the most nickels, announced at the end of the night, will win the “Merch Table” package.

Competing buskers include: Bobby Blunders, Brother C & Sister J, Brown & Blue, California Lions, The Dovelles, Dublin Public, Greater California, Angela Jane, Sawtooth and Squarefish.

Since its beginning in 2009, BuskerFest has celebrated unprecedented success, drawing 3,500 music fans annually. With live buskers flooding the East Village, roving audiences voting for their favorite act and sets by some of Long Beach’s finest bands, this event has consistently yielded a sense of Long Beach pride in music enthusiasts and community leaders alike.

This year’s showcase is on track to once again be the crown jewel of the entire SAM series, capping the night of street performances with plugged-in sets by Beachwood Sparks and The Fling.

Making vintage Laurel Canyon sounds for more than a decade, Beachwood Sparks has just released its third full-length “The Tarnished Gold”. Named after two parallel streets in Burbank, where founding band members Brent Rademaker and Christopher Gunst grew up, the band is currently in the thick of a national tour. Self described as a “futuristic and visionary country-indie rock outfit,” the group formed in 1997 from common ties to the radio station KXLU 88.9 FM and has toured the world over.

Though its members have focused on independent projects after the band’s early 90s heyday, they reunited in 2008 for the 20-year anniversary celebration of the band’s label—SupPop. The Guardian said their new record is “a piece with their first two albums, but never a pale imitation.” It has received rave reviews and is injecting a new momentum into the band’s trajectory. The band will take the stage at 9:30 p.m. featuring Gunst, Rademaker, Aaron Sperske, Ben Knight, Jimi Hey, Dan Horne, Pete “Sleigher” Kinne, Tom Sanford, Neal Casal, Josh Schwartz and Long Beach native, Farmer Dave Scher.

Opening the main stage for Beachwood Sparks is Long Beach-based five-piece band, The Fling. Comprised of brothers Dustin and Graham Lovelis, Justin Roeland, Justin Ivey and Joel Bond, they will play at 8:50 p.m. This show is a brief break from recording their second full-length with Long Beach sound engineering guru Matt Wignall (known for his work on the first Cold War Kids albums).

Formerly signed to Dangerbird Records, the band’s new album will be funded by the fruits of its online Pledge Music campaign over the next two months. Their sound has been described as “classic ’60s pop, ’90s alternative, and contemporary indie-rock clashing fluidly to create a strangely nostalgic effect” (Obscure Sound, 2008).

“Working with so many incredible Long Beach bands over the years, it immediately came clear to me when we started doing SAM that we really needed a big-scale celebration of the fertile Long Beach music scene,” said SAM Co-Founder and Fingerprints owner Rand Foster. “Buskerfest not only celebrates the individual bands performing, but hopefully shines a light on the whole community of music makers, artists, and culturists who call Long Beach home.”

Following the main stage performance, DJ Lithuanian price will once again lead the crowd into its signature mid-intersection dance party, where a whole lot of shimmying and shaking will undoubtedly unfold.

BuskerFest will also feature a beer garden, sponsored by Bliss 525. In addition to great East Village eateries, ranging from quick serve to fine dining, the TacoRog taco tent will also be on hand slinging delicious tacos. Stages are designed by Gypcee Trunk Show, an East Village business specializing in vintage collectables.

At 4:45 p.m., BuskerFest information booths will open, giving audience members a chance to collect wooden nickels, a map and a schedule of the different musical performances. The two non-competing bands will be playing promptly at 5 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. respectively. Buskers will compete from 6 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. As the audience heads to the main stage for sets by The Fling at 8:50 p.m. and Beachwood Sparks at 9:30 p.m., judges will tally the wooden nickel counts, declaring the winner just before the headlining performances. The group with the most wooden nickels by the night’s end wins an exclusive “Merch Table” prize.

Showcasing a renewed focus on environmental concerns, all large-scale SAM 2012 events are held on self-contained solar-powered stages. Adding to the environmentally friendly aspect of the series, SAM has partnered with Alternative Power Productions (APP), a San Diego-based all-solar staging, lighting and sound company offering 100 percent pollution-free concerts. Encouraging alternative transportation, Long Beach Cyclists will be offering free bicycle valet parking to folks who commute to the show on two wheels.

The SAM series features an abundance of local and regional talent, including Long Beach musicians, writers, photographers, videographers, graphic designers and media professionals, as well as enormous support from local businesses and community organizations. This year, SAM is also fortified by the dedicated efforts of an entire team of event-coordinating music lovers and by a unique partnership with the Downtown Long Beach Associates (DLBA) and the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA). It’s truly of the people and for the people.

For more information call (562) 436-4259 or visit:

Comments are closed.