Everest and Matt Vasquez to Headline Summer and Music’s Third Annual Buskerfest

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BuskerFest veterans Jay Buchanan, Pawnshop Kings and Korey Dane set the stage for 11 local bands to win an exclusive vinyl pressing deal in the streets of the East Village

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, nearly a dozen local bands will fill Downtown Long Beach’s East Village with stripped-down street sets during Summer and Music’s (SAM) third annual BuskerFest. From 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., performers will play unplugged or “busk” for the wooden nickels given by event attendees. The band that collects the most wooden nickels will win a $2,500 vinyl pressing deal.

BuskerFest will conclude SAM’s summer music series on a solar-powered main stage at First Street and Elm Avenue, with headlining performances by Everest, a nationally touring Long Beach/Los Angeles indie alt-country band, hot off a summer tour with My Morning Jacket, and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit.

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

For the first two years, BuskerFest celebrated unprecedented success, drawing 3,500 music fans each year. With live buskers flooding the East Village, roving audiences voting for their favorite act and sets by some of Long Beach’s highly renowned bands, BuskerFest has consistently yielded a sense of Long Beach pride in the hearts and minds of music enthusiasts and community leaders alike.

“We were so glad to be a part of Buskerfest,” Cold War Kids lead singer Nathan Willet said of 2009’s event. “The night really celebrated the talent of the artists and the splendor of Downtown Long Beach in such a way that everybody there looked proud of their hometown.”

This year’s showcase is on track to once again be the crown jewel of SAM, capping the night of street performances with plugged-in sets by Everest and Matt Vasquez.

Comprised of five singer/songwriters, Everest signed to Neil Young’s record label, Vapor, in 2007 and has been described as “a great rock ‘n’ roll band in the classic, open-minded mold.” This group, comprised of Russell Pollard, Jason Soda, Joel Graves, Elijah Thomson and Davey Latter, has toured with the likes of Wilco, My Morning Jacket and Neil Young. Spending the bulk of their summer touring and recording, Everest hopes to release their third full-length album in late fall, after two enormously successful albums, “Ghost Notes” and “On Approach.”

Vasquez—lead singer in the nationally acclaimed Americana rock band Delta Spirit, which headlined last year’s BuskerFest—will open up the main stage with a unique busking-style style solo set. Coincidently, Vasquez began his music career busking outside a gas station in San Diego—which is where his current band mates first heard his freight train voice.

This year BuskerFest veterans Jay Buchanan (2010 co-headliner and member of Rival Sons), Pawnshop Kings (2009 winner) and Korey Dane (2010 winner) will kick off the event, opening each of the three stake-bed stages, which are stretched along First Street between Elm and Linden Avenues. They’ll be followed by 11 bands turned-buskers; each playing stripped-down sets for a roving audience. Participants will be equipped with wooden nickels to drop into the respective guitar cases of their favorite acts.

Competing buskers include: Matteran Ghost, The Vooduo, Goodfellas, Seth Pettersen, Two Guns, Tess Shapiro, Eggplant, Wild Pack of Canaries (acoustic), Miniature Houses, Yo Pitzy Jug Band and Suedehead.

Sponsored by the new fine dining locale Bliss 525, BuskerFest will also feature a beer garden, located on Elm Avenue, just south of First Street. In addition to great East Village eateries, ranging from quick serve to fine dining, the Taco Rog food truck will also be on hand slinging delicious tacos.

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 three non-competing bands will be playing promptly at 5 p.m. Buskers will compete from 5:45 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. As the audience heads to the main stage, 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 $2,500 vinyl-pressing deal.

Showcasing a renewed focus on environmental concerns, all large-scale SAM 2011 events will be held on self-contained solar-powered stages. Adding to the environmentally friendly aspect of the series, SAM is again partnering with Sustainable Waves, a San Diego/Austin-based all-solar staging, lighting and sound company offering 100 percent pollution-free concerts. Long Beach Cyclists will also be offering free bicycle valet parking to folks who commute to the show on two wheels.

The SAM series features a stockpile 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 check out the website: www.summerandmusic.com.

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