The bands are back in town for Buskerfest.
The 11th annual East Village event supports Long Beach artists by bringing them together to perform back-to-back in front a live audience, where the winning band is judged by the number of wooden nickels placed in individual buckets.
“We’ve always been about trying to put money in the pockets of bands," Rand Foster, owner at Fingerprints Music and co-founder of Buskerfest, said. "We want to bring the business part of their business —their band — to the forefront with Buskerfest."
Rand added that although it starts with a love and talent for music, bands need a platform to make money, and he hopes that Buskerfest can be a launchpad for those featured bands, whether they win or not. Each band is paid to play, with the winning band awarded an extra $2,500.
"Our hope is to see these bands succeed," he said.
Buskerfest is an original Summer and Music (SAM) event, which features local music at downtown events all summer long. But this year the Long Beach music scene is expanding.
Back in May, the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) announced that radio station KCRW will partner with the DLBA to include two Long Beach events as part of the station's Summer Nights musical programming. The first was the POW! WOW! Long Beach closing party event that happened last month, and next up is their debut partnership with Buskerfest.
“We’ve all been pretty big fans of KCRW’s Summer Nights calendar," Foster said. "They activate different areas of Los Angeles, they bring DJs in and overall are big supporters of the local music scene."
The competition lineup this year includes Palm Trails, BLCKNOISE, Devil Season, The Pollen Collective, Spirit Mother, Fellow Robot, Gemma Castro and The Captain's Son.
Headliners, who are not a part of the competition, are Jonathon Wilson, Jade Jackson and Primrose Forever Sanctuary.
KCRW D.J. Raul Campos will host the evening, introducing the bands and leading the lineups. DLBA President and CEO Kraig Kojian said that the Buskerfest team is more than happy to welcome KCRW to town.
"Buskerfest is one of our signature events and we are really excited to bring KCRW into our family of supporters," he said. "It's been a great partnership with Fingerprints, with Summer and Music, and we are really stoked to see where it goes now that we have support with KCRW."
The DLBA has helped to finance and market the event since its inception in 2008. The collaboration has brought citywide attention to Summer and Music's downtown events, and now with the KCRW partnership, Foster said that he's excited to see what's up next.
"The DLBA has been there since the beginning. They're our funding partner and they do a tremendous amount on the business side, and they are a part of the team," he said. "Being included as part of KCRW's Summer Nights calendar is really exciting. Its really cool to work with them and we're happy that the KCRW team can be a part of our event."
Buskerfest is happening at 5 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 7, between First Street and Linden Avenue in the East Village Arts District. Those streets will be shut down to traffic during the event.
Parking is available in surrounding neighborhoods (parking meters will be enforced).
For more information, go to summerandmusic.com.
Stephanie Stutzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.