Many of us abandoned Sunset Junction long before they were forced to cancel this year because of a dispute over city fees. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve had a good time there in the past and they do get hella good bands to play. But there are so many freaking people there that–for me–the event is on the ever-increasing list of places I personally consider a victim of their own success. I’m just too much of a misanthrope to enjoy downtown art walk, Dia de los Muertos in Hollywood Forever, Electric Daisy Carnival, and Sunset Junction as much as I might were I not forced to share space with a teaming mass of humanity. I don’t want to have to brush up against a bunch of sweaty arms even if they are all sporting amazing sleeves. I don’t know if Sunset Junction is “the largest celebration of diversity in Los Angeles and in California” as they bill themselves on their website (in fact, I find that hard to believe), but I do know there are too many damn people there for my tastes.
Enter the Eagle Rock Music Festival. I went two years ago because I wanted to see No Age and Peanut Butter Wolf. It was free then–now they’re asking for a $5 donation–and it was just crowded enough but not too crowded. I admit I don’t know most of the bands listed this year (not that that’s any indicator–most of my favorite albums were released between 1977 and 1983), but in 2009 two of my favorites were bands I’d never heard before: Nico Stai and The Mormons. The latter cycled up, handed out pamphlets, and did a renegade performance on instruments they had ported on their bikes including a strap-on drum set and an amp with a shoulder strap–tres punk rock. Kudos, Mormons. This year, I’m sure there will be other musical surprises. It’s easy enough to stroll Colorado Boulevard from one end of the festival to the other and stop when you hear something interesting. Really, how can you go wrong in a festival where the line-up at the family stage concludes with The Ukulele Orchestra of the Western Hemisphere followed by a Neil Diamond Tribute Band? Anyway, I’m super sad I’ll be out of town and will miss it this year, but you b.la readers should go and let me know how it is.
[An aside: Please someone over at the Sunset Junction website learn the difference between “it’s” and “its.” Thank you.]