FREE MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL IN VENICE, CALIFORNIA
VENICE BEACH MUSIC FEST 12
SATURDAY, AUGUST 26, 2017
11:00 A.M. – 7:30 P.M.
Full day of all-star music, dance, and art at Venice Beach. Outdoor festival celebrating the creative spirit of Venice and the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, headlined by quintessential ’60s band STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK (“Incense and Peppermints”) and featuring performances by Woodstock legend BARRY “THE FISH” MELTON AND THE SAN FRANCISCO ALL-STARS, CUBENSIS, and many more talented artists!
VENICE, CALIFORNIA – The annual Venice Beach Music Fest music and arts festival celebrates twelve years of totally free music, dance, and art on Saturday, August 26, 2017, from 11:00 A.M. to 7:30 P.M. in Windward Plaza Park (1 Windward Avenue, in the park at the intersection of the boardwalk and Windward Avenue). The festival, sister to the Venice Spring Fling, is and always has been free and open to the public, is made possible by local and national businesses. There will also be an aftershow party immediately following the festival at Hinano Café featuring local band The Brobots.
The full day of entertainment at Venice Beach Music Fest 12 features a multi-genre array of seasoned and talented performers, some of whom were performing the hits of the day fifty years ago, during the famed Summer of Love cultural revolution. VBMF12 is thrilled to welcome headliners Strawberry Alarm Clock, whose song “Incense and Peppermints” was a Number 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit in 1967. The current version of Strawberry Alarm Clock contains five of the original members of the band, which performed in Venice fifty years ago. The festival also features an afternoon performance from Barry “The Fish” Melton and The San Francisco All-Stars. Melton earned his moniker as “The Fish” in the ‘60s band Country Joe and The Fish, which in 1967 produced both their debut album and the album that contained their most popular hit and one of the great anti-war protest songs of the era, I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die, which they later performed as part of a rousing set at the original Woodstock music and arts festival. Melton’s band of San Francisco All-Stars is composed of members of other prominent bands with ties to the 1960s: Peter Albin and David Aguilar of Big Brother and the Holding Company (Janis Joplin’s band), Roy Blumenfeld (The Blues Project), and Rock-and-Roll Hall-of-Famer Greg Douglass (Steve Miller Band).
Several of the day’s acts echo the celebratory sentiment of the Summer of Love 50th anniversary. Returning to the stage is local Venice band Champa 51, reunited for this special occasion as The Champa 67 Experience, performing original music as well as a psychedelic dance medley of hits from 1967. Southern California’s premiere Grateful Dead tribute band, Cubensis, will rock out the mid-afternoon. Cubensis’s lead guitarist, Craig Marshall, saw his first Grateful Dead show in 1967 and “strives to recreate that feeling at each and every show.” Rounding out the full day of musical talent is Ginger Merkin, a unique brand of Southern California country rock fronted by singer/songwriter Darren Hall (son of Hall and Oates’ Daryl Hall), and the amazing local folk and blues guitarist Cristina Vane with her band, Cristina & The Blue Vanes.
The festival also features the ArtQueen’s Great Planet of Apparel Art, a fashion show of recycled materials by a Swedish performance troupe, which is returning to the Ocean Stage for its second time! Local dance troupe Ya Harissa Bellydance Theater will perform multiple sets, and the show opens with a boardwalk parade by extravagantly costumed drum and dance ensembles Samba Soul Dance Company and Tropibloco. The parade will arrive at the festival site at 11 A.M., and will encourage audience involvement in Brazilian Samba, Hip-Hop, Samba Reggae, Calypso and other dance styles.
Venice Beach Music Fest 12 is always proud to support the arts by hosting an arts and literature show that is free for selected independent artists. This year’s lineup of visual artists showing their works include both local and internationally recognized artists Ra Ra Superstar, Debbie Pauketat, Joel Harris, William Brun, and Patricia Laraia. Author Doug Bratt will be signing copies of his book, Ava’s Grateful Bears. Artist Ann Cohen will be live-painting the event in front of the stage, as well as reading poems written by her late husband, San Francisco Oracle founder and social justice organizer, Allen Cohen. Poets Turtle and Anonymous—an original Merry Prankster from the ’60s—also will read original works from the stage. Hoops will be available for play and sale by Eclectic Hoops. A horticulturist from Humboldt’s own Royal Gold Potting Soil, and a food truck—Belly BombZ Korean Inspired Wings & Sliders—will also be on hand. Diabolo French Soda will be sampling their drinks.
This free-to-the-public festival is provided to the community by the support and sponsorship of many local and national businesses, including: Venice Beach Suites & Hotel, Royal Gold Potting Soil, Maui and Sons, The Sidewalk Café, Fresh Brothers, Volcano Tea House, Renewal by Andersen of Los Angeles, Vivid Seats, Redfin, The Free Venice Beachhead, Marriott Marina Del Rey, Hinano Café, Diabolo Beverages, Zelda's Corner, and the Venice Boardwalk Association.
Producer Milton Rosenberg is thrilled to be in his twelfth year of providing free festivals with the community’s support. Rosenberg’s vision is that Venice Beach Music Fest preserves town founder Abbot Kinney’s original intention for Venice of America to be an arts and entertainment capital. Rosenberg also hopes the festival honors the city’s history as an epicenter of creativity. “It continues to be critical that Venice shine a bright beacon of love to the world through the arts,” says Rosenberg. Previous festivals have resulted in incredible live performances by members of internationally acclaimed acts Black Flag, Fishbone, L.A. Guns, Gov't Mule, and Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band. However, Venice Beach Music Fest is most well known in the community for showcasing Venice’s own finest musicianship and local talent.
Visit VeniceBeachMusicFest.com for additional information, and connect with the community at Facebook.com/VeniceBeachMusicFest. This event is endorsed by the Venice Chamber of Commerce.
— Venice Beach Music Fest 12 Performers and Artists
Performers (In order of appearance):
SAMBA SOUL & TROPIBLOCO: Samba Soul Dance Company and Tropibloco drum ensemble will open the Venice Beach Music Fest 12 at 11 AM! Los Angeles's First Samba Dance School brings the soul of Rio's Carnaval to Southern California. While colorful costumes, exceptionally trained authentic samba techniques, and big smiles are what characterize them the most, the Samba Soul dance company has already brightened up the stages of Brazillian music icons such as Sergio Mendez, Qviolin, and Sheila E., bringing positive energy and respect for the art of dance. Directed by the first Samba Queen U.S.A., Gisella Ferreira, Samba Soul will be performing new and original choreography. Join the samba parade down Ocean Front Walk starting at 11 A.M., and end in front of the Ocean Stage at Venice Beach Music Fest 12 to help everyone join in the dance!
CRISTINA & THE BLUE VANES: Born in Europe, and working her way across the United States, Cristina Vane has been taking Venice by storm with her unique blend of country blues, delta blues, and folk, creating her own flavor of the blues. Vane spent her childhood and adolescence studying classical voice, music theory, piano and flute. This theme continues throughout her career today; while she predominantly plays slide guitar, she employs fingerpicking, acoustic and electric guitar techniques, as well as clawhammer banjo playing. Whether on the Venice boardwalk busking by the beach, or onstage on the Sunset Strip, her signature silver resonator, slide guitar playing, and powerful vocals are unmistakable and unforgettable by anyone who hears her.
YA HARISSA BELLYDANCE THEATER – Based in Venice, Ya Harissa is one of the most exciting Middle Eastern dance companies in Southern California. Its repertory merges the ethnic and folkloric traditions of the Middle East and North Africa with a strong theatrical flair using traditional music, dramatic costumes, and distinctive choreographies. Directed by Amaya Mattei, and with a company of 15 talented dancers, Ya Harissa transports its audiences to a distant and mesmerizing time and place.
ARTQUEEN’S GREAT PLANET OF APPAREL ART: Swedish performance troupe ArtQueen returns to Venice Beach Music Fest with a fashion show of recycled materials, accompanied by a live band performance. Great Planet of Apparel Art is a show that consists of 15 artists, 14 models and 5 musicians, all working together to create a nontraditional fashion show that not only entertains but awakens in the audience an awareness of art as a catalyst. The show’s mission is to show the cycle of Earth’s destruction and reconstruction through art and love. Their manifesto: “Earth shrivels and is burned out by cold hearts…Love gives power and the planet heals…Man gives a promise of love to the universe.” A music and art event not to be missed!
CUBENSIS: Since 1987, Cubensis has carried the torch in celebration of America’s most beloved touring band, the Grateful Dead. Celebrating their thirtieth anniversary this year, Cubensis has proudly become Southern California’s premiere Grateful Dead tribute band, and with good reason: they continue to give new life to the Dead’s material and innovate with new musical stylings, while at the same time remaining loyal to the original music and its fans. Drawing from all eras of the Dead’s canon, Cubensis performs Grateful Dead and Jerry Garcia Band classics that retain all the spontaneous exploratory jamming for which the bands were known. However, the music produced is uniquely Cubensis’s, and has a life and following all its own. The group was recently profiled in the OC Weekly, and consists of Craig Marshall on lead guitar, Nate LaPointe on rhythm guitar, Larry Ryan on bass, Tom Ryan on keyboards, and two drummers to keep things moving at an incredible pace: Ed Fletcher and Brad Rhodus.
GINGER MERKIN: Ginger Merkin plays country music like you’ve never heard it before! Fronted by two lead singers, Darren Hall (son of Hall and Oates member Daryl Hall) and Chris't Hazard (Funhouse), Ginger Merkin’s original songs feature three-part harmony and a “heavy honky tonk” sound. Rounding out the band are vocalist and keyboardist Bryan Chadima (The Vantastix), lead guitarist Ramage Jacobs, and drummer Adam “Rodeo” Rhoades. A long way from Nashville, Ginger Merkin has developed its own twist on country music that is pure Southern California and pure Venice.
BARRY “THE FISH” MELTON AND THE SAN FRANCISCO ALL-STARS (Peter Albin, Roy Blumenfeld, David Aguilar, & Greg Douglass): In 1965, Barry Melton and Country Joe McDonald began playing music at Berkeley protests against the Vietnam War. Soon they were recording and touring as Country Joe and the Fish, performing at the ballrooms of San Francisco in the psychedelic music scene, and by 1969 had performed their classic antiwar anthem, “I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’ to Die Rag,” at the legendary and groundbreaking Woodstock and Monterey Pop festivals. Melton pursued an active career as a public defender, yet continued playing music in The Dinosaurs, a band of ’60s veterans that included members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, Quicksilver Messenger Service, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape, and the incomparable Merl Saunders on keyboards. Melton’s special connection to Venice is that he remembers coming here as a child. “Venice was the center of the counterculture in the late ’50s and early ’60s, and it has maintained a continuing counterculture tradition,” he notes. Melton will be joined onstage by these fine musicians: Roy Blumenfeld (Blues Project, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, Paul Butterfield, Elvin Bishop, Carlos Santana), Peter Albin (Big Brother and the Holding Company), David Aguilar (Big Brother and the Holding Company), and Rock-and-Roll Hall-of-Famer Greg Douglass (he co-wrote the Steve Miller Band’s hit, “Jungle Love”).
THE CHAMPA 67 EXPERIENCE: Champa 51, Venice’s own psychedelic dance band, is reuniting for the first time in years as the Champa 67 Experience, performing their original hits and honoring the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love by bringing a funky twist to some of the great songs of 1967. Champa founders Marc and Andrea Blackbird make music that skillfully fuses rock, hip-hop, soul, and funk into organic dance music—with the raw power of a live band and the groove conscience of the great DJs. The band’s work has been hailed by Music Connection magazine for serving up “seductive hip-hop grooves and soulful textures.” They are legendary on the Venice and tribal fusion musical scene and their shows are known for their focus on audience participation. Currently confirmed to perform are Champa 51 alums Marc Blackbird on guitar, vocals, and psychedelic noisemakers, and vocalist Andrea Blackbird, along with special guests: vocalist Joy Rosenberg, percussionist Giovanni Washington, and Bassist Geoff Mann of Here Lies Mann, with more announcements coming soon. Come and dance as the old and new pull groove essence from the edges of the universe together for a psychedelic new world explosion: The Champa 67 Experience!
STRAWBERRY ALARM CLOCK: Celebrating their 50th anniversary as a band, and the 50th anniversary of the release of their groovy Billboard #1 hit, “Incense and Peppermints,” Strawberry Alarm Clock, featuring five original members, will headline Venice Beach Music Fest 12! No song encapsulates the sound of the ‘60s better than their quintessential psychedelic masterpiece, “Incense and Peppermints.” The band’s first album from 1967, Incense and Peppermint features the songs “Rainy Day Mushroom Pillow,” “Sit With the Guru,” and “Strawberries Mean Love.” SAC evolved from a band called Thee Sixpence in 1967, which included drummer Gene Gunnels, keyboardist/vocalist Mark Weitz, guitarist Ed King, and the late vocalist and guitarist Lee Freeman. Drummer/percussionist Randy Seol, vocalist/bass player George Bunnell, and guitarist/flutist Steve Bartek joined next, as soon as he could get his parents’ permission (he was 15). By November 1967, “Incense and Peppermints” had already topped the charts and was awarded gold status. The current band’s lineup includes original members Weitz, Seol, Bunnell, Gunnels, and Bartek, as well as 30-year member guitar/sitar player Howie Anderson. In 2012, SAC released their first studio album in more than forty years: Wake Up Where You Are! They have been performing in concert with the current lineup since 2007, and are currently working on an album of new material. The band remembers playing at Venice’s legendary Cheetah Club in 1967. Come celebrate 50 years of grooving in Venice with Strawberry Alarm Clock at Venice Beach Music Fest 12!
Artists, Authors, and Poets:
WILLIAM BRUN: Local artist William Brun, now in his 80s, is a utopian painter. At first glance, you might see Van Gogh or post-Cubism Picasso in his works, but William classifies his art as modern surrealism. He paints his figurative, tarot-like figures with bordering commentaries, yet this is not message art. His works are allegorical stories, created one paintbrush stroke at a time.
ANN COHEN: Poet, painter, and social justice organizer Ann Cohen will be reading from the San Francisco Oracle in honor of her late husband, Allen Cohen, and his founding of the countercultural newspaper half a century ago: In the summer of 1966, people in San Francisco began to attend a series of meetings to discuss starting a newspaper. These poets and artists envisioned a revolution of love and peace starting in the city and engulfing the whole planet; the Oracle emerged, tackling social as well as spiritual and environmental issues. Distribution grew as far west as New Zealand, India and Vietnam, and as far east as Prague and Moscow, hidden in the bottom of boxes of second-hand clothing. Oracle editorial meetings included everyone, including staff and anyone who happened to walk in the door. The idea was that if their flow brought them in the door, they were meant to be there. These guests and drop-ins were thought of as representatives of the rest of the world. Fifty-one years later, these beliefs have proven necessary for communal life on this planet. Ann will also be live-painting the entire day’s musical offerings on a large canvas in front of the stage. Come by and watch the magic happen live!
DOUG BRATT: Doug will be selling and signing copies of his book, Ava’s Grateful Bears, and a few of the new line of Grateful Bears. Now in its second printing, this independently published book has become a record-breaking Amazon best seller for grandparents and children alike. All profits for the new line of Grateful Bears go to each signature bear’s charity or foundation of choice. To date, some of the charities benefiting from sales of Grateful Bears are SEVA, Rex Foundation and Camp Winnarainbow. Notable individuals to date that have become Grateful Bears include Deva Premal, Wavy Gravy, Carlos Santana, Keith Richards, and Ellen DeGeneres.
ECLECTIC HOOPS: The only thing more fun than watching a child's face light up over a hoop is watching an adult beam like a little kid! Born May 1, 2010, from a love of hoop dance and fascination with shiny tape, Eclectic Hoops are a collection of hoop concepts, styles, and tastes, all hand made in Venice, CA, using responsibly sourced materials. Eclectic Hoops are too fun to feel like exercise, and too beautiful to put down!
JOEL HARRIS: After several years of success in the art world, Joel Harris sold everything he owned and traveled to Peru where he lived in a native Shipibo community near Pucallpa on the edge of the Amazon. After this one-year break from painting, he returned to Venice. His landscapes reflect his experiences while traveling in Europe and South America. They express the stillness, presence, and peacefulness that he feels within. In 2008, when he became a father, he added small child-like houses, which make his paintings light-hearted, playful, and whimsical. Harris will also be signing his memoir, Into the Amazon in Search of Truth.
PATRICIA LARAIA: Patricia Laraia (a.k.a. Ms. Cake) has been playing with paint and being a prankster since she was a wee girl, teaching herself by copying the work of some of her favorite artists like Emily Carr and The Group of Seven with her trusty box of oil pastels. Her love of art, color, and following spirit have taken her on many amazing journeys and gifted her with a multitude of spiritual experiences. Often going into trance while painting and dancing, she allows the divine to flow through and is always amazed at the synchronicities, synesthesia, and soul with which she communes. She is so happy Venice Beach is calling her now!
DEBBIE PAUKETAT: Artist and illustrator Debbie Pauketat has always loved learning how to make things with her hands. “I am lover of those things in life that are traditionally rejected by others,” she says. “I find myself being drawn to the imperfections of things and people, as if they were their own kind of perfection. My work often emphasizes these perceived flaws, and draws from them their own unique beauty.” Pauketat is constantly exploring her ability to create beyond the expected boundaries of art and craft, and has studied drawing, painting, sculpture, film, sewing, metalwork, jewelry, bookbinding, glasswork, musical instrument crafting, and printmaking, as well as automotive principles and many diverse interests.
RA RA SUPERSTAR: A local fixture in Venice for almost two decades, RaRa Superstar is one of the most energetic and engaging visual artists on the boardwalk. He began his career in New York, where he slept under the Brooklyn Bridge with a drum and a suitcase as he birthed himself as an artist and joined the arts community worldwide. Since then, RaRa has become a true international superstar, with his signature colorful style livening up residencies in Japan, Holland, Italy, Jamaica, Africa, New York City, Miami, and elsewhere around the globe, bringing joy and inspiration to all he meets.
TURTLE & ANONYMOUS: Turtle is happy to return to the main stage of Venice Beach Music Fest to once again share his poetry about the paradoxes of life and love. He will be accompanied by original Merry Prankster Anonymous, who was only 15 years old during the famed Furthur Bus’s inaugural cross-country run, led by psychedelic pioneer Ken Kesey and Beat icon Neal Cassady. Turtle and Anonymous met recently during the national neo-Prankster revival accompanying Furthur’s 50th anniversary trip, and have cultivated a friendship ever since, based on mutual respect and love for the arts. This will be Anonymous’s first public reading.
What: Venice Beach Music Fest 12 — Free music and arts festival at the beach
When: Saturday, August 26, 2017, 11:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Windward Plaza Park, 1 Windward Avenue, Venice, CA 90291 (between the boardwalk and the bike trail at the beach end of Windward Avenue)
Description: Free outdoor festival featuring music, art, and dance at world famous Venice Beach boardwalk. Full day of world-class musical and dance entertainment, a large art show, and other fun attractions. Special celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Summer of Love, featuring music and dance from Samba Soul & Tropibloco, Cristina & The Blue Vanes, Ya Harissa Bellydance Theater, ArtQueen’s Great Planet of Apparel Art, Cubensis, Ginger Merkin, Barry “The Fish” Melton and Friends, The Champa 67 Experience, and Strawberry Alarm Clock.
The free Venice Beach Music Fest 12 is made possible by generous donations from these local and national sponsors that continue to prove their dedication to arts preservation in our community: Venice Beach Suites & Hotel, Royal Gold Potting Soil, Maui and Sons, The Sidewalk Café, Fresh Brothers, Volcano Tea House, Renewal by Andersen of Los Angeles, Vivid Seats, Redfin, The Free Venice Beachhead, Marriott Marina Del Rey, Hinano Café, Diabolo Beverages, Zelda's Corner, and the Venice Boardwalk Association.