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DOWNEY – The second annual Make Music Downey festival boasts an impressive lineup with well-known, award-winning acts, making this Fête de la Musique event an opportunity for Downey to be recognized for its emerging arts scene on a scale never before seen.
Make Music Downey is a free, all day, all-ages, music celebration taking place at nine venues throughout Downtown Downey, Saturday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Festival seating is open to all at the Main Stage in front of City Hall, and other venues are within easy walking distance.
The music will begin right after the first annual city bike ride, Tour de Downey. With 60 acts playing throughout the day, the range of genres offers a variety for all ages and musical tastes, including Latin sounds and jazz, country and hip hop, bluegrass and punk.
Headlining the event is East L.A. band, Las Cafeteras, who will be performing on the Main Stage at 1 p.m. Their infectious Mexican-Afro inspired lyrics and rhythms have earned them praise as “Best Latin Alternative Band 2013” by LA Weekly.
Last year these local musicians joined the LA Philharmonic in a free community event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Disney Concert Hall. The BBC has called their music urgent and relevant.
Opening the show on the Main Stage are two well-known local Downey bands. Surf rock sounds from Gramps with Amps will start at 11 a.m. At noon, country singer/songwriter Steve Roberson will take the stage with Karen Tobin and Paul Marshall.
The Southern California band Quitapenas will perform later, along with Salt Petal, and Latin Grammy nominee Ceci Bastida. Closing the festival is Chicano Batman, a group that was featured on KCET with their music that blends traditional Latin American music and retro sounds.
Performers at other venues include the Long Beach Ukulele Club, the Warren High Jazz Chorus, returning jazz group Per Se, and the award-winning harmony group Honey Whiskey Trio. Local radio station KPFK is an official media sponsor.
Make Music Downey is presented by the Downey Arts Coalition, a non-profit organization with the stated mission of supporting and promoting the local arts scene. The city was so impressed by the organization and success of the all-volunteer effort last year, that city officials suggested festival organizers coordinate the event with the city bike ride and relocate the Main Stage to the Civic Center.
Downtown eatery Mambo Grill will again be a venue this year, as will the arts and entertainment venues Epic Lounge, Stay Gallery, and Downey Music Center. New venues added this year include Porto’s Bakery, Joseph’s Bar and Grill, Downey Brewing Company, and the chapel at the First Baptist Church of Downey.
Festival organizers also hope to have a second stage outside of City Hall at the historic archway along Civic Center Drive. The arrangement of these multiple stages will make Downtown Downey “the walkable, vibrant, and busy place that so many envision it to be,” organizers said.
An interactive vendor village featuring more than 40 unique artists, crafts, and community partners along with popular food and dessert trucks will be next to the main stage located at 11111 Brookshire Ave. While browsing local art and clothing for sale audience members will also get to enjoy a photo booth, family entertainment, and the antique Rockview milk truck.
The day starts early with the first annual Tour De Downey, a series of bike rides for all ages and experiences, presented by the city of Downey. The long distance ride, a 35-mile loop to Long Beach and back, starts at 7:30 a.m., meeting at City Hall Civic Center, with check in at 6:30 a.m.
A community ride with a smaller route around Downey, as well as a bicycle safety course for youth ages 3 to 7, Tour de Trainees, will begin at 9:30 am.
The community’s help is needed to support the cost of bringing this full day of culture and community to Downey. Tickets for a chance to win a Stratocaster electric guitar copy hand-painted by Downey artist Don Lamkin, valued at $600, along with a tenor Lulu Ukulele with a hard shell case, valued at $500 donated by the Downey Music Center, can be found on the Make Music Downey website. Tickets start at $2 each.
Parking will be made possible with the donations of local churches. St. George Greek Church, the United Methodist Church, and the First Baptist Church of Downey will all have their parking lots open for the event.
For a full performance schedule, bike ride sign ups, more information on raffle tickets, or to sign up as a volunteer, visit makemusicdowney.org.
Published: June 5, 2014 – Volume 13 – Issue 08