Saturday’s lineup includes headliners Flying Lotus and Health. And with the demise of Sunset Junction, this could be the year the northeast L.A. festival breaks from the pack of other local fests.
The biggest story in local music so far this year is a festival that didn’t happen.
The last-minute cancellation in August of Sunset Junction (potentially for good) happened for a variety of reasons — poor permit planning, neighborhood opposition and lack of funds, among them. But it did prove two things about L.A. music: Angelenos are incredibly passionate about local festivals for good and ill, and there is a giant opportunity for an inexpensive, easygoing neighborhood-level show to claim that institution’s mantle.
The Eagle Rock Music Festival may be moving to grab that audience. Since moving out into the streets in 2006, the festival has doubled in attendance annually, last year attracting around 100,000 fans over one day of surprisingly experimental local music. This year’s lineup may be its strongest yet. And even with the solid bookings of Make Music Pasadena, the Silver Lake Jubilee and the Abbot Kinney Festival, this may be the year Eagle Rock codifies its reputation as the must-see local festival. And it asks only for a $5 donation.
The festival, which is produced by the Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock, takes place Saturday along Colorado Boulevard in the northeastern L.A. neighborhood. Headliners include the jazz-infused avant-garde beatsmith Flying Lotus and the deconstructionist noise-rock quartet Health — L.A. natives who have each had marquee billings at Coachella in recent years.
The Low End Theory, a Wednesday club night held regularly at the Lincoln Heights club the Airliner, brings a collective of brain-frying beatmakers to its own stage at the festival, such as Nosaj Thing, Tokimonsta and Gaslamp Killer, with their fractured dubstep and electronica. Other stages will highlight the revival of throwback garage rock with Barrio Tiger and Allah Las. The Eagle Rock music studio the Ship, run by indie impresario Aaron Espinoza, also will host its own stage, featuring widescreen rock such as Shadow Shadow Shade.