Santa Monica Festival-Revel with a Cause
The Santa Monica Festival presented by The City of Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division, Community & Cultural Services Department, the Santa Monica Arts Commission, and the City of Santa Monica Environmental & Public Works Management Department was a huge success. The theme for this year’s festival was “Revel with a Cause.” The festival was held on May 10th at Clover Park in Santa Monica.
There are many events happening throughout the city for the entire family to enjoy. The Santa Monica Festival stands out for several reasons: It is held in a park with a built in play area for kids, it has a sports field for adults, festival attendees had a chance to win fabulous raffle prized. There was an Eco-Zone to help shed sunlight on local and global environmental issues, illuminating how residents can make a difference. The Marketplace featured unique one of a kind arts and crafts and skin care products. International cuisine awaited everyone in the Global Café. The Town Square featured many community service agencies in Santa Monica providing attendees with valuable information.
Each year the Santa Monica Festival allows people to go on a musical journey. World class global entertainment was featured on the Ocean Stage, and the Youth Stage featured the talents of local teens in Santa Monica and a re: Fashion workshop taught by award winning costume designer Ann Closs-Farly. Participants were able to create their own fabulous fashion outfits using day old newspapers and other paper items. The newly designed outfits were featured in a fashion show with the assistance of fashion industry professional Howard Seth Cohen, proprietor of Mr.Mrs. a weekly salon featuring fashion forward art and clothing, and a special guest appearance by Sweet P from Project Runway!
Tommy Lee- The Coordinator of the Music Center’s Dance at the Music Center and Active Arts Programs served as Master of Ceremonies on the Ocean Stage.
Ballet Folklorico Nueva Antequera is a critically acclaimed intergenerational ensemble. They showcased the indigenous music and dances representing several regions of Oaxaca, Mexico. The group performed with Banda Musica Yatzachi El Bajo (YEB). The energetic and colorful program consisted of the following dances: Istmo, Danza de pluma (from Valles region), Jarabe mixe (Sierra region), Jarabe Mixteco (Mixteco region), Pinotepo (Costa region) and Flor de Pina (Tuxtepec region). The dancers concluded their program by presenting pineapples to members of the audience.
The entertainment switched back and forth between the Ocean and Youth Stage. Joe Hernendez-Kolski with DJ Jedi-Emmy winners for “Outstanding Youth Programming” for Downbeat Showdown, the televised version of Downbeat 720 served as Master of Ceremonies on the Youth Stage. The opening act featured Soul Real band featuring a solo performance of a senior from Santa Monica High School doing original rap/hip-hop lyrics for the audience. The crowd was blown away by a performance by Narcia Ruiz singing a Capella version of “No Air” by Chris Brown.
I was blown away by the fantastic performance of Fishtank Ensemble on the Ocean Stage. The group served up a unique and worldly musical mélange. The ensemble melded flamenco, Swedish folk music and Klezmer music like those sounds featured in the bygone days in the sultry cafes of Bucharest and Gypsy caravans. The music of this fabulous ensemble brought back fond memories for the older members of the crowd. Sensational vocalist Ursula Knudson has an incredible vocal range. She can easily and fluently sing in French, Italian and Japanese. The ensemble played material from their latest CD’s Super Raoul released in 2005 and Samurai Over Serbia released in 2007. The group also has a DVD available entitled Live at Freight & Salvage. Please go to see this ensemble if and when they have a scheduled stop in your town in the near future.
Returning to the Youth Stage for some straight ahead jazz performed by John Adams Middle School (JAMS) and Downbeat 720 High School Talent featured the City’s most talented poets and musicians performing for an attentive audience.
Jeff Verges a local artist is the winner of the Twilight Dance Series Poster contest. This talented artist has won the contest for the last three years in a row. You may wish to bookmark www.twilightdance.org to see the winning poster design (posted on this website soon) as well as the line-up for the very popular concert series on the Santa Monica Pier that gets under way on June 26. The Santa Monica Pier has a Sunday concert series www.santamonicapier.org for the month of May.
DAFRA West African Dance & Drum Ensemble performed a high octane set featuring the music and dances representing the rich tapestry of Africa. The members of the ensemble are from Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Ivory Coast and the United States. They had a young captivated audience featuring youngsters from 15 months old on up sitting front and center throughout their upbeat set. Amadou Kiernou a master drummer from Burkina Faso was the special guest artist for this gig.
The festival concluded with the always entertaining performance of Dengue Fever a local Los Angeles based Cambodian flavored psychedelic pop group who has created quite a sensation garnering global media and international acclaimed. This is another band that I highly recommend that you go see perform live.
The Santa Monica Festival was sponsored by City TV of Santa Monica-Media Sponsor, Santa Monica Ford Lincoln Mercury, Sparkletts, Whole Foods, Western Bagel, Patagonia, Watt Management, Cushman & Wakefield, Cabi Developers and Tribeca West.
The Festival was produced by Community Arts Resources (CARS) www.carsla.net (213)365-0605.