A Festival for the Rest of Us
Sunday’s Venice Brooks Festival is a reggae-infused alternative to the big show a block away
By Brian Welk
Those looking for an authentic Venice street party experience this Sunday without the massive Abbot Kinney Festival crowds can find it just a block away at the Venice Brooks Festival, showcasing the local scene west of Main Street.
Gavin Dogan, owner and creative director of General Admission men’s clothing store on the corner of Brooks and Pacific avenues, says the Venice Brooks Festival started last year as an alternative to the increasingly touristy Abbot Kinney Festival turnout. The
hope is to showcase local shops and vendors located between the boulevard and the beach.
“Venice is not all about Abbot Kinney,” Dogan says. “Businesses located outside Abbot Kinney weren’t getting a lot of love, so the idea was to create an event where locals wanted to be and to really promote everything around Abbot Kinney.”
This year’s expanded block party stretches down Brooks Avenue from Pacific Avenue to the beach. More than 40 independent vendors are setting up shop, including Deus Ex Machina, Lone Wolfs, Fiore Design, Outerknown, Gotta Have It Vintage and Lily Ashwell.
There’s also a Caribbean theme, with six deejays spinning reggae and house music while local food vendors, including the Venice Whaler, serve up jerk chicken plates and rum cocktails.
The music lineup, headlined by DJ Higher, includes Venice locals DJ Glenn Walsh and DJ Osamu, with Dirty Dave and Danny Holloway rounding out the bill. Holloway is a DubLab contributor with a lengthy résumé as a musician and producer — he’s contributed to three Bob Marley albums, assembled albums by Jimmy Cliff, The Meters and The Maytals, and even accompanied The Rolling Stones to Jamaica in 1972.
Proceeds from the festival support The Teen project, a nonprofit active in Venice that provides housing and support for teenagers aging out of the foster system and at-risk youths during their transition into adulthood.
“It’s a block party for locals,” Dogan says. “This event is about everyone else — everyone not on Abbot Kinney.”
The Venice Brooks Festival happens from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, along Brooks Avenue between Pacific Avenue and the Venice Boardwalk. Visit venicebrooksfest.com for more info.