Art, world cultures and the environment are the focus of the Santa Monica Festival, an annual community gathering intended to showcase emerging talent in the arts.
This year’s Santa Monica Festival is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, May 13th, at Clover Park, 2600 Ocean Park Blvd., Santa Monica. Admission is free. The festival is a City of Santa Monica-sponsored event meant to promote revelry and community awareness and to represent cultural diversity, history and the artistic roots of Santa Monica.
Headlining performers at this year’s Santa Monica Festival will include the band Quetzal, Buconiva Klezmer and the Viver Brasil Dance Company.
Quetzal combines Mexican and Cuban rhythms, jazz and rock and is described as embodying the soul of the Mexican-American grass-roots struggle.
Bucovina Klezmer is music for the simchas or “joyous occasions that are part and parcel of Jewish cultural and religious life,” according to festival organizers. The group incorporates jazz and Latin melodies into its traditional Jewish sound, creating a world music feel. The group was founded in the early 1990s by Miamon Miller.
Viver Brasil Dance Company, under the direction of Luiz BadarÛ and Linda Yudin, is a fusion of passionate Afro-Brazilian dance, flamboyant costumes with live percussion and vocals. The dances are inspired by the CandomblÈ orixas, — the Bahian carnival dances of samba reggae and traditional samba. The group was recently awarded a National Dance Project Grant for its upcoming national tour.
Throughout the day, local high school youths will be showcasing their talents via the Downbeat Showdown, an “American Idol-influenced” teen talent competition.
Grupo FolklÛrico Herencia Mexicana will bring traditional Mexican folk dance flare to the event.
North African folk music will be performed by MC Rai, who was born in the southern Tunisian city of Gabes and as a youth was taught the folk music traditions of Chaabi (or Mizoued as it is known in Tunisia). MC Rai evolves the traditional North African melodies and rhythms by fusing them with rock guitar, hip-hop beats and drum and bass.
Craft demonstrations will be held by local artists and hands-on art and environmental workshops for all ages will be led by local representatives of the 18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica Public Library and Santa Monica Museum of Art. Booths set up at the event will have crafts and international cuisine for sale.
Keeping with the City of Santa Monica’s environmentally-friendly image, the festival will be powered entirely with renewable energy and will have two completely solar-powered stages, according to organizers.
Festival-goers can participate in the creativity and entertainment by taking part in a participatory drum circle led by Chris Ramirez, that will kick off the festival at 11 a.m. Shakers, tambourines and other percussion instruments will be available or drummers are welcome to bring their own instrument.
Santa Monica High School theater students will present selections from their upcoming musical showcase, Showstoppers: A Musical Revue, at 1:30 p.m.; and fellow students from the Santa Monica Music Center Student Workshop Band will perform pop, jazz and blues standards at 3 p.m.
The festival’s Eco-Zone will be based solely on environmental activities and promoting environmental consciousness.
Information, (310) 458-8350.