Abbot Kinney Festival is back with live music, street food and local style

By Christina Campodonico 

Electro-pop vocalist Flavia plays the Andalusia “Locals” stage, “American Idol” alum Scarypoolparty headlines the Westminster Stage, and Disco Shrine curates the Quad Stage at Main Street

For more than 100,000 people each year, the last Sunday in September is party time on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Celebrate the 35th annual Abbot Kinney Festival with music by stars on the rise, food trucks galore, eclectic fashion pop-ups, and either beer garden shenanigans or wholesome family fun.

THE MUSIC 

Brazilian music and dance troupes Samba Da Mundança and Samba Soul Dance Company kick things off with a welcome parade at 10 a.m.

Venice’s own Winston House produces The Westminster Stage (at Westminster Avenue), which is loaded with up-and-coming TALENT! The most recognizable name on the lineup is probably Scarypoolparty (aka Alejandro Aranda), who sweetly sang and strummed his way to the final round of “American Idol” earlier this year and melted America’s heart with his swoon-worthy original songs and acoustic covers. He performs at 4 p.m., followed by Mary J. Blige song collaborator Diana Gordon at 4:45 p.m. Laura Jean Anderson throws it back to a ’70s vibe with her vocals at 1:50 p.m., British brother duo Champs brings their “gorgeous, gauzy folk-pop” from across the Pond at 2:40 p.m., and politically vocal troubadour Dustin Thomas closes things out at 5:30 p.m.

Persian-American pop artist Jessica Delijani (aka Disco Shrine) curates The Quad Stage (at Main Street), interspersing her DJ sets between performances by femme punk artist Taleen Kali at 11:30 a.m., the accordionist-led gypsy folk-pop band Sugar Rum Tantrum at 12:30 p.m.,
pop singer Tiffany Stringer at 1:30 p.m., rock band Ugly Sweaters at 2:30 p.m. and youth performers from the Mar Vista branch of School of Rock at 3:30 p.m. KCRW fans may especially enjoy the melodic and mellow music of multidisciplinary artist Annabelle Maginnis, whose vocal tones resemble the soft, yet sultry strains of Brazilian chanteuses such as Bebel Gilberto and Céu. She goes on at 4:15 p.m. before the grooving brass, tin, strings and drum marching band Superbroke bring funk and Latin-inspired jams to the stage at 5 p.m.

Airy pop vocalist Eva B. Ross, rootsy rockers Nine Mile Station (led by local musician and activist Will Hawkins), blues-rock group The Danger Band, broody electro-pop vocalist FLAVIA and Samba Soul Dance Company perform at the Andalusia “Locals” Stage (at Andalusia Avenue) at various times between noon and 5:45 p.m., while DJ Daniel D’Artiste holds it down at The Brig’s Palms Stage (Palms Boulevard) spinning vinyl from 1 to 5 p.m.

People-watching and surprise vendor booths are an essential part of the Abbot Kinney Festival experience

THE FOOD 

What would a street festival by the ocean be without a little seafood? Get your fruit of the sea fix with Lobsterdamus, serving up mesquite-grilled lobster on noodles, nachos and more. Knock a few bivalves back at Broad Street Oyster Co., popping down from Malibu with its mobile seafood raw bar. Or go for a classic fish taco at the Pinch of Flavor Latin seafood truck.

Channel Venice’s historic ties to Italy at the Prince of Venice pasta truck (owned by an actual Italian prince), or dive into deep-fried goodness with the Big Mozz’s mozzarella sticks.

Virtuous vegans may enjoy the plant-based taco fillings of Cena Vegan or fruit smoothies and acai from Amazebowls. Meat-eaters, head on over to Black Sugar Rib Co. or Baby’s Badass Burgers.

Those over 21 can drink and be merry in one of the festival’s cash-only beer gardens hosted by Golden Road Brewing, the marina’s own Firestone Walker Brewing Company and beloved LGBTQIA+ bar Roosterfish. (Beer garden wristbands start at $5 and go up to $35 for the fast pass.)

THE SHOPPING

Show your Venice pride by picking up a Hecho en Venice T-shirt or trucker hat, or peruse Venice-based Drones Clothing’s collection of bespoke denim jackets. Electric & Rose is bringing their Venice Beach-inspired athletic wear, and Lincoln Boulevard lifestyle boutique Amiga Wild is showcasing their house jewelry brand Freedumb Founded. Find home decor inspiration in Earth Mama Venice’s intricate Native American-inspired wall hangings.

Auradome also offers the chance to take home a unique souvenir: a portrait of yourself with your aura captured in full color.

FOR THE KIDS

Adults may have the beer gardens, but we all know that the real fun happens in the Kidsquad (at Main Street), featuring bouncy slides, bungee basketball, rock climbing and a merry-go-round for pint-sized festivalgoers. Kids can also express their creative selves by painting a “kindness rock,” tie-dying a T-shirt, bedecking themselves with glitter tattoos or sitting in a face-painter’s chair to become a walking work of art. (Individual ride tickets start at $1 and unlimited ride wristbands go up to $100.)

The Abbot Kinney Festival happens from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 29) along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, between Venice Boulevard and Main Street. Admission is free. Visit abbotkinneyfestival.org.

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