A Rockin’ Holiday Street Party Andy Summers of The Police lights the Venice Sign in red and green

Councilman Mike Bonin and rocker Andy Summers flipped the switch for the Venice Sign Lighting
Photos by Venice Paparazzi / venicepaparazzi.com

Five-time Grammy winner and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Andy Summers, guitarist for seminal rock band The Police, charmed a feisty outdoor crowd during Saturday night’s 7th annual Venice Holiday Sign Lighting.

Summers, who has been making music at his private Venice recording studio for three decades, helped L.A. City Councilman Mike Bonin flip the ceremonial switch to light up the iconic sign at Windward and Pacific avenues in holiday red and green.

“I love Venice Beach and what it represents: freedom,” Summers told the crowd as the scent of marijuana wafted through the air. “The spirit of Abbot Kinney lurks ever closer. … he’s probably at Subway [the adjacent sandwich shop] right now watching us all.”

The Venice Chamber of Commerce-sponsored program included local vendor booths throughout Windward Circle and two hours of musical entertainment. “American Idol” Season 15 finalist Olivia Rox headlined the outdoor stage following performances by Venice-born electro-acoustic rockers Foxtrails and local R&B artist Luckson.

Families with strollers and dogs in sweaters, teens on scooters, and the homeless, all cheered when the sign was lit. It was clear that Venice residents are proud of their diverse neighborhood.

“Venice is really one of the jewels of the city of Los Angeles,” said Bonin, adding that in addition to being one of the great local creative hubs, the community is “the tip of the spear of a lot of significant policy issues in Los Angeles. Whether it is the changing nature of the economy and the impact that has on housing and homelessness, it’s a neighborhood where the community is stepping up and confronting the challenges on all sides.”

— Shanee Edwards