The 22nd annual Abbot Kinney Festival, a street festival to celebrate the colorful facets that make up the Venice community as a whole, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday September 24th, outdoors along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, between Main Street and Venice Boulevard, in Venice.
The festival features dancers and performers, two stages of live music, a beer garden and foods, an elaborate Youth and Family Court and about 300 booths displaying original handcrafted goods and literature from community nonprofit organizations.
Each year, the festival has been organized by the Abbot Kinney District Association, a conglomeration of local merchants who operate along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which is known as one of Venice’s hip shopping zones.
The two main music stages will be set up where Abbot Kinney Boulevard intersects Brooks Court and where it intersects Rialto Avenue. The beer garden has been moved this year to Broadway Avenue.
This year’s musical program includes a range of rock and pop groups, many of whose members hail from Venice. Performers include Sputnik Monroe, Venice Maki, Ana Sidel, The Chills, Spence, Just Martha, Alder, Kim Hall, Peter Damien and Street Smart on the Brooks Court stage; and Zak Daniels, Quiksand, Karis, Beth Winnenman, Cory Phillips & Superlove, Brittaney Elizabeth, Good Cop Bad Cop, The Sixth Chamber, Chloe Dae, Zera Vaughn and Slavin’ David on the Rialto stage.
A ceremony with festival organizers and area political leaders, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (schedule permitting), 53rd District State Assemblyman Ted Lieu, and 11th District Los Angeles City Council- man Bill Rosendahl.
The festival’s Youth and Family Court, featuring an entirely separate lineup of musical and children’s entertainment, has been organized by Inside Out Community Arts, a nonprofit group that enriches local students and at-risk youths with after-school arts programs and art education.
Live entertainment throughout the day includes world music, drumming, dancing, storytelling, puppetry, live theater, folk music, poetry, arts and crafts, rides, games and face painting.
“The arts provide a language everyone can speak — and sing and draw and dance — and the Youth and Family Court is the perfect gathering spot for friends, neighbors and community members of all ages and backgrounds to celebrate our common humanity and have a blast,” says Jonathan Zeichner, co-artistic director of Inside Out Community Arts.
The interactive percussion group Rhythm Child helped produce the Youth and Family Court and will perform for kids at 12:15 p.m.
Other activities throughout the day include a family parade, a “fundamentals of music” program, children’s entertainer and mime Madame Chocolat, a talent showcase of local kids, a presentation by Inside Out Community Arts, a performance by the teen band Count of 4, City at Peace theater performance, folk music by Stephen Longfellow Fiske, the funky sounds of Superbroke, “cabaret gypsy” belly dancing with Freya and a fundamentals of yoga program.
Poster art for this year’s festival was designed by artist Earl Newman, who gained acclaim designing posters for the Monterey Jazz Festival. Originally from Massachusetts, Newman came to Venice in 1960. He’s been designing the posters for the Monterey Jazz Festival since 1963. The Smithsonian Institute keeps a complete collection of these posters by Newman, who currently lives on a farm in Oregon.
Vendors at the festival include many local merchants who design and sell handcrafted goods such as A Stone Original, Bohemian Baby and Gorgeous GoddessWear; and non- profit groups, including the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union, Aidswalk LA and Ballona Wetlands Land Trust.
Local Abbot Kinney Boulevard businesses have organized their own mini-events in conjunction with the festival.
Robin’s Sculpture Garden will feature a display of artwork by Venice artist Robin Munez and promises a “psychedelic sanctuary” just steps from the crowds on Abbot Kinney Boulevard. Film screenings and performers picked by Eric Vollmer’s Voice in the Well Productions will also be part of the festivities.
This year’s festival celebrates 101 years of community in Venice, which was incorporated as a city in 1905 by real estate developer Abbot Kinney, who envisioned a carnivalesque “Venice-of-America” based on Venice, Italy. In 1925, Venice lost its cityhood when it was annexed by the City of Los Angeles.
Organizers estimate that about 50,000 visitors will walk through during the course of the day. The stretch of Abbot Kinney Boulevard will be closed to traffic during festival hours.
A shuttle bus will be available for those parking in public lots on the stretch of Venice Boulevard west of Abbot Kinney Boulevard.
Proceeds from the Abbot Kinney Festival are used to support the beautification of Venice and its community youth programs.
Information, (310) 396-3772.