Young the Giant deejay set headlines an expanded Venice Block Party at Oakwood Park
By Brian Marks
Despite all the vibrant goings-on that characterize Los Angeles’ Westside, there can often be a dearth of exciting live music.
The 2332 Collective, an organization that formed specifically to bring new live music experiences to the Westside, is partnering with Winston House to fill that absence with Sam Jam, the fourth annual Venice Block Party. Venice-based indie rock band Young the Giant headlines Sunday’s party with a deejay set, spinning some of their favorite dance tunes.
All of the festival’s proceeds benefit Inner-City Arts, an L.A.-based nonprofit that fosters creativity through visual and performing arts opportunities for at-risk youth.
Winston House, founded in 2015, is perhaps best known for a weekly showcase in its loft on Electric Avenue in Venice. The invitation-only shows have featured acts ranging from niche indie musicians to massively successful pop performers like Ed Sheeran and Janelle Monáe.
This year’s Sam Jam has upgraded in size, moving to Venice’s Oakwood Park from last year’s more modest Boccaccio Avenue pop-up location. Having a larger space has allowed organizers to increase the number of non-musical attractions at the mini-festival.
“We view Oakwood Park, because of its ideal location, as a spot we’re going to be able to grow into over the next few years,” says Winston House founder Corey McGuire. “People spending time together and getting to know their neighbors is really important, so I’m glad this is an opportunity for that.”
Although music is at the heart of the eight-hour event, visual artists are adding a splash of color to the festival with live painting and interactive works. Last year’s party was an adults-only affair, but this year’s event is open to all ages and features a games area with outdoor summer staples like cornhole and bocce, plus a new kids area with a playground for younger visitors. Expect plenty of food trucks as well, and a biergarten-style area offering libations for thirsty attendees.
Young the Giant has previously shown its connection to and affection for the Westside, organizing a beach cleanup in Santa Monica back in January.
Unlike last year’s electronic-leaning lineup, this year’s festival is peppered with more traditional live performances, including “Weight in Gold” singer-songwriter Gallant, German-born soul man NoMBe, alternative pop duo XYLO and Beyoncé guitarist Francesca Simone doing a solo set. Electronic musician Emmit Fenn’s graceful ambient tracks offer a bit of a cool down from some of the day’s more fiery acts.
Though the 2332 Collective and Winston House are responsible for organizing the Sam Jam festival, its success depends on the participation of local community members.
“A lot of people are coming together to give their time and volunteer,” says 2332 Collective’s Blake Caldwell. “This wouldn’t happen without that community nature, and it’s really awesome to see how many people are excited to be a part of this.”
Sam Jam, the fourth annual Venice Block Party, happens from noon to 8 p.m. Sunday (July 1) in Oakwood Park, 767 Oakwood Ave., Venice. General admission tickets are $40, but early bird discounted tickets are available at link.dice.fm/samjam.