The fourth annual Venice Beach Music Fest will continue its tradition of celebrating music, art, and the eclectic Venice community during a festival at the west end of Windward Avenue Saturday and Sunday, August 8th and 9th.

The festival, scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. each day in the plaza just steps away from the Venice breakwater and Ocean Front Walk, is free and open to the public.

This is the first year that the festival will be held over two days and will include many musical acts and fine art on display.

All original music acts will be performing each day. Both days’ lineups will start with the winner of a contest to open the show.

The August 8th acts include the contest winner, and the bands The Hard Goodbye, Horny Toad, Steve Watts Band with special guest Michael Hinton (of Merl Saunders and the Rainforest Band), Meet Me at the Pub, and Looner. Looner is anchored by the husband-and-wife team of ZoÎ and Angel Roché, who has performed with Ziggy Marley, and is gaining national attention with the recent release of their single, “I Love My Tamagotchee.”

The August 9th acts include the second contest winner, and the bands String Theory, Splotch, Ninja Academy, SugarBitch and Golden Buddha.

The contest for the opening act each day is being held online at the festival’s official Web site,, and on the “Venice Beach Music Fest” fan page on Facebook. The MySpace and Facebook contests will run concurrently, and bands can compete for the opening slot by showing the most fan support on both sites.

The contest is open to all bands with a CD of original material. Music and videos from the performers and contestants are available on the MySpace site.

Many sponsors have made it possible for this event to remain free to the public, organizers say.