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Make Music Pasadena fest celebrates its ninth year of free music

Foggy weather and scattered showers did not stop 50,000 concert goers from descending upon the 2016 Make Music Pasadena music festival on Saturday June 11.

Deemed the largest free music festival on the West Coast, Make Music Pasadena showcased over 150 bands on 30 stages set up throughout Old Town Pasadena. The daylong festival, which acts as a summer staple for many Southern Californians, featured a variety of acts including Australian alternative brother duo Atlas Genius, Calabasas’s very own folk rock band The Mowgli’s, and Brooklyn based synthpop group Small Black.

Make Music Pasadena Video Compilation

With stages and music spots set up at what seemed like every street corner, one could not help but feel immersed in the indie music scene. Those strolling past Urth Caffé were met with the sound of Evol Walks singing “Highway to Hell” on the nearby Playhouse District stage. Bibliophiles at Vroman’s Bookstore traced the aisles while Kira and the Major 3 played Roxy Music covers outside the main entrance. Shoppers and movie goers paused at Paseo Colorado to hear The Fontaines deliver a retro new-wop set in the heart of the mall. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. anyone who happened upon the crowded Pasadena streets was blessed with a serenade of live, continuous music.

For the most part, stages were organized according to the different genres. The main stage on Colorado Boulevard consisted primarily of alternative and electronic acts. Folk, country, and Americana groups played on the Raymond Avenue stage across from Dog Haus. The jazz stage in front of Vroman’s featured a mix of Bossa nova, contemporary, and fusion jazz. As a result, concert goers were rewarded with new sounds each time they hopped locations.

Almost as diverse as the acts were the attendees themselves. Music fans of all ages were welcomed to the event; thus it came as no surprise to see groups of teenage fangirls dancing alongside dads with strollers. Though Southern California’s June Gloom prevented ample sunshine, concert goers embraced the weather and danced or sang their hearts out regardless of rain. Overall, the festival atmosphere felt safe and inviting, reinforcing the sense of community that thrives during local indie events like this one.

Modeled after the Fête de la Musique in Paris, Make Music Pasadena’s goal is to celebrate the love of music in a way that is free and accessible for everyone. Already in its ninth year of operation, the festival has succeeded greatly in its mission and will continue to leave its mark on the Southern California music scene for years to come.

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