While music lovers of all colors and creeds have been jamming out at Downtown Long Beach’s annual Summer and Music concert series all summer, the event to end all will be taking place August 19. Buskerfest, a six-hour music festival featuring 11 undiscovered bands playing (mostly) unplugged versions of their sets. The goal is to win your hearts and the wooden nickels given to participants who are allowed to bestow them on the band they think are the best at what they do, each wooden nickel equals one vote. The event is a chance for local musicians to showcase their talent and hopefully take their career to the next level. Each band hopes to collect as many wooden nickels for their performance as possible. A wooden nickel equals one vote for that band to win, which results in free studio time along with other prizes.
This year boasts four headliners and seven competitors. Everything from indie pop to punk to solo artists, the lineup will keep its audience dancing in the streets of DTLB all night long.
One of the four headliners is LA quartet Milo Greene. The band self-identifies as “cinematic indie-pop,” based on the fact that they originally designed their music to be used onscreen. They’ll be performing music from their “mini-album,” the Never Ender EP, which has a feel-good sound and an array of instruments. They'll also be joined by fellow headliners WARGIRL, Joachim Cooder, and Bob Forrest and Mike Martt of the Thelonious Monster.
But the real fun will be watching the local LBC talent strum, stomp and sing their hearts out for you this weekend. Here's a cheat sheet on what to expect from each band.
This acoustic artist from Long Beach Malcolm Williams describes his sound as him being “honest without sugar-coating the dark parts.” His acoustic songs display what he’s been through to make him the artist he is today.
The Snake Oil Salesmen
This trio aren’t afraid to use a wide variety of instruments to flesh out their Americana sound. Combining a history of genres that consists of the blues, country, jazz, Americana, and rock ‘n’ roll, the band performs covers as well as originals, bringing forth an original sound accompanied by instruments ranging from guitar to the banjo to upright bass.
This talented quartet from Long Beach is self-described as indie-post-punk. The band “strives to take their listeners to an emotional breaking point,” and uses the electric guitar to convey more meaning that lyrics ever could.
Big Bad Rooster
BBR has been touring Orange County and LA County all summer with their bluegrass/folk beat. The band likes to perform about “modern life and contemporary struggles” while also encouraging listeners to whisked away by the classic American music.
This act is the brainchild of Kevin Litrow, a Los Angeles native who creates sound synthetically using a combination of beat boxing, drum machines, and more. His sound encourages dialogue—it causes listeners to either ponder their entire life purpose or dance the night away.
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The female-led troupe leans more towards a slower, smoother sound. They are self-described as electronica, pop, and soul jazz. Made up of four Long Beach natives, the band is made for performance. They use their variety of instruments and soulful music to engage the audience and leave them wanting more.
For years, this has honed a spaghetti western rock n roll vibe that aims to “outnova the Mexican daytime soaps.” Their sound is energetic, emotive rock loaded with drama and passion. Purely listening to the band doesn’t do it justice—this is a sound that is meant to be seen as well as heard.