First published in the May 6 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
Elliott Caine was mingling with listeners, shaking hands and exchanging kind words after his band, the Elliott Caine Quartet, had finished its set.
Caine, a South Pasadena resident, has performed at nearly every annual South Pasadena Eclectic Music Festival and arts crawl, but he hadn’t had the opportunity in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though he’s able to converse with fans after performances once again, he hopes his music does most of the talking.
“I don’t like to yak too much, but hopefully I can talk to them via my music,” Caine said. “The music is the main messenger.”
Sixty-five musicians across 13 stages shared their message through an array of music at The Eclectic on Saturday, April 30, the 12th year the festival has taken to the city’s streets. While the Elliott Caine Quartet featured jazz influenced by the ‘50s and ‘60s New York scene at the City of Hope Central Stage, Rooted Band’s preteen performers blasted indie pop and rock near the Gold Line.
On top of the music festival, hosted by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Artisans’ Alley featured more than 40 vendors with handmade items and Vintage Village flooded the area surrounding the Gold Line with stylish second-hand clothing.
Music played from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m., but crowds had started to gather even before the first act hit the stage.
“It’s great to see all these people out,” Kris Morrish, a Chamber of Commerce board member and volunteer said. “There’s more people out early than there used to be because I think everybody’s looking for something to do and listen to some live music, which none of us have done in years.”
Streets were closed so audiences could walk freely and hear musicians perform at signature South Pasadena businesses and locations such as Dinosaur Farm, Old Focals, Canoe House and the South Pasadena Public Library. It was all free and open to the public, and musicians were paid with money raised by the Chamber.
“There’s a remarkable number of musicians in our community and our surrounding community,” Morrish said. “Some have come from very far away to play, but most of them are local.”
Laurie Wheeler, executive director of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, said estimates indicate more than 10,000 people attended the festival.
“It was certainly a success as far as businesses were concerned,” she said. “Restaurants were so slammed they couldn’t take any more reservations. It was also a record in terms of the people who visited the South Pasadena Museum, near the Gold Line station.”
As music festival season rolls on through Southern California’s springtime, The Eclectic has played a part in giving people artistic experiences and musical interactions they haven’t had in a long time.
“(My music) is really relating to how I feel about life and if people can relate to that, I’ve hopefully done something positive,” Caine said. “It’s a way of communicating with other human beings. For the last couple of years, that’s been not happening. And so, it’s a flowering.”
Musicians performed sets on 13 different stages around central South Pasadena, while local entrepreneurs and food vendors sold their wares.
The Eclectic is organized and produced by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with DeepMix Entertainment and the city of South Pasadena.
The Eclectic is a signature event for the city, featuring dozens of diverse, local and regional musical acts, one-of-a-kind artisans and makers, interactive activities, open galleries, beer and wine gardens, and family-friendly fun.
This year’s event featured 65 musicians on various stages and intimate venues scattered throughout the city.
The Artisans’ Alley was a curated outdoor marketplace featuring unique, handmade and vintage items. South Pas Vintage Village, new in 2022, brought an eclectic array of vintage sellers to South Pasadena. More than 20 local businesses participated with special activities inside or out front of their stores.
The Eclectic is supported by Eclectic Friends of the Arts, a collaborative effort by organizations including Friends of the South Pasadena Library and South Pasadena Arts Council.