The 11th annual Eclectic Music and Arts festival coming up in a couple weeks is going to offer for the first time ever a special VIP Zone. Photo by Harry Yadev

The 11th annual Eclectic Music Festival and Arts Crawl in a few weeks is introducing a new VIP Zone for the first time that will allow patrons to experience the fete in a way similar to having a backstage pass at a rock concert.

The festival, scheduled from about 3 to 10 p.m. Saturday, April 27, will feature the Grammy-nominated Gin Blossoms along with about 50 musical entertainers appearing on a dozen stages in the middle of a variety of artisans, food trucks, and more, according to festival officials. The festival attracts between 10,000 and 12,000 people throughout the afternoon and the evening.

But it’s the VIP Zone that officials hope will attract people seeking a more special experience, they say.

“Everyone who attends the festival is a Very Important Person (VIP) to us, and those interested in purchasing a special access ticket for our new VIP Zone will be supporting us with additional revenue to help cover our festival costs,” Laurie Wheeler, President & CEO of the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, which produces the festival, said in a prepared statement. “This is another way that people can enjoy what’s become arguably one of the biggest events in South Pasadena.”

Tickets to the VIP Zone will allow access to a private reserved area at the corner of Mission Street and Fairview Street, in a location central to various stages and the Artisans Alley, according to a press release announcing the new VIP Zone. Ticketholders will receive wristbands enabling them to come and go from the reserved area throughout the festival that runs 3 to 10 p.m. The special area will feature cocktail tables and chairs as well as bright orange Eclectic Music Festival goodie bags with tickets for beer and wine, among other gift items.

The Eclectic is produced by the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with DeepMix Entertainment as well as the City of South Pasadena. The festival is a collaboration with local organizations including Friends of the South Pasadena Library, South Pasadena Music Center & Conservatory, and SPARC – South Pasadena Arts Council. Donations to The Eclectic Friends of the Arts in South Pasadena, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, help keep the festival free.

Last week, the Eclectic organizers had their annual preview fundraising gathering at the Arroyo Seco Golf Course. There were silent and live auctions and the unveiling of the 2019 Eclectic Poster. The auctions, along with ticket sales, brought in an estimated $7,000, according to Wheeler.

“We are so grateful to the community-friends who came to talk up the festival while raising funds that help us keep The Eclectic Music Festival and Arts Crawl free of charge for everyone who comes,” Wheeler said. “We look forward to another great family friendly festival this year, with an expanded area for music and art.”

The festival costs about $100,000 to put on, according to organizers, not including fees that are waived or other expenses known as “soft costs.”

The Eclectic Music and Arts Crawl in a couple weeks is offering a VIP Zone for the first-time ever in the 11-year history of the event. Photo by Steve Whitmore

The Eclectic pays for all the entertainment and derives funds from several sources including the business improvement tax (BIT), chamber trustees, beer and wine sales, sponsors and grants.

“The use of the BIT funds is restricted to certain activities, basically to provide music and public events and the general promotion of retail trade activities in the area,” Wheeler said in an earlier interview. “The chamber has utilized some of these funds to create events that bring people to town, among them are the Arts Crawls and, of course, The Eclectic. Of course, the Eclectic has evolved into arguably the largest event in the city.”

The result is the music fete has become the last free music festival in the San Gabriel Valley of its size featuring name acts like the Gin Blossoms or last year’s headliner, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

The Gin Blossoms fusion of melodic rock, pop, folk and country elements has helped pave the way for the modern rock ‘n’ roll of today, according to Eclectic organizers.

Brad Colerick, Eclectic music director, has said this year’s line-up is the best ever.

“I am excited about this year’s festival,” Colerick said during previous interviews. “It’s our 11th year and we keep growing and growing. This year the lineup is going to feature about 50 acts. We are going to have several stages again and this year we are planning on shutting down Mission Street from the Gold Line all the way to Fair Oaks Avenue. It’s going to be huge.”

As an example, Colerick has shared with The Review the musical line-up so far.

The Main stage, at the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Mission Street, will feature the Gin Blossoms along with Dustbowl Revival, Incendio, and the perennial favorite, South Pasadena Transit Authority.

As mentioned earlier, Mission Street will be closed from Meridian Avenue to Fair Oaks Avenue this year and The Mission East stage near Fair Oaks Pharmacy will spotlight The Main Squeeze, Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, plus The Drive and Total Recall (featuring Tim Jones, owner of the South Pasadena Music Center). 

Luciana Souza will headline the Library’s Carnegie stage along with Julia Vari and the David Plenn Band. The new Mamma’s Brick Oven location will have a stage to showcase Raye Zaragoza, Gurf Morlix, Jude Johnstone, and Joel Rafael. There will be a couple of Dublab DJ/Electronic artists, Callie Ryan and Crudo, at the Mission Tile stage. And the South Pasadena Theatre Workshop will have jazz bands, the Elliott Caine Quintet, the Dave Tull Trio, and Mark Hatch & Group 5. Other stages will be announced soon.

“This is truly an exciting time of year for us,” Colerick said. “South Pasadena is such a unique community with a diverse population and strong support for the arts. This festival is a highlight for So Pas that features so many other fine artistic endeavors sponsored by community groups and the city throughout the year. Yes, it’s about the music, the art exhibits, the films. But it’s also about our city, South Pasadena: the best place.”

The Eclectic’s full line-up is currently being confirmed, please check the festival website (www.TheEclectic.Rocks) for the latest updates.

Steve Whitmore
Author

Steve Whitmore is the editor for the South Pasadena Review. Steve has spent more than four decades as an award-winning print and broadcast journalist with a 16-year stint as the senior media advisor for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. Steve comes to us from the Keene Sentinel in Keene, New Hampshire, where he covered politics and was a columnist.

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