From left, Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sam Hernandez, Chamber president and CEO Laurie Wheeler; So Pas Mayor Dr. Marina Khubesrian; So Pas City Manager Stephanie DeWolfe and Gin Blossoms lead singer Robin Wilson.

Scores of people jammed the cordoned-off streets in downtown South Pasadena Saturday night for the 11th annual Eclectic Music and Arts Crawl Festival as the Gin Blossoms regaled the people crowding the main stage.

The warm evening was being enjoyed by festival-goers including kids of all ages when a minor squabble involving three or four people erupted in front of the  restaurant, Radhika Modern Indian at 966 Mission St., which momentarily upset the night’s tranquility.

Apparently a small group of people got into a “minor scuffle” at around 7:30 p.m. for an unknown reason in front of Radhika, police said. One person was arrested for battery and the incident is under investigation. No one was medically transported and all were treated and released at the scene, according to fire officials. One eyewitness said a man suffered what appeared to be a black eye.

Meanwhile, the Gin Blossoms took to the West Stage at just after 8:30 p.m. to an enthusiastic crowd.

Lead singer Robin Wilson, who has been with the Arizona band since the beginning, 31 years, said he was excited to play the Eclectic in South Pasadena.

“The ride over here I was noticing how nice South Pasadena is,” he said before taking the stage. “It’s a great feeling to play live and people respond to songs I wrote in my bedroom years ago. There’s nothing like it.” The West Stage, considered the festival’s main stage situated in the center on Mission Street, also featured the Eclectic mainstay, South Pasadena Transit Authority, which has played all 11 festivals; Incendio; Dustbowl Revival; and the Gin Blossoms.

Laurie Wheeler, president and CEO of the So Pas Chamber of Commerce, said the festival was going smoothly and she would be evaluating the attendance numbers over the next few days.

The festival in past years has attracted upwards to 12,000 people, officials have said.

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

Throughout South Pasadena, on several stages and venues, many of the musicians are local flavors, suchThe David Plenn Band, who performed on the Library Carnegie Stage to a standing-room only crowd. The Plenn band received a standing ovation and even played an encore.

Little Silver Hearts appeared at the Mission Tile West Stage, and Tisa Adamson,  sang at Simplee Boba. The Gold Line Stage had a lineup that includes the Elliott Caine Quintet, Dot Cotton, Day Job and the Buzzrites, each of which includes familiar faces to South Pasadena. This is just a small sampling of the musical acts that played the festival Saturday night.

The festival costs about $100,000 to put on, according to officials, and that doesn’t include the fees that are waived or other expenses knowns as “soft costs.”

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 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.

Brad Colerick, the event’s music director, said this year’s festival was a resounding success. He summed up his thoughts on the festival in an earlier interview.

“It’s our 11th year and we keep growing and growing,” he said. “This is truly an exciting time of year for us. 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. Don’t believe me, come see for yourself. You’ll see.”

Don’t miss the entire coverage of the Eclectic Music and Arts Crawl festival in the print edition of the South Pasadena Review with more interviews with Robin Wilson of the Gin Blossoms and festival-goers alike. You won’t want to miss it.

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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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