Hundreds gather for food, art and culture in Leimert Park during Labor Day weekend.
The sounds of jazz, blues, reggae, r&b, neo soul, spoken word and comedy along with smells of different types of food filled Leimert Park this past Labor Day Weekend as hundreds came out to the 7th annual Leimert Park Village Festival.
With just over 100 vendors and 27 performers, this three-day event had something for every generation. The vendors had everything from fine African arts and crafts to hair, health and beauty.
“I’m enjoying seeing all of the vendors and musicians, the natural hair show, just everything out here Black and cultural,” said Camille Smith.
The vendors weren’t the only ones who brought their uniqueness to this event that stemmed from the African marketplace. The performers were a talented bunch who brought together a show like none other. Most of the talent grew up right here in Los Angeles, and had been performing in Leimert Park for decades.
“If you want something refreshing, if you want to get to know what’s going on in the Black independent movement of music and you want to know about some new wonderful shops that African Americans need to know about and need to commemorate and come and represent for, this is the festival to do that at,” said Medusa, who grew up here in Los Angeles and has been performing at this event for the last six year. “This is the festival to find out what’s going on in your community.”
Art spread through park down to Degnan and 43rd. Walking through, there were so many different sculptures, paintings, clothing and more. There were also plenty of natural hair-care tents with bags and bags of samples.
“There’s excellent music, excellent food and an excellent choice in fine arts,” said performer and Los Angeles native Nedra Wheeler. “And when I say fine arts, it’s not just what you buy at a commercial place, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but here, it’s personal. You’re going to get something unique and something special.
Most attributed this festival’s uniqueness to its sense of community. Performer Beau Williams said that it feels like a family whenever he comes out, while performer Taalam Acey described the event as colorful and warm. Some of the other words used to describe it were organic, vibrant and spiritual.
“It’s a great way to interact with the community and look at all the different kinds of art and culture and it just has sort of a community feel, with good food and music and people,” said Dr. Weddell Herron who’s been coming since it was the African Marketplace.
Every year, the festival gets bigger. This year, it was expanded to Degnan and 43rd Place and an empowerment section was added with its own stage.
“For someone who’s not here, I will let you know that you really missed out,” said Blanche Octave who comes out every year. “I mean this year is super dynamic. They have so many different kinds of products here and the weather is nice.”
Next year, the festival plans to expand to five city blocks. As the festival grows however, it will always stay true to its community feel.
“This is an event that promotes commerce, culture and community. It’s a free event and everyone seems to say that it has a really nice spirit to it,” said Amaechina Doreen, a cofounder and producer of the festival. “We do need more sponsorship dollars because next year we’re going to be expanding probably to five city blocks, so we need multiple stages and more security.”
To find out how you can get involved, visit leimertparkfestival.blogspot.com or call (323) 596 – 0955.