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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Pasadena Independent / ‘Pasadena Makes Music’ Draws Diverse Crowd Starting Summer

‘Pasadena Makes Music’ Draws Diverse Crowd Starting Summer

by Pasadena Independent
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-Photos by Trevor Stamp

Kishi Bashi, right, plays to a large crowd at the Old Pasadena Colorado Stage during Make Music Pasadena on June 6, 2015. The free, all-day event draws in thousands of music fans to see a diverse lineup of artists perform on stages spread acorss the city. Photo credit: Trevor Stamp

By Ea Nicole Madrigal


It’s that time of the year again in Pasadena. The weather is warmer, the breeze cools off the dry heat in the evenings, and musicians have taken over the streets. Make Music Pasadena 2015 just happened on Saturday, and thousands of people from all walks of life poured onto the streets and back alley ways of the legendary city.

For the last several years, Make Music Pasadena has stimulated the local music scene from various genres while simultaneously encouraging community outreach and the promotion of small businesses. According to the event’s website, Make Music Pasadena was modeled after a similar event that originally began in Paris in 1982 called Fête de la Musique. The efforts of that early event were to “celebrate music by making all genres accessible to the people and taking music to the streets.”

-Photos by Trevor Stamp

-Photos by Trevor Stamp

If you visited Make Music Pasadena on Saturday, you know very well that the event stays true to the original purpose. The annual event takes place at over 30 venues that cross 20 city blocks in Pasadena. With thousands in attendance each year, Make Music Pasadena is a truly democratic-esque musical event that caters to all people possessing varying tastes of musical genres for the cost of nothing (unless you want to include parking prices).

This year’s headliners included artists such as How to Dress Well, Sir Sly, Hundred Waters, and Kishi Bashi as well as local musical favorites such as the JPL Chorus and the Pasadena Symphony and POPS. However, it is often the artists who are not scheduled to grace main stages that can be the gems of the event.

I visited several of the local restaurants and bars where artists were featured as onlookers danced on small stages or sat on bar stools while enjoying a refreshment. I listened to everything from a young acoustic musician, to two different reggae bands, to a group of young, rock musicians playing covers of Muse, U2, and Katy Perry. These are the moments and the musicians that accentuate why Make Music Pasadena is so worthwhile each year.

However, for some, it goes without saying that this event has often been able to attract some better known names in the past to their main stages (which are often the biggest draw) than it proved to accomplish this year. Artists such as Youngblood Hawke, We Are Scientists, Grouplove, Best Coast, and Matt and Kim have graced the main stages in the past few years. I stopped to chat with a group of event attendees and several of them agreed that Make Music Pasadena could be an even more successful event if it was not free; perhaps then, better known artists might be attracted to come as headliners.

-Photos by Trevor Stamp

-Photos by Trevor Stamp

With that said, this same group of attendees pointed out that one of the most exciting parts of Make Music Pasadena is the “diversity.” As onlooker Jennifer Kent noted, Make Music Pasadena is a wonderful opportunity for the “Coachella crowd”, older patrons, people who live out of the city, and Pasadena locals to come together to enjoy different kinds of music.

Undoubtedly, each year Make Music Pasadena truly demonstrates just how binding music can be, bringing people together with the impact of sound and harmony. And now that this annual event is over, summer in Pasadena has officially begun.

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