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MainFest Alhambra

On September 10, 2015, Downtown Alhambra played host to the inaugural music festival MainFest. The idea for the festival was borne from the mind of an Alhambra native, Joanna Vargas. A local business woman, Joanna’s passion for music led her to bring the city a concert experience featuring her favorite bands and to really give Alhambra a flagship community event to be proud of.

“I was born and raised in Alhambra,” Vargas said. “I love the city, so I really wanted to give back, and I think something of this nature will be unlike anything we’ve ever offered for our residents.” (Quote from the Pasadena Star News)

With over 40 different musical acts in its line-up, this festival was an ambitious endeavor. For a city with a population of approximately 85,000, it fills a void in the community. With Downtown Alhambra’s Summer Jubilee concert series and Taste of Alhambra ceasing to be held since 2007 and 2014 respectively, there was definitely room for a new high profile event to bring commerce and vibrancy to its streets.

MainFest is well on its way.

The festival felt very well organized. With security clearly visible and roaming the grounds directing foot traffic, the order on Main Street seemed very secure. As anticipated, attendance slowly increased as the day went on, but even when capacity reached its zenith, the festival grounds never felt too crowded or claustrophobic. Local eateries located on the strip surely benefited from the increased foot traffic, and I’m pretty sure that they won’t be raising any objections when future permits are applied for.

However, this being the festival’s first year in existence, there were clearly some growing pains that I noticed. Early afternoon attendance felt particularly light, which was expected, but I felt that the festival, which is supposed to cater to the local community, could have benefited with more of a family presence. Perhaps the price of admission of $30 – $60 per ticket may have played a part in dissuading families from attending (especially with other better established, city-sponsored music festivals being free). If children under a certain age were admitted for free, and there were more family friendly activities to partake in, that surely could have attracted more parents to attend with their children earlier in the day.

Also, while the Lagunita’s sponsored beer garden was positioned in an ideal section of the audience where you could have a reasonably priced alcoholic drink and  watch the main stage performances, I noticed that the festival’s non-alcholic beverage stands seemed a bit overpriced. Taking a few extra moments to step into the Subway, I saved a few dollars on the waters and sodas that I purchased that day.

But the the main focus of the festival is, obviously, the music. Curated by Spaceland Presents, the lineup featured Capital Cities as its headliner, and a plethora of international and domestic, established and up and coming, recording artists. There were several side stages which were located inside local busineses, but we only had the time to focus on the bands that took the main stage on this day. For next year, I would suggest that there be at least one other outdoor stage playing on an adjacent street. That way, as I’m wandering the festival grounds, there is the possibility that I hear the sounds of another band playing that possibly piques my interest for me to check out. Playing inside local businesses, while convenient, lessen the probability of musical discovery.

Below, you will find links to the thoughts and photo galleries of each of the Main Stage artists, so please feel free to click on through to check them out! Hopefully, next year’s MainFest is equally as impressive.

Follow MainFest Alhambra on FacebookTwitter & Instagram to stay updated for next year’s event!

Venice Beach’s Too Bad Kicked Off MainFest Alhambra

Marc Baker Brought The Charisma at MainFest Alhambra

SWIMM Gave Me Chills at MainFest Alhambra

Thee Commons Rocked at MainFest Alhambra

Dead Sara Rocks MainFest Alhambra To Life

Dâm-Funk & Nite Jewel Bring Nite-Funk to MainFest Alhambra

!!!’s [ChkChkChk’s] Disco Funks Gets The Party Started At MainFest Alhambra