Echo Park, a hotbed for artistic souls and lovers of creativity, drew in a massive crowd for the recent Echo Park Rising music festival. People from all over Los Angeles gathered in this small “hipster” community to indulge in talented (and free!) local music. Every establishment on Sunset, from Alvarado to Echo Park Ave., hosted a myriad of artists, and every person in attendance came away from the event with free entertainment and a sense of community.

Though the heat kept many at bay, die-hard local music aficionados came out to experience the day-long festival. Luckily, many of the venues were indoors, as popular performance spaces like The Echo and Origami Vinyl opened their doors to anyone interested in entering. This smorgasbord of musical options allowed fans of any genre to enjoy the day.

Rap and techo poured from the DJ booths strategically placed along the street and in the Iam8bit Gallery. Indie rock bands perched on the loft of Origami Vinyl, punk rock spewed from The Echo, and random street performances popped up throughout the day. Without much of an agenda, I let myself wander the streets and stepped into any venue that caught my ear. My first stop was Origami Vinyl to hear the band Line and Circle.

Line and Circle has a wonderfully mellow sound that just lets you sink into the moment and enjoy. I was able to catch the tail end of their set, which had Origami filled, with a spillover of people standing outside looking in. Their song “Roman Ruins,” off the album White Iris Presents, feels a little like The Cure meets Walk the Moon, but Line and Circle’s melodic and catchy tune appeals to a wide range of music lovers. The band has a melancholy sensibility that pulls at your emotional register without forcing it out, and they started my experience at Echo Park Rising off right.

The next venue I hit was The Echo to check out Manhattan Murder Mystery. They attracted a large crowd, and their punk style was akin to that of The Ramones, a less heavy punk sound. The song “Stadium Way” off of their self-titled album combines an upbeat rhythm, complete with harmonica, and melodramatic lyrics fitting for the punk genre.

The Record Company performed next in the Taix Champaign Room. The space provided a unique ambiance to the performance as it was decorated like the living room of your old great aunt from France, complete with pastoral paintings and vintage carpeting. The Record Company, a bluesy rock band, took this space and completely filled it with the most visceral notes that got the entire crowd singing along. The band kept the performance relaxed, cold beers in hand.

I made my way back to the Taix outdoor stage where I caught the last fleeting sound of No playing their final song. From the bit I heard, the band sounded together, harmonious, and smooth. I wish I could have heard more of their set. 

Youngblood Hawke took the stage shortly after and gave the crowd an electric performance. Each song incorporated a drum break, drawing the audience closer to the music. By the last song, every member of the five member band — six members in the touring band — had drums to hit and a great rhythm to produce. The band performed their hit song “We Come Running” among their other equally catchy songs and solidified their place in the indie-rock/pop world.

Echo Park Rising provided an outlet for musicians and music lovers alike to come together and enjoy. No agenda. No pretense. Just good music.

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Echo Park Rising