It is the premier festival event of Northeast Los Angeles, and since its inception in 2006, it has become a touchstone in the area’s vibrant culture and calendar. The seventh annual Lummis Day Festival returns this Sunday, June 3.
The event began somewhat modestly in 2006 on a blistering June afternoon, as a couple thousand people jammed Sycamore Grove Park to see a host of local artists led by singer/songwriter Severin Browne. In 2008, his brother, singer/songwriter Jackson Browne, returned to his old neighborhood to play his first show ever in Northeast LA.
Since then the event has taken several forms and moved to a new location, yet the main message has been constant—a celebration of the man who invented the idea of multi-culturalism, Charles Lummis. Much like the poetry and music events he staged at his own home, El Alisal, each year’s event highlights the best of local poetry, music and dance.
Drawing on the energy of just a score of residents who form the event’s board, the Lummis Day event has weathered the usual funding crises, logistical challenges and political tightropes to become a signature event for the area, drawing families and hipsters in equal numbers.
Lummis Day’s music and dance performances will again be located at Heritage Square Museum (3800 Homer Street), where the best of home-grown Northeast L.A. music, dance, food and community resources will be presented amid the historic homes and buildings there. This year’s music includes salsa, tex-mex, rock, hip-hop, Indian raga and country. Dance groups will present material representing Irish step dance, modern dance, Brazilian capoeira, rumba and more.
Some of the historic buildings at Heritage Square Museum will also be available to festival-goers via docent-led tours.
The two-part Festival’s opening morning event will take place at Lummis Home (200 East Avenue 43), where the day begins at 10:30 a.m. with readings by critically acclaimed poets, along with music, art exhibits and refreshments. The art exhibit will continue at Lummis Home until 5 p.m. while performances—music, dance—and community activities shift to nearby Heritage Square Museum, beginning at 12:30pm. Visitors to Lummis Home can enjoy the interior of the century-old home, influenced by mission architecture and the dwellings of the Pueblo Indians, and can stroll through the beautiful native plant gardens that surround the building.
The multi-site Festival, one of L.A.’s most significant cultural events, runs from 10:30am-7 p.m. Full Lummis Day performance info, schedule and parking information is available at www.lummisday.org. All of the Lummis Day events are free.