Bay Area– This Labor Day weekend was a great weekend for music in the Bay Area! The weekend consisted of 3 different music festivals rooted in the appreciation of music and community. The first annual Cukui Music Festival kicked off the weekend festivities on September 3rd at the Redwood Amphitheater of California’s Great America. In Oakland, Hiero Day brought in over 40 artists, DJs and hosts to their 5th annual urban music festival. San Jose wasn’t left behind either with the inaugural of Sonido Clash Music and Mezcal Festival providing a space for the Latin Alternative aficionado and community. And that’s where I found myself at this year’s Labor Day weekend.
The venue for the festival was the beautiful School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza. Three different stages showcased an array of DJs, local artist and poets, and different styles Latin Alternative music. The DJ stage couldn’t have been any more perfect by achieving a Vegas feel without having to leave the comforts of San Jose. Both the local Sonido Clash Residentes and the guest DJs helped provide the dance ambiente of the festival. The set was in the middle of the water fountain next to the school’s garden. And if you need a break from the dancing and other festival activities, the poetry stage, sponsored by the Poetry Center of San Jose, was a short walk away. This was my first time witnessing and experiencing poetry in a music festival. Personally, I felt that the poetry stage helped foster a sense of community at the festival and it was a great way to have the community involved in the arts and to support local events and artists.
The festival’s lineup boasted an eclectic mix of Latin Alternative artist that showcased different aspects of the genre. La Diabla played cumbia, Thee Commons had a unique garage rock/ cumbia sound, Bang Data specialized in hip hop / rock music, and Los Rakas provide a mixture of dancehall, reggae, and hip hop of the genre, Latin Alternative. Although the crowd was rather small, the festival spirit was present among the crowd.
Photography and Story by: Ruben Casas