Downtown Santa Ana was swarmed with people from all over Orange County last Saturday for the 3rd annual East End Block Party, the yearly cultural stew that hosts music, art and food in East End Santa Ana. The all-day crawl spanned four blocks, from 3rd and Bush st. to 5th and French, and boasted 7 music stages, an 80 car show, a plethora of eats and tons of vendors for art, crafts and clothes.
The slightly overcast weather ensured with great fortune that no one was sunburned while walking around all day. Beat Swap Meet, the traveling vinyl trading event, kicked off the first day of its week long 8 year anniversary with dozens of invited record collectors, private dealers, vinyl shops and labels. There were plenty of crates to dive into and dig through, full of all kinds of different genres. From Funk to Ska, Blues to New Wave, and everything in between. There was even a floor set up for breakdancing. (People too close to the stage got heavily served.)
No block party would be anything without a hefty selection of live music, and as always the East End delivered in strides. The Konsept stage on Spurgeon and 4th presented an array of DJ’s and hip-hop acts. Apollo Bebop came on and played a unique brand of jazz/hip-hop fusion. Just Chill kept the vibe cheerful with a healthy dose of reggae standards. Meanwhile, a cavalcade of punk bands filled the Top Acid and OCML stages, keeping the energy of the event at a consistent high.
Red Wizard, Black Wolf, Beach Bums, Playboy Manbaby, Bristol to Memory, and The Alienated were just a few of the ample supply of raucous groups to grace the four rock stages, building to the headlining performances of The Gears and (ex-Minutemen) Mike Watt and the Missingmen. The whole area was so congested with performers that there were even bands playing in the alley behind American Barbershop.
At the heart of everything was the 4th street market, Downtown Santa Ana’s progressive culinary hub, featuring 15 different vendors and a considerable amount of seating area. It supplied the patrons of Downtown Santa Ana with an assortment of amazing foods, as well as a wafting blanket of free smells over the area. By the end of the day, we were overwhelmingly intoxicated from the food and entertainment…Oh yeah and from all the beer.