Broke LA

Do you like music? Art? Food? Comedy? What about puppies? The one-day Broke LA festival, formerly known as “Brokechella” offered all of the above. Taking place during the Coachella Weekend #2, the first “Brokechella” event was hosted 6 years ago in service to showcasing a sea of local bands at a non-Coachella price. This year was my first time attending Broke LA, and for the $20 admission, it totally over-delivered.

The venue, Imperial Art Studios, located in the Arts District just east of Downtown Los Angeles offered ample space to accommodate an intimate yet large scale festival. I arrived about an hour after the doors opened, and was pleasantly greeted with no lines, friendly volunteer staff, a free drink ticket (as promised to the first 500 attendees), and a couple of boxes of Pocky…yeah, the delightful Japanese snack.

Since there were only three bands in the lineup that I was familiar with, Vinyl Williams, DWNTWN, and Alina Bea, I was looking forward to walking around aimlessly to hit all four of the spaced out stages. The outdoor main “Cartel” stage featured various rock bands—it was here where I stayed and enjoyed the music the most. Some of my favorite acts appearing on that stage included the female fronted, The XX inspired electro-pop group, Yassou, and the energetic Indie-pop band DWNTWN. From the shoegaze noise-rock Tennis System to the demonic electronic performance inducing a keyboard-shattering exit off stage, many genres were showcased just at the outdoor Cartel stage.

The indoor “Brownies and Lemonade” and “Shifty-Rhythms” stages offered EDM and Hip-Hop performances, respectively, and the far off “Cartel Indoor Stage” featured additional rock and eclectic bands.

In addition to the music, dog adoption agency, “Bark LA” offered puppies a new home, or just some love and attention. Food trucks were well represented as well, with big names like CoolHaus and Miche-Mobil on the lot.

Overall, the festival had a very welcoming, hippy-pyschedelic feel, as my friend and I enjoyed wandering through the neon art, scoping out the glitter table, and making new friends all the while finding new music to dive into.

Here’s a list of what “worked” in this festival:

  1. Space! No stage or one area ever felt too crowded. Unless you were waiting in line to hold a puppy or for a specific hip food truck, anything you desired could be acheived right away.
  2. The Vibe. Lots of friendly festival staff around, from open to close, and outgoing people as well.
  3. Activities! Pet a puppy, listen to music, look at art, take a free photo, there was no lack of activities and never did I once feel bored.
  4. Prices. $20 to get in, and only $5 for beers! With one free beer and some pocky thrown in there–what a steal!

And a couple of things that could improve the festival:

  1. Line-Up Displays. Post it up on the main stage, hand out a flyer, etc. There where times I had no idea who was playing, and if the band didn’t share their name, I was at a loss.
  2. Offer cider for the gluten intolerant 🙂

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