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And We’ll Have a Grand ‘Ole Time: Free Concerts and Shows in DTLA

I am truly fortunate to live in Los Angeles, Ca. What’s more, I have the pleasure of living just a stone’s throw away from the downtown area. This is good for me because over the years this once desolate part of the city, has been revived with all new retail shopping, restaurants, and events. Speaking of events, the good thing about summertime in this city are the plethora of free concerts, shows, and entertainment to be had. If you know when and where to look, you can find plenty of entertainment for little or no cost.

One such place is the plaza now known as Figat7th, a bustling shopping center found in the heart of down town L.A. With the on set of warm weather, comes the pleasure of enjoying free music, the opportunity to meet great artists, and plenty of like minded individuals who you can share in conversation with.

A couple of weekends ago, I happen to make my way there, mostly on an errand to pick up a few necessities from Target – excuse me – City Target. But while I was there I noticed at the bottom level of the plaza came wafting through the air, the sound of music, so of course I had to make my way down. Taking a seat at the bar of City Tavern – a local eatery – I dined on savory oysters, sipped a glass of wine, and melded into the crowd. The event? Fusicology Fridays. A free and open public event that takes place every 3rd Friday of the month. It features listening parties, special guests, and an inviting, diverse atmosphere. That particular evening I happened upon a listening party for artist Bilal‘s new album. Needless to say, it was a pleasant surprise to what I thought was going to be just another quiet day.

But to add to the joy of the day, I got to make connections with wonderful people who not only share an appreciation for good music, but possess amazing style, and good energy. I was even most fortunate to introduce myself to the lovely woman heading that event, and many others at Figat7th, the lovely Ms. Patrice who was kind enough to encourage my returning the next day for their Saturday City Vibes – also free and open to the public. Being featured that Saturday was the lovely and talented artist, Res who performed live, and has a voice that is as breathtaking in person as it is on her albums.

Both Friday and Saturday’s shows are from 4pm to 8pm. For more information on these events and others please take a look at Figat7th Events page.

Now foodies this is for you. City Tavern happens to be prime territory for good seating while the shows are going on. With outdoor seating and large windows opening up to the plaza, you are bound to feel as if you are apart of the audience whether you sit outside or inside. There is seating at the bar, booths, raised tables, and even a lounge area with cozy, leather bound sofas to gather on as you and your friends unwind after a long work week. The food is classic bar favorites with culinary twists sure to please your tummy, and with a large beer tap selection, cocktails, and wines to choose from, there is quite literally something for everyone. I have come here on more than one occasion just to meet up with friends and have a casual drink in a inviting atmosphere.

However, the evening did not end there. By the urging of my new acquaintance and her entourage, I accompanied them to attend the evening’s concert at the California Plaza deep in the heart of downtown. Every Friday and Saturday (and some Sundays) free live concerts are held. Known collectively as Grand Performances, I have attended a few concerts in the past. This day was Wattstax Revisited, a tribute to the original Wattstax, a historic event held in 1972 and became an award winning film.The evening showcased a number of artists who covered classics while footage of the first Wattstax played in the background. Those with an appreciation for motown, classic R&B, and funk would have been right at home. The energy on stage was entrancing and permeated the crowd in their seats. Members of the audience, both old and young alike, were up on their feet dancing to their hearts content.

The night ended with not only me meeting new people, but with reconnecting with an old childhood friend, who just so happened to be the drummer that night. We have known each other since our junior high days, and seeing him in his natural element and getting to spend time with him after the show was the icing on the cake of an already amazing day.

Next, I’m looking forward to a live performance by the ever amazing Yuna later in the season. She performed last summer for the Grand Performances, and she is truly one of those rare and gifted talents who is a natural live or on record. Her music is soulful, exotic, and inspiring, and I often find myself listening it to it as a way to calm myself. She will be performing along with Aloe Blacc on Saturday, August 8th. If you can make it, I highly recommend you coming out.

All shows at Grand Performances start at 8pm, but get there early if you want to get a decent seat! For more information on dates and times please take a look at Grand Performances Calendar page.

However, as always, there was something to be taken away from this whole experience. In a matter of two days, I made several new acquaintances that led to great connections and more followship to this blog and other social media. However, it happeend because I was willing to put myself out there, something I am not always comfortable doing. Are you the same?

We often get caught up in our own worlds and we limit our social interactions to the intimate circles we are comfortable with, but in doing so, we subject ourselves to a life most mundane. The world, this beautiful world, is full of all sorts of people to be met – some good and some bad. However, when we meet the good ones, it gives such a sense of belonging and validation that, at times, we all need and deserve to feel. That weekend, I saw how capable I am of introducing myself, pitching my ideas, and that it is never too late to meet people no matter who old we may get.

Furthermore, this was all done through a common love for good music. Music is so powerful, its ability to bring people together is awe inspiring, wouldn’t you agree?

If you are ever in the Los Angeles area, I hope you will get the opportunity to check out these and other free city events.

May we all be sweetly inspired.

735 South Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Grand Performances
350 South Grand Avenue, Suite A-4
Los Angeles, CA 90071

All photos were taken by A. Reneé for Darling Afflatus, 2015. They may not be reused without permission.


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