The Best and Worst of the Wilmore 9 Film and Music Festival

Categories: festivals

This weekend saw the first-ever Wilmore 9 Film and Music Festival, a two-day affair that featured over fifty bands and over twenty films scattered around various venues and theaters around Downtown Long Beach. And as anyone who's been present for the developmental years of a festival knows, the earliest years are the the ones with the most snafus. But overall, none of the slight glitches seemed to get in the way of a good time, and I was pleased with the general vibe of Long Beach; it's relaxed, vibrant and even warm it was comfortable to get my Vitamin D as I walked around and saw the sights. So I gotta hand it to the organizers for making the first year of Wilmore 9 pretty awesome. Here are just a few of the things that made it enjoyable.

5. The Shows at The Lot
On both days, most people seemed to gravitate towards the concerts at the Lot, which makes perfect sense. It's literally an empty lot, big enough to fit a stage, beer garden, art display, and adjacent to the food trucks and Mad Haus on Pacific Avenue. It's summer, so yup, most people want to be outside enjoying a cold one under the sun while checking out the various musical acts.

Flickr / Phantom Galleries LA

4. Location
Downtown Long Beach is awesome. It's huge urban sprawl checkered with little hole in the wall art galleries, theaters and in short walking distance to major shopping areas and local businesses. Instead of finding a huge park or venue to concentrate everything, the festival is embedded within Downtown and incorporates everything that is already there, all within walking distance of each other.

3. Keeping the audience entertained in between bands

While the road crew and sound guys do their thing on stage in preparation for the next act, its way too easy to get bored. DJ Rahfee Zahkee's animated set prevented that, wherein he improvised mixing sound and music digitally to get gnarly results. Besides Rahfee, other DJs present mixed up a good time and livened up the audience.

Aimee Murillo / OC Weekly

2. The Music Line-up
Again, only one band I saw on the schedule was recognizable to me- and that was The Aquadolls. But sticking around the Mad Haus or the Lot or the LB Independent International school long enough for the next band to play is a gamble for bands you've never heard of, and no band disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I actually liked Stacy Clark, Cuates, and Rudy Love Jr's sets, because no matter what genre or style of music they played, they were entertaining and at ease with the audience. Whoever is the one booking the bands is certainly on point with new music.

1. The Film Selection
The first film title that jumped out at me was A Band Called Death, a hugely popular documentary about the titular punk band Death that was formed in the mid-'70s by brothers David, Bobby and Dannis Hackney of Detroit, Michigan. That's about the only film I recognized, but taking a chance on other films that were screening paid off. Sure, I wasn't able to see many, but having only twenty films showing at your festival means stressing quality over quantity.

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