Photo by Vanessa, follow her on instagram @van_angeles
Grand Performances is one of my favorite events in Los Angeles period. I make it a point to drag friends to see a concert there every year, if not two or three. For a few months this concert series takes over the courtyard of the California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles, which is just east and up Bunker Hill from the Grand Central Market (a perfect place to grab your picnic items beforehand.)
Grand Performances offers lunch time performances (Oh you lucky people who work downtown!) as well as concerts on weekend evenings. The bands that play here have an ear focused on the world. Acts are anywhere from a tribute to Fela Kuti to a band from Montréal that sings/raps in four different languages.
What I love about this event is discovering new bands under the stars all the while controlling my own spending. A lot of concert venues in Los Angeles find a myriad of ways to make money from you on top of charging a small fortune for tickets and that pesky surcharge. Then there are the $18 drinks, $10 seat cushions, and not allowing outside food. At Grand Performances you can pack a beautiful picnic, a bottle of wine, and just enjoy yourself without thinking about your bank balance.
Seating is on a first come, first served basis. When the band plays on the main stage, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. There are a couple of platforms next to the reflecting pool that become impromptu dance floors. When there is salsa or cumbia involved, the audience really gets into it and the energy is pretty contagious. (If only I could dance.)
Band I have seen: Kinky, Nomadic Massive (who I am listening to while I write this post), Ana Tijoux, Quantic, and Yuna.
Cost: FREE. There is are donation buckets that will travel the aisle and although the event is free, donations are suggested. I throw in $10, because where are you going to see a concert cheaper than that in L.A.?
Alcohol: BYOB and Cash bar.
Season starts: June 19th
Season ends: August 22nd
See their website for additional information.
[Getting there: The California Plaza is just up Bunker Hill from the Pershing Square/Grand station stop on the Red and Purple lines. Getting there early has its perks, like finding a parking spot in a cheap lot on Olive between 5th and 4th.]