‘Arts Fest’ debuts at Ventura Park « East PDX News

INCLUDES AN ANIMATED VIDEO | Take a look at the activities leading up to a highly anticipated concert at the first-ever East Portland Arts Festival…

Here in the Hazelwood neighborhood, a crowd gathers in Ventura Park ahead of a concert featuring Hope Spalding.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

On the weekend of July 9 and 10, Ventura Park was buzzing with activity during the day. And, in the evening hours each day, there was a “Concert in the Park” from Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R).

The days were filled with free mini music lessons, with the help of instructors associated with PP&R’s Community Music Center. Also, the PP&R staff offered art activities, which seemed to be mostly painting and stenciling.

At this table, the artistic activity consists of painting river rocks.

Drumbeats, provided by people who joined Nigel Smith’s Family fun session, held in the shade near the east end of the park, set a lively pace for other activities.

As the day progressed, the temperature rose; those who stayed for the concert sought shade under the tall fir trees on the south side of the park, near the mobile stage set up there.

Learning what it is like to play the violin is Tsedupkunga, with the help of a Community music center instructor.

The PP&R supervisor Free summer for all program, Jarrell Hosley, said the events held that particular weekend were an “east side version of the Washington Park Summer Festival held in the Rose Garden Amphitheater.

“We also wanted to do something to celebrate the exterior of East Portland and give residents here an opportunity to connect as well.”

Picnicking before the concert are Jun Suzuki, holding Juliette; and Jacklyn Kohon, Mami Matsuhashi and Madoka Abe.

On the evening of July 9, the number on the large portable stage was Aaron Nigel Smith & 1 World Choirin concert.

Here’s a look at the families having a fun day and evening at this event:


The July 10 show, featuring Esperanza Spalding, was scheduled to start at 6 p.m. The warm-up act at 6:35 p.m. was made up of students Manifest Dance Agency PDX and Hip Hop Soulsation Academy; their performance continued until around 7:00 p.m.

Isperanza Sfade greet the audience from the stage, as his concert begins.

An ‘early count’ of PP&R staff estimated that 2,200 people had gathered for the concert by the time Esperanza Spalding, her band and dancers, took the stage.

Primarily, the audience showed their appreciation for Spaulding’s avant-garde jazz musical presentations, accompanied by the movements of the dancers with his show.

A number of older adults left after the first few issues, shaking their heads in bewilderment. Perhaps they expected Spalding to play classical selections on fiddle and cello.

A pleasant evening was spent by the many who stayed and enjoyed this special concert.

© 2022 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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