So much music in Oakland. We are blessed with cultural abundance. This kind of wealth does more than trickle down; it breaks the levees and floods the streets.

On August 16, the music crawl “Oakland Drops Beats” is back for round 2 of its mission to be a quarterly festival for local musicians. It’s an all-day event featuring more than thirty artists at ten unique venues in the downtown arts district east of Broadway, between 14th and 19th Streets.

The genre-jumping lineup was just released, which includes hip hop collective Oakland Mind, Youth Radio’s beat-makers from Today’s Future Sound, jazz bands curated by The Oakland Freedom Jazz Society, and an after-party organized by Oaktown Indie Mayhem featuring Dirty Ghosts and Art Nikels.

Here’s a sample of the Dirty Ghosts rockout

Oakland likes to keep it cerebral, so in addition to the groove and get-down there will be a panel discussion on Bay Area music history/industry at the Joyce Gordon Gallery, with singer and activist Jennifer Johns and former Black Panther Minister of Culture Emory Douglass.

And since we’re all going to be here anyway, might as well (right?) vinyl swap! Vamp is going to host a record spin-and-swap-meet, and while you’re there, check out the bird drawings by local graff artist IROT.

If you’ve got respect for freestyle rap, appreciate Oakland Mind.

Such are the fruits of Oakland’s deep musical, artistic and cultural roots.

Great venues are the backbone of a live music scene, and Oakland’s got those, but this event and others like it (the Eastlake Music Festival, Oakland Music Festival, and Art & Soul festival) are opportunities for Oaklanders to see lots of local music all at once, bands they wouldn’t otherwise have seen, in places they wouldn’t have expected to see them.

Oakland takes all kinds: Neo-folk with local band Art Nikels

It’s nice that events like this are not subject to the standard “industry” concerns.  This is purely a celebration of the talent that is creating the Bay Area’s sounds. There are no tickets. There is no bottom line. It’s as if this were our dividend for being the community that supports local music venues.

Founder Angelica Tavella’s vision for Oakland Drops Beats is to create a quarterly event that will continuously showcase and promote local music. “The idea was to build a platform for tons of Oakland musicians,” said Tavella, “to be an umbrella, to take all these awesome people and musicians that are already doing their thing in Oakland and make a time and a place to bring that all together.”

In the spirit of community, the music crawl shows are free for everyone to enjoy, and the organizing that Tavella and countless other event producers has been voluntary (although keep a lookout for donation jars floating around the small, semi-funded gallery spaces).

So bring your babies, bring your dogs, bring your boys, get your ladies together, let’s turn this into a party.

Schedule for Oakland Drops Beats

Schedule for Oakland Drops Beats

(Video used with permission from Oakland Mind.)

About The Author

Eric is a freelance writer who covers Oakland's thriving New Economy movement, as well as local culture, community projects, and letters. As graduate of UC Santa Cruz he is essentially a socialist, but what does that even mean anymore, really? As a proud Oakland transplant from the PNW, Eric sees his work at Oakland Local as a small part of Oakland's battle to keep its identity, support all its peoples, and be prospering without plundering.

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