Long Beach’s musical housing isn’t new to the world, but as more festivals take to the shores, there is a certain entity that still few neglect to grasp: bring the community together. Happy Sundays aims to remedy this situation with their third installment of their free, multi-musical event throughout Long Beach’s Zaferia District. Holding 8 venues with over 30 performers, and free transportation from venue to venue, Happy Sundays’ ideals are simple: bring the community together, host locals, national and regional acts, and welcome all ages. Happy Sundays can easily be seen as a concentrated shot of everything that is good about a festival, without the high costs. We briefly spoke to Julia Kugel Montoya, curator of the event, who embodied this sentiment and explained the festival’s history.
“People in general need positive outlets. This is a way of reminding people that there are more good people than bad,”explained Montoya, referencing the political situation that continues to add doubt. “It’s a way to combat all of this as well. Fill the day with good vibes.” The festival took shape when Montoya and her husband got married and relocated to Long Beach. Both being heavily immersed in the music scene — Montoya being guitarist/frontwoman of Coathangers, and her husband Scott Montoya, former drummer for The Growlers — they fell in love with the scene and communal vibe of Long Beach. “We were blown away and wanted to do something cool,” states Montoya. Taking this feeling into an idea, the first installment was to simply have a show on their porch. Due to technicalities regarding their permit the show had to move and was taken to Alex’s Bar. To avoid another mishap, the plan for future events was to be centered around venues with a permit.
As any festival goes, appeasing all needs and personal wants can be difficult, yet possible. The beautiful aspect that stands out about Happy Sundays is the selflessness that is behind the event. Montoya recollects the need for children to witness other children play music, confirming it is possible and aiding to the mental aspect of the youth. “Music saved my life, saved my sanity,” recalls Montoya and the inspiration in seeing someone like you play an instrument. In addition of the venues, noting locals performing at each stage, the festival will host a family friendly curation at Los Altos Park. Jelly of the Month Club is slated to bring their high paced beach vibes to the outdoors, as well a kids rock camp, not yet announced.
Now on their third chapter, Happy Sundays upcoming festival has “tripled in size.” The festival’s inclusiveness is refreshing, this year noting Comedy Acts being implemented to the festivities, such as Vince Royale, and an anticipated ticket giveaway to the Laugh Factory that is underway. Proving Montoya’s declaration of Long Beach’s communal vibe, the festival also received support from the Mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia, as well as 4th District Supervisor, Janic Hahn. What started out as a simple idea to return the atmospheric welcome of Long Beach, Happy Sundays evolved into the epitome of successfully working as a community for the community. With a full line-up yet to be announced, Montoya’s gratitude glistened towards all who contributed, especially the acts. “There’s a great appreciation to the acts as well who are doing this for the music versus a huge payout.”
Featuring locals such as, Rudy De Anda, Spare Parts for Broken Hearts, Lucy & La Mer, Ramonda Hammer, YIP YOPS, and Mind Monogram. More to be announced. Visit Happy Sundays to stay up to date for more announcements, and visit their Spotify that features acts from each venue.