I moved to Long Beach 2 years ago and one of the things that really personifies Long Beach is it’s diversity and community-driven events. We’ve got the great eats in Cambodia Town, free yoga on the bluff overlooking the ocean every morning, an annual funk fest and many other great events in the revitalized downtown area, the Retro Row with its independent stores, dive bars and Art Deco theater, and a great sense of community that has spawned groups like the Long Beach Time Exchange and Green Long Beach. My favorite yearly event in Long Beach is the one that attracted me to move to Long Beach in the first place: the Long Beach Park Jam. It’s a free community picnic, potluck and party every first Sunday during the summer months, that brings people together in the spirit of music, dance and art, and fun for the whole family.
The Long Beach Park Jam is a labor of love organized by Collective I, a dedicated grassroots group of Long Beach residents, whose motto is Long Beach Come-UNITY, and that’s what they’ve been doing the past 9 years: faithfully volunteering their time and energy every summer nurturing the vibrant, creative community. Every Park Jam is different, depending on DJs who bring their own equipment and performers and artists who all come to donate their time and talent. The music, art and dance is a reflection of the diverse cultural traditions of the community: you can be dancing to Motown in one song, to a cumbia and salsa in the next and there have been performances by African dancers, Aztec dancers, Capoeira martial artists and fire dancers.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of Long Beach Park Jam and to help them keep the music going strong without having to rely on borrowing expensive sound systems and imposing on others, they’re asking the community to help pitch in for their own system. You can help them raise funds on their Indiegogo page and any amount is greatly appreciated. Even if you can’t contribute, they’d love your support in other ways like spreading the word on their fundraising campaign or giving back to the event through volunteering opportunities like activities for youth, clean-up and raffle crews, donating art supplies and helping Park Jam go green. For more info on how you can help, you can contact Collective I on their Facebook profile. The 1st Park Jam of 2013 will be Sunday, June 2. More details on their Facebook event.