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Lincoln Sets the Stage for First Music Crawl

Venice Music Crawl  creator Mark Rojas at the  Sacred Door  art gallery on Lincoln Blvd.

Venice Music Crawl creator Mark Rojas at the Sacred Door art gallery on Lincoln Blvd.

Sixty-plus bands and live acts will take to makeshift stages at places along Lincoln Blvd, including The Venice Love Shack, Floyd's Barbershop and Deus Ex Machina, for a full day of live music this Saturday, from noon until 10pm.

The inaugural Venice Music Crawl, an offshoot and only days apart from tonight's quarterly Venice Art Crawl, is "a grassroots movement to build a music scene on the Westside." And other than a $10 cover at Do Lab's show at the RG Club, which will be donated to charity, all of the shows are free. Venues and lineups are available on the VMC Facebook event page, and there's also an event app with show information and set time reminders.

The force behind the movement, Mark Rojas, is a 20-something-year-old Silicon Beach CEO who also co-founded and managed the Art Crawl. His Venice-based graphic design and app development company Sparkwave produced VAC's branding, marketing, social media and web design. He also served on the Venice Neighborhood Council and is currently producing TEDx Venice Beach. About a year ago, he decided to create a spinoff of the Art Crawl in a mission of "epic proportion" to revive live music on the Westside.

"I realized that there really wasn't too much of anything else going on in terms of music, and it occurred to me that maybe where [VAC] needs to go next is to start a whole new event and book a ton of music," says Rojas.

While at USC, he produced live music events and organized parties to market his first venture, Momentum, a surf and apparel company. Most of the events were hosted Downtown, and when he graduated and moved to Venice, the trek Downtown inspired him to create something closer to home -- the Art Crawl.

Like the Art Crawl, the Music Crawl will be a culmination of separate events coexisting as one, but it will be centrally located on Lincoln Blvd. between California Ave. and Venice Blvd. Everything is within a short walking distance, but aside from a few food trucks that may make an appearance, this is no Abbot Kinney Fest.

"We're trying to create a music scene, not a music festival, so in order to create a music scene you need to have a lot of different players to be invested in it, whereas a music festival has one organization with top down control of everything."

Rojas says that he wants to start small and attract a great crowd. He wants the Music Crawl to be fun for locals and beneficial to small businesses. And ideally, he wants this to be the first of ongoing crawls that will build momentum behind a new music movement.

"When I was doing the Art Crawl there were always issues with the events not being close enough to each other or with sound complaints because everything was in a very residential area, so I was always thinking, why don't we move this thing to Lincoln. So when I started this I thought, we'll just start it here."

Rojas is not the only one who sees the potential in Venice's gritty strip of Highway 1. Over the past year several restaurants and boutiques have set up shop, and as for a music scene? Rumor has it that the House of Blues was eyeing Fox Discount Mall. 

 Check back on Monday for our full coverage of the event including a photo gallery.


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