WAM brings the block party to Emerson Avenue for a day of live music and fun

Sep 3, 2021

For Westchester Arts & Music Block Party founder John Sharpe, WAM is all about fun, family, and connection, and he can’t wait to see everyone on September 18th for the sixth annual event.

“Feeling connected and knowing your neighbors beyond the drive-by wave is huge,” said Sharpe. “WAM provides that opportunity to get to know people and creates that community connection for me. Every year, WAM gets better and better, and we tap into something that has the potential to be even greater.”

While WAM is bound to look a little different than in previous years due to the pandemic, Sharpe is confident that people can still come out and enjoy the event in whatever way they feel comfortable. Attendees can expect ten bands, a beer & wine garden, a variety of family-friendly activities, food trucks, community booths, art vendors and more.

Whether you plan on stopping by WAM to rock out to one band, plan on volunteering all day at a community booth or will be spending time in the beer & wine garden while the kids enjoy activities in the garden, here’s the scoop on what you need to know about WAM 2021:

1. There’s a great line-up of musical acts to enjoy this year. True to WAM form, organizers have curated an eclectic mix of bands and performers to ensure there’s not a dull moment during the event. Marsh Davis & The Honey will kick-off the day with their Indie/Alternative sound starting at 11 a.m. Throughout the day attendees are sure to hear something they’ll enjoy like the surf rock stylings of Jetpack, Gospel courtesy of Crew12 or pop/punk from A Page Unturned. Make sure to check out the WAM website for the full schedule so you don’t miss out on returning block party favorites like Rose’s Pawn Shop and RAINNE.

Surf rock band, Jetpack, will take the WAM stage at 1 p.m.

2. WAM is cashless, and you’ll need your ID. The Stephanie Younger Group is once again hosting WAM’s beer & wine garden. Don’t leave your ID at home if you’re planning on hanging in the 21-and-over area and enjoying drinks from Firestone Walker and Sweetzer Cellars. Drinks are $8 each or 3 for $21. You can also add a donation to your purchase to support the Emerson Avenue Community Garden.

Getting hungry? Giant pretzels will be sold in the garden for $8, or you can head to the food truck area to place an order at Cousin’s Maine Lobster, The Tropic Truck, Baby’s Badass Burgers, Dulce Europa Shaved Ice and more.

WAM attendees hang out in the beer & wine garden. Photo by Glenn Marzano.

3. You can support local artists and say “hi” to volunteers at the community booths. Supporting local artists is a big part of WAM’s mission, so don’t forget to peruse the 40-plus booths at the event. Expect to see vendors selling their art, as well as community groups hosting activities like planting succulents, coloring contests and providing giveaways. Chances are you’ll know someone volunteering at the tables, so make sure to say “hi” before you pass by. If you’re interested in having a booth at WAM, the last chance to sign-up is Friday, September 3 at 5 p.m.

4. WAM is raising funds for the Emerson Avenue Community Garden. This year, WAM will be donating a portion of the proceeds to support the nonprofit Emerson Avenue Community Garden located on the campus of Wright STEAM Magnet and WISH. The 100 percent volunteer run green space is used for education, an organic garden and community building.

Even if you’ve been to the garden before, you might want to visit again to view the updates that have recently been made courtesy of the Westchester Rotary Club’s Makeover Project. 

5. There’s activities for the whole family. WAM is a family-friendly event, and there’s plenty of activities to keep you entertained besides listening to music. Head to the garden for arts & crafts, games and more hosted by Westchester Parents’ Nursery School. Attendees can also enjoy six-minute portraits courtesy of RE/MAX Westchester and a roaming magician.

Westchester dance troupe, the Lariats, will perform at 12:45 p.m.

6. Cool WAM merch is available for purchase. Show your love for the Westchester Arts & Music Block Party by purchasing a limited edition WAM T-shirt. There are three designs to choose from–the traditional event logo, an ice cream cone mic or a WAM record album–designed by Westchester design company, Bughouse. If you rock WAM gear in Westchester, it’s sure to be a conversation starter! Shirts will be for sale at the event for $25.

WAM volunteers Alicia Casili, John Sharpe and Jeff Klarin show off this year’s WAM merch.

7. The event has updated hours for 2021. WAM will take place on Saturday, September 18 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. In the future, WAM might even be a two-day event.

8. Don’t forget your water bottle. WAM is doing its part to be eco-friendly and will have a water station for you to fill up your bottles.

9. Follow COVID safety protocols and best practices. Organizers are closely watching event guidelines set forth by the county and city. While there are not currently any mask mandates for outdoor events of this size, the L.A. County Health Department is strongly recommending that unvaccinated attendees wear masks when in crowded outdoor settings and that customers wear a mask while standing in line. Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often, and stay home if you are feeling sick or unwell.

10. Volunteer opportunities are available. WAM takes a lot of work and support to make happen. The event would not be possible without the volunteers who help set up, direct vendors, answer questions and troubleshoot. If you’re interested in volunteering for a two-hour time slot, sign-up on the WAM website.

11. Make sure to check out the sponsor banners hanging on the garden fence. Putting on a large-scale community event is no easy task, and WAM organizers are grateful for the support of sponsors! A special thank you to Platinum Sponsors: The Drollinger Family Charitable Foundation and the Stephanie Younger Group; Silver Sponsor Gerber Kawasaki; and Premium Sponsors Zacha Homes, Decron Properties, Westchester Rotary, LMU, RE/MAX Estate Properties, Playa Venice Sunrise and LAWA.

WAM will take place on Saturday, September 18 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Emerson Ave. between 80th Pl. and 80th St. in Westchester. The street will be closed during the event. As things can change, please visit  wamblockparty.org for more info and updates.

Photos by Zsuzsi Steiner for the HomeTown News.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter!