Sign in / Join
1620

Away from the bands, it’s the kids who make a racket at Pasadena’s Arroyo Seco Weekend

(Rich Fury / Getty Images / Arroyo Seco Weekend)

Amid the many practiced rhythms and melodies that echoed across the valley during the first Arroyo Seco Weekend in Pasadena, a curiously delicate, improvised jam session occurred in a little tent set to the side.

There, inside the shaded Kidspace area, a so-called musical petting zoo served to fill the air with the glorious, if disorganized, din of a dozen kids playing — or playing with — instruments.

The Rose Bowl-adjacent Arroyo Seco was billed as a family friendly event, and on Saturday afternoon, the free-form recital, to say nothing of the number of moms and dads carrying worn-out kids, suggested a bunch of parents took the bait.

Was it noisy in the Kidspace area? Sure, but beautifully so.

The organization, which is based in Pasadena, emphasizes interactive learning. A girl clanged bells, another drummed on a tambourine. On a long table, kids strummed a banjo and banged on a bass. An electronic theramin whinnied and moaned. A boy on a drum kit raged.

As soloists, none of the children showed much so-called "promise," but as an ensemble, they crafted a work that showed an unwavering confidence.

At another table, kids were busy making punk-style pendants. Elsewhere, others decorated wooden toy instruments.

At sundown, Kidspace closed for the day and the budding talent fanned out, hearty moms and dads in tow, to further explore the grounds.

Many of the toddlers and tykes were new to the fest scene, however, and didn’t know to pace themselves. Smiles turned to frowns. At least one kid whined to his brother, "It’s not funny — you hurt me!" Elsewhere, tantrums erupted.

In the distance, the Alabama Shakes delivered a blistering rendition of "Don’t Wanna Fight," one if its best known songs: "Don’t wanna fight no more," bellowed singer Brittney Howard.

She didn’t know the half of it.

(Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times) The Nighttime Lights spectacle at Hogwarts Castle officially debuts Friday night at Universal Studios. (Karim Sahib / AFP/Getty Images)