Val Verde Music Festival and Family Picnic set for Saturday

A hike in Val Verde. Photo courtesy of Erica Larsen
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Santa Clarita Valley participants interested in attending a Val Verde Music Festival and annual Family Picnic can gather in Val Verde Park this Saturday at 1 p.m.

The joint celebration will go from May 26-28, said organizer and music director Greg Lupu.

This year, seven bands will be playing, along with a jam session on Saturday with several professional musicians. Genres range from rock to R&B, and include poetry, said Lupu.

The festival is in its second year, but the picnic has been around since the 1930s and has some diverse history behind it, organizers said.

Val Verde was a historically black community for many years known as the “black Palm Springs,” Lupu said, and the picnic and festival honor that legacy.

“Val Verde was one of the few areas where black people could buy homes during the Civil Rights era,” Lupu said. “They built a pool here because many black people couldn’t swim at pools in Los Angeles.

In the mid-1920s, a group of black Los Angeles professionals founded a resort community in what is now Val Verde.

Over the years, black professionals bought half-acre lots and built weekend and summer homes. Restaurants and inns followed. In 1939, fifty acres of adjoining land were donated to the County of Los Angeles for a park and a clubhouse and pool were built.

Over time, its racial makeup changed, Lupu said, but the festival and picnic seek to honor history.

“We try to have a diverse landup of music in the band, even as we’ve started to see it’s become a diverse area,” he said. “No longer is it the ‘Black Palm Springs,” as there are white people and Latinos here now, but still black people.”

The event will commemorate “music of the past, present and future,” Lupu said.

Vendor fees are $50, banner advertisements on stage are $100, and band sponsors are $300. For more information, email [email protected].

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