The Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) celebrates the 41st anniversary of the Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival, and the 46th anniversary of the Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival. DCA and the Friends of Watts Towers Arts Center will host multicultural dance and music performances at the 41st Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival on Saturday, September 30, 2023 and the 46th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival on Sunday, October 1, 2023 to continue these festivities.
An all-star line-up of international recording artists, local jazz greats, percussionists, and dancers will come together over two days, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., for unbelievable festival experiences under the artistic direction of Rosie Lee Hooks, Patrice Rushen, and Munyungo Jackson. Presented by DCA and the Friends of Watts Towers Arts Center, the two-day festival is free and open to the public.
Both festivals take place at the DCA’s Watts Towers Arts Center Campus at 1727 East 107th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90002. For more information, please call 213.847.4646 or visit www.wattstowers.org.
Festival Schedules: 41st Annual Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival (Saturday, September 30, 2023, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM). Masters of Ceremonies: Kamau Daáood and Dee Dee McNeil.
11:00 a.m. Xochipilli - Aztec traditional dancing featuring Huehuetl and Teponaxtle drums.
12:00 p.m. Korean Classical Music and Dance Company -Traditional Korean and drum dance.
1:00 p.m. SHINE Mawusi - An alliance of women practicing, nurturing, and empowering communities by spreading the knowledge of West African drum culture.
2:00 p.m. Garifuna Cultural Group - Garifuna World Cultural Experience.
3:00 p.m. Gimme A Beat -Just Rhythms and Rhymes featuring Tony Austin (drums), Mic Holden (percussion and MC), Kahlil Cummings (percussions), and Brian Collier (drums).
4:00 p.m. Magatte Fall featuring LaVoix - A drum and dance group representing Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Gambia.
Festival Schedules: 46th Annual Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival (Sunday, October 1, 2023, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM). Masters of Ceremonies: Kamau Daáood and Dee Dee McNeil.
11:00 a.m. Alaadun Yoruba ground blessing uniting all cultures based on common themes and principles.
12:00 p.m. Melvin Lee Davis and Friends featuring Derek Bordeaux, Kevin Flournoy, and Jeffery B. Suttles, Gospel Jazz
1:00 p.m. Food4Thought, Queen Socks, and Love Spoken Word
1:30 p.m. Ray Bailey and Friends Traditional blues
2:30 p.m. Dee Dee McNeil Spoken word
3:00 p.m. The World Stage Big Band - Continuing the legacy of all the great master musicians, composers, and arrangers in black music that can be loved, enjoyed, and appreciated by all cultures.
4:15 p.m. Kamau Daáood - Spoken word
4:45 p.m. JMP Allstars featuring Patrice Rushen, Munyungo Jackson, Bobby Rodriguez, and Reggie Hamilton Straight-ahead jazz
All Day Activities at the Festivals:
Drum Pavilion: Universal Drum Circle-- Led by Matt Gibson III
Noah Purifoy & Charles Mingus Galleries --“Black, Brown, and Beige” exhibition curated by Nery Gabriel Lemus and Jimmy O’Balles
Book Signing-- Chukes, “Identity Theft: Creations from a Social Conscience”
Dr. Joseph and Bootsie Howard Gallery-- International Musical Instruments
Charles Mingus Youth Arts Center-- Children’s Activities 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Garden Studio Gallery-- Tiling and Gardening Activities
Watts Towers Amphitheatre-- Food Court
Nuestro Pueblo – The Watts Towers of Simon Rodia-- Open for guided tours
Commissioned Festival Visual Art: Buena Johnson, Mighty Spirit of Watts, https://www.instagram.com/buenavisionart.
Additional Sponsors: DCA’s Watts Towers Day of the Drum Festival and Simon Rodia Watts Towers Jazz Festival are sponsored in part by:
Friends of the Watts Towers Arts Center;
The City of Los Angeles 15th Council District / Councilmember Tim McOsker.
Watts Towers Community Action Council.
GRoW @ Annenberg TM, a philanthropic initiative dedicated to supporting humanitarian efforts across the globe as well as innovative projects in health, education, and the arts and civic and cultural life.
Los Angeles City Department of Recreation and Parks.