Escaping to Shabang.



Dancing under the setting sun, hundreds of people gather at Laguna lake to escape the stress of our day jobs (and midterms). The escape: Shabang music and arts festival.  This is hosted twice every year as a collaboration for young musicians, artists and locals to come together for one day of magical fun. I joined the magic to dance it out and observe beautiful art.

One interactive experience is the Respect the Funk collaboration. They brought the Funk Safari, a silent disco experience for all festival goers. From atop the Janky Barge Art Car from Burning Man, two DJ’s spun tracks for the dancing masses below.

The feeling of connection and community surges. Without any exchange of words, we are all connected through music. The dancers are surrounded by beautiful murals and other creations that build an atmosphere of free expression. This scene captures the platform for expression that Shabang provides.  Along with incredible music, Shabang offers a showcase of local artists.

There was an immensity of live art to observe. Everyone had a place to participate here, whether it was contributing to the work or just observing, the sense of community was flourishing.  There was also professional artistry at work.

Nate Ross Art
Original artwork by Nate Ross.

I made time to chat with a few of the artists. Shabang asks various artists to demonstrate their art live. People can purchase their work and watch how the paintings come to life.

“I made a poster for them a few years ago and then I got asked to come back,” says Nate Ross, Cal Poly graduate and local artist.  He also does graphic design and local wedding photography.

Julian Hart
Onlookers observing Julian Harts masterpiece

Julian Hart is a current Graphic communications student. He is an aspiring local artist who hopes to further his career after he graduates this December.

“The things I love most are skulls and waves,” says Hart about his skull and wave painting.  He is happy to be painting live at Shabang and looks forward to next year.

Drew Davis is a local artist who was referred by Art Central SLO, and has his work featured at a variety of locations in town. He has been working as a professional artist for a few years and this is his first Shabang experience.

“Right now I’m working more expressionistic abstract… more non representational. I am working off of life sketches for my inspiration,” says Davis. He likes to paint in series of different mediums.

If you haven’t been to Shabang, I highly recommend going for the great music, beautiful art and all around amazing time. It is bi annual so you can check it out in May. Tickets are available online and there is a shuttle option, which is worth the extra ten dollars.  Hope to see you at the next Shabang!




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