By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer

        (Los Angeles, Ca.)- Angelenos had a variety of options to celebrate and enjoy Independence Day. Thousands of revelers/party people gathered in Grand Park, downtown Los Angeles for Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party, Powered by the Music Center. The entire family, neighbors and friends enjoyed a spectacular celebration packed with a lot of fun.

        Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party showcased a dynamic retrospective of the past 10 years. This awesome journey down memory lane brought back fond memories for revelers/party people who were fortunate to be a part of the festivities at Grand Park back in the day.

        The celebration engaged revelers/party people with a series of interactive, multi-media art works in tribute to those who have contributed to the spirit of Grand Park’s experience as the Park for Everyone.

        A diverse multi-cultural crowd were all in agreement that the family-friendly Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Pary was a great way to celebrate Independence Day with picnicking, music and dancing, coupled with a smorgasbord of L.A.’s favorite gourmet food trucks, topped off with a spectrum of L. A’s diverse, eclectic sounds performed on the Backyard Stage. Before the aerial show, fireworks of a musical sort were cleared for takeoff to fill the air over Grand Park.

        The Backyard Stage located at (Grand Park’s Event Lawn next to City Hall, between Broadway & Spring Street). DJ Francesca and Host Jeremy Sole complimented the festivities with a global soundtrack of tunes.

        The Angel City All Star Brass Band got the party started and took the crowd on an amazing musical journey. The band marched from the west end of the park to the Backyard Stage while performing a classic Brazilian tune, “Mas Que Nada” reminiscence of the Brass Bands of New Orleans. They continued their crowd pleasing set with “La Burrita,” “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and “Sidama de Cali.”

        With our passports stamped and a quick stage change, Ethio Cali served as our tour guide. The group delved into the Golden Age of Ethiopian Jazz & Soul for the next segment of our travels. Their set featured the songs “Africana,” “Mowa,” “Enate,” “Heaven,” “Dewel Intro/Ohono Gedama,” and concluded with “Aynotche Terabu.”

QUITAPENAS (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Globetrotting was the ongoing musical theme for Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party. QUITAPENAS soundtrack featured the contagious, liberating anthems of Angola, Brazilian Samba, Cumbia de Colombia and rhythms of Peru. Their set featured the songs “La Educación,” “Me Llevaba,” “Papaya,” “La Ganadora,” “Te Va Guster,” “Te Adoro,” “Palenquero,” “Guayabo,” Valle Moreno-Campesino” and Que Tumbao” to the delight of the dancers cutting a rug throughout their set.

        The night was forever cemented with an electrifying, high-octane set of Afrobeats by AfroFunke’ with DJ’s Jeremy Sole & Glen Red, featuring Rocky Dawuni, for two explosive sets.

All of the above-mentioned bands are interconnected, they all played some global rhythms or melodies of the diaspora.

DJ Anthony Valadez and RG Superstar (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        The Front Yard Stage located at (Grand Park’s Performance Lawn between Grand Avenue and Hill Street). Several of LA’s most popular DJ’s, Anthony Valadez & KG Superstar, DJ Monalisa and DJ Linafornia, was on deck of the ones and twos, who turned up the heat, cranked up the bass, while spinning tantalizing beats to keep the revelers/party people moving and grooving.

John Hensley, Sekou Andrews, Thea Monyee and daughter (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Three of Flypoet’s most celebrated spoken word poets: Thea Monyee, Sekou Andrews, and Lem “Saint” Gonsalves graced the stage with original conscious raising, thought provoking poems as it relates to current events and issues that resonated with the crowd.

        Grand Park’s 4th of July Block Party filled the skyline with a colorful, dazzling display of fireworks with Rani de Leon, from the rooftop of the iconic Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.