Yesterday, 1,500 skaters, skate fans and residents ascended the Gaffey Street Look Out Point in Angels Gate Park for the 4th Annual San Pedro Shred: Festival of Skate. A 3/4-mile downhill course, large and small half-pipes, a fenced-in park of mini ramps for grommets, and a band stand drew skate and music enthusiasts of all ages. Presented by the San Pedro Skatepark Association, Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino and a host of skate industry sponsors, the feel-good family event celebrated Los Angeles’s southernmost neighborhood and its growing identity as a haven for edgy art, music and action sports. Acknowledging the rapidly shifting middle ground in politics, it’s safe to say that Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino has the youth vote locked up. With a legion of skater volunteers donning Team Buscaino t-shirts, the festival was a well-organized, successful effort that furthered its status as the only municipally-sanctioned skateboard and roller skate event in Southern California.
Four local bands supported the event with engaging performances by Powerflex (featuring legendary, world-class skater Steve Alba), Death Hymn Number 9, and San Pedro acts Mike Watt + The Secondmen and Toys That Kill.
With the Port of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Catalina Island and the mighty blue Pacific as a backdrop, Watt and company delivered a fiery set of roughly 40 early Minutemen tunes from the seminal San Pedro punk band’s 1984 masterpiece “Double Nickels on the Dime” and 1983’s “What Makes a Man Start Fires?” Watt, the hometown hero and cultural emissary for San Pedro, concluded the show by exclaiming, “Start your own band!” He reminisced about his days of skating on dangerous clay wheels, remarked that his bass was his (figurative) skateboard and encouraged youth to express themselves musically and creatively.