PICTURED: Las Cafeteras performs as part of the Pop-Up Arts and Music Festival in Thousand Oaks. Photo submitted

by Emily Dodi 

 Summer is in full swing and the city of Thousand Oaks is celebrating with a Pop-Up Arts and Music Festival taking place over the last three weekends in June (June 11-26). The free, family-friendly festival includes “pop-up” live performances and activities at a variety of locations throughout the city. Concerts by local favorites and nationally known musicians are spotlighted as well as a special movie night featuring the animated film Rio

“The primary goal of the festival is to provide residents and visitors with an opportunity to actively participate in and enjoy the arts in unexpected and distinctive locations throughout the community,” said the city. All events begin at 7 p.m., and registration is requested at www.bapacthousandoaks.comFolks are invited to bring their own blankets and/or chairs, food and drink, while they kick back and relax — or get up and dance — at the different events. 

Starting things off on Friday, June 11, in Triunfo Park is New West Symphony’s ”Light Classics and Pops in the Park.” Led by associate concertmaster Tina Qu and featuring principal tuba player Blake Copper and the NWS Studio Brass Quintet, the acclaimed symphony will play everything from “patriotic music and Sousa marches to movie tunes, funk rock and many surprises under the stars.”

 On June 12, it’s Summer Nights with 5-Star, a jubilant concert of show tunes in Northwood Park. Families are invited to sing and dance along with some of Ventura County’s best-loved theater performers of all ages from acclaimed company 5-Star Theatricals.

 Next, on June 13 in Oakbrook Park, the Conejo Valley Youth Orchestra performs Antonin Dvorak’s “From the New World” and Leos Janacek’s “Idyll Suite” in a program that will “intrigue children and adults alike.”  

The following weekend, on Friday, June 18, families can travel down to Brazil, in spirit anyway, with a free showing of the movie Rio in Spring Meadow Park. The movie starts at 8 p.m., but families can start getting in the mood with free art activities and a live performance by samba band Kimera, beginning at 7pm. 

 The dancing continues on June 19 in Kimber Park with Garba360’s live performance of traditional Indian dance music. As a statement from the city explained, “When people in the northwestern Indian state of Gujarat want to celebrate, the ecstatic dance tradition known as garba often provides the fuel.” Instructors will lead the audience in dance moves, but the emphasis is on having fun, not mastering steps.

 Las Cafeteras is a highlight of the third and final weekend. The Los Angeles-based band will enchant audiences on June 25 in Thousand Oaks Community Park with its own blend of ranchera music, which includes notes of rock and hip-hop. Playing traditional son jarocho instruments and singing in Spanish, English and Spanglish, Las Cafeteras plays music that “builds bridges among different cultures and communities [to] create a world where many worlds fit.”

Finally, the Tom Corbett Trio and John McEuen Band close out the festival on June 26 when they bring “the best of Americana and blues music” to the Stagecoach Museum Lawn. 

Looking forward to the special community event, Thousand Oaks Mayor Claudia Bill-de la Peña said, “We are excited to bring live arts back to the community of Thousand Oaks. The city is proud to host this summer’s third Pop-Up Series and once again showcase a wide array of free, accessible, family-oriented arts events around the city.” 

It’s safe to say that many of us share in the excitement. 

All events will be subject to state, county and other governmental agency COVID-19 pandemic mandates and regulations. For full schedule and more information, visit bapacthousandoaks.com/popup.