A half an hour into her set at Make Music Pasadena, Canadian musician Claire Boucher had to stop to announce that police would shut down her performance if the enthusiastic crowd continued to push on the barricades.
Boucher, who goes by Grimes, was a big draw at Saturday’s free all-day festival. An estimated 25,000 people attended the over 100 pop-up performances. Shortly after 5 p.m., when Grimes was scheduled to play at a stage in the Playhouse District, an adjacent parking structure was filled with fans peeking out of gaps from the first floor to the roof.
When 24-year-old Boucher started playing her electronic pop numbers, fans near the front of the stage screamed and danced. Some held signs that read ‘Claire’ or ‘Grimes.’ One even mimicked her hairstyle with short pink bangs.
Pasadena police told the crowd to calm down multiple times. When Grimes’ set ended, most of the crowd scattered and headed to other shows. The remainder stayed and waited for KCRW DJ Jason Bentley to take the stage.
“I thought she was great,” said 23-year-old Tate Katz, who had never heard her music until Saturday.
Katz, of Los Angeles, said she liked the festival’s walkabilty and the fact that she saw a lot of her friends.
It was a sentiment echoed by other festival-goes.
Over at the indie rock stage in Old Pasadena, headliner Grouplove attracted an over-flowing crowd. Dozens stood to watch in the alley next to Barney’s Beanery, while customers in the sports bar rocked outside with their beers.
Jeremiah Dockray, a 33-year-old Santa Clarita resident, enjoyed Grouplove’s performance from the back of the alley with his family.
The free aspect of the festival was the main attraction, he said. “That’s probably the only reason we came over this far.”
He said it’s nice to have a community event where people don’t have to pay to hang out with each other and see neighbors.
In an alley on Union Street, the mood was calm as the sun set and an accordion player stepped onto the French music stage.
Nick Ariondo, who wore a fedora with a feather, played familiar tunes, including “La Vie en Rose." He encouraged the audience to participate.
"If you know it, sing along," he said.
RELATED:Photo Gallery: Make Music Pasadena
-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News