Moon Block Party festival returns to Pomona

A conversation with Moon Block Party curator, Phil Pirrone…

“I’ve been touring since the age of 16. Live music has always been the center of my life. It was just the next thing to do in that framework for me; to bring the energy of being in a band, the energy of making music and sharing it to another level and to communicate louder, with more voices.” – Moon Block Party curator and founder, Phil Pirrone

Pomona native and musician Phil Pirrone [front man of his band JJUUJJUU] threw his first music festival in the summer of 2011, known as the first annual Moon Block Party Pomona.

With over 20 bands playing among different stages located in the Pomona Arts Colony [off 2nd Street], the inaugural festival was a success, setting up Pirrone to continue the annual event.

Since then, Moon Block Party has turned into a full-fledged festival organization [curated and founded by Pirrone], producing several music and art festivals a year including, Moon Block Party Pomona, Moon Block Party San Francisco, and Desert Daze.

“Each event is curated, organized, and built from the ground up by a group of close friends and a growing collective of musicians and artists from Los Angeles, Pomona, and beyond,” according to Moon Block Party’s Facebook page biography.

Desert Daze is Pirrone’s annual festival held in Mecca [near the Coachella Valley], and has grown into a successful spring music festival.

The third annual Desert Daze took place earlier this year on April 26 and featured bands such as Danish indie-rock duo, The Raveonettes, New York City “surf-pop” group, DIIV, and Seattle based psychedelic “garage-rock” trio, Night Beats.

The follow up to Desert Daze will be the third Moon Block Party Pomona, which has been a fundraiser for the local School of Arts and Enterprise in Pomona since the inaugural event in 2011.

Moon Block Party Pomona will be taking place on Oct. 18 and will be moving into a new home on the grounds of the Pomona Fairplex, leaving its former Downtown Pomona 2nd Street home.

The event has not taken place since 2012 and will drift away from its original “block party” type atmosphere, into a more traditional large scale music festival [similar to Desert Daze].

Moon Block Party Pomona will feature three stages of live music, clothing vendors, food galore, and a costume contest.

Notable bands playing the festival will be indie-rock band Spoon; Austin based psychedelic band, The Black Angels, San Francisco alternative rock band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and the fan favorite garage-rock band from Atlanta, The Black Lips.

Pirrone was kind enough to be featured in an interview [via e-mail correspondence] on Sept. 16.

Ryan: First off, Moon Block Party has been producing music and art festivals since 2011. How did the idea come about, and were you anticipating a positive reception from concert attendees and bands?

Phil Pirrone: I’ve been touring since the age of 16. Live music has always been the center of my life. It was just the next thing to do in that framework for me; to bring the energy of being in a band, the energy of making music and sharing it to another level and to communicate louder, with more voices. It started from such a right place that there was a positivity attached to it from the start and as it’s grown, it’s been really cool to connect with so many talented people and make a sound.

RG: Is it hard creating these festivals such as Moon Block Party and Desert Daze while still playing in your band JJUUJJUU?

PP: Yeah, absolutely.

RG: How has Moon Block Party progressed since its inception in 2011?

PP: Definitely more hands on deck. It’s a full time project for a few of us now. With each event we become more and more aware of what can be better, so as it’s progressed, slowly all aspects of the festivals have improved.

RG: Does the city and community of Pomona praise your involvement in the local music and arts scene?

PP: For the most part, the community loves it and we love the community.

RG: What were some of the things you were interested in/participated in before you started Moon Block Party?

PP: I had a label for a little while from 2006 – 2009 (Longhair Illuminati). We released five records before we ran out of money and enthusiasm for wearing that hat. It’s a tough one. Before that I toured a lot, spent time as a recording artist on both major and indie labels. Before that I played soccer. Before that I was a baby.

RG: In today’s music scene, with big promoters and corporations such as Goldenvoice taking over previous “DIY” [do it yourself] festivals such as FYF Fest, how have you kept Moon Block Party from heading towards that direction and preserving its DIY standards?

PP: We don’t think about that at all. We’re just keeping our heads down and working as hard as we can. We have tunnel vision and what other festivals do is not in that tunnel (for the most part). With that said, we have massive amounts of respect for Goldenvoice and FYF.

RG: With the success that Desert Daze & Moon Block Party Pomona has had the past few years, are there any plans for much more? What’s next for Moon Block Party?

PP: Were developing a few festivals at the moment; a few here in California, one in Mexico and one in Spain.

RG: Lastly, any advice for young people out there wanting to follow in your footsteps and perhaps curating their own festivals one day?

PP: Take risks, but be smart and always follow your gut.
Tickets for Moon Block Party Pomona are currently on sale for $45. For more information, visit

Moon Block Party Pomona 2014 trailer courtesy of Moon Block Party via YouTube