Pomona Revives the Spirit of '60s Garage Bands with 'Sounds of Pomona' Exhibit

Published November 30, 2023

Pomona, a city with a vibrant history of local music, is buzzing with nostalgia as it reunites musicians and fans from its Latino-dominated music scene of the past. The downtown dA Center for the Arts is currently exhibiting 'Sounds of Pomona: Coming of Age in the Golden Era of Music, 1955-1975' until February 24th. This special event is all about the city's homegrown rock and roll era that flourished when young Mexican American teens picked up guitars and drumsticks after being influenced by the Beatles' appearance on 'The Ed Sullivan Show'.

An Era of Musical Passion and Cultural Identity

The exhibit has attracted large crowds, with over 150 attendees on its opening night. Seasoned musicians took the stage, performing '60s hits to an audience of peers who experienced the music firsthand during their youth. Songs such as 'Farmer John,' 'Hang On Sloopy,' 'La Bamba,' and 'Land of 1000 Dances' filled the room with an air of excitement and memory. Organizer Martin Perez was among those backing the exhibit, emphasizing the importance of remembering and documenting the impact these days had on the community's culture.

Capturing Stories and Nostalgia

The exhibition was put together with community input, utilizing images, posters, and records from local bands. Pomona College history professor Tomas Summers Sandoval played a critical role by incorporating oral histories into the display, making them accessible via QR codes. These narratives delve into themes of identity, social interaction, and the role of music during a time marked by segregation and societal pressures. The Vietnam War also had a profound effect on the era, cutting many musicians' careers short and heightening the nostalgia for the period.

Events complementing the exhibition include a series of meet-and-greets, dances, and panel discussions, all celebrating the rich history of Pomona's music scene. These gatherings not only function as social reunions but also provide insight into the operation of bands, which often played at dances rather than concerts, and the influence they had on one another's repertoires.

exhibit, music, history