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PHOTOS: BG Skate Jam 2024

Skateboarders tearing across the Bell Gardens Skate Park as psychedelic trance artist Triceradrops performs. June 28, 2024. Photo: Layla Hernandez.

Joe Brizzolara

The City of Bell Gardens held its second annual Skate Jam on Friday, drawing skateboarders of all ages to the city’s skate park.

Councilmember Marco Barcena, board in hand, was a lead organizer for the event, alongside the city’s Recreation Department and Bell Gardens Arts, a community group of local artists and musicians. 

Barcena said the event aimed to create a space for youth involved in less traditional forms of athleticism, while also offering a gathering the whole family could enjoy.

“We spend a lot of money and effort on sports and very traditional forms of recreation, but we kind of push our skater community to the side,” Barcena said. “This is an opportunity for us to do something special for kids that have a different dynamic at home, that are a little bit more independent, maybe don’t rely so much on their parents to recreate and have fun in the streets.” 

“This is for skaters, but I also tried to make sure that we cater to the entire family,” he said.

The air was filled with the aroma of complimentary bacon-wrapped hot dogs as skaters and BMX bike riders darted in all directions. The raucous sounds of cumbia punk and the heavy bass of psychedelic trance music boomed from a stage perched above a skate bowl.

Comic book author and artist Javier Solórzano, creator of “Super Lucha Cats,” tabled at the event. Solórzano, a Bell Gardens native, sets his tales of four lucha libre cats in Southeast L.A. He remembers skating in the park over a decade ago and appreciates that it’s being more fully integrated into the larger community.

“For the most part the people that come to the skate park are the skater kids that use it,”  Solórzano said. “To see parents and little, little kids who maybe would not feel as empowered to come on their own, it’s like a nice entry point. It’s a lot easier and more inviting for them so, as they get older, they’ll be able to take advantage of these resources.”

The turn out, numbering in the hundreds, was also heartening for Solórzano. 

“It means that there’s an audience for it here,” he said. “If [the city] invest[s] in the community, the community’s gonna turnout and show up.” 

Here are some photos from the event:

Attendees gathered around the edge of a bowl to watch El Conjunto Nueva Ola’s set. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
Artist Juan Galindo showcasing colorful abstract pieces. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
Attendees gathered around the Sick Taste Art booth to view Galindo’s work. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
El Conjunto Nueva Ola encouraged the crowd to sing and dance along. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
BG Skate Jam 2024. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
El Conjunto Nueva Ola, BG Skate Jam 2024. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
BG Skate Jam 2024. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
Mayor Pro Tem Marco Barcena and attendees turn the bowl into a dancefloor as El Conjunto Nueva Ola performs “El Beeper.” Photo: Layla Hernandez.
BG Skate Jam 2024. Photo: Layla Hernandez.
Solórzano’s Super Lucha Cats comics, stickers, and board displayed for the event. Photo: Layla Hernandez.