City Councilmember and Santa Barbara Rapper Team Up for Downtown Fall Festival


[Update: Thu., Nov. 16, 2023, 11:06 a.m.] The Fall Festival, hosted by Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez and Santa Barbara Rapper SadBoy Loko, was originally scheduled for November 18. Due to expected rain, the organizers have been forced to postpone the event, which will now be held on Saturday, December 9, from 1 to 5 p.m. on State Street.

[Original Story] It may seem an unlikely combination — a sitting city councilmember and a hard-edged rap artist known for his tattoos and beaming smile — but both Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez and artist Sadboy Loko come from Eastside Santa Barbara, and both have a passion for using their positions to help their hometown, so it makes perfect sense that the two have put their power together to host the free community Fall Festival on Saturday, December 9 on State Street.

Councilmember Gutierrez, who was raised in Santa Barbara and represents her home neighborhood of the Eastside District 1, first met rapper SadBoy — or Mario as she knows him — when working at Santa Barbara High School where he attended. Over the years, she advanced through the political ranks, being elected to the council in 2019, while SadBoy pursued a successful career in the music industry, where he landed a record deal with multi-platinum artist YG’s label and earned a name for his Chicano-rap style and unique west coast flair.

Despite his misleading nickname, those that have met SadBoy know that he can light up a room with his smile, and after going through some rough years the Eastside rapper has matured past his hard lifestyle and channeled his energy into helping people “find strength through music to overcome their struggles,” as he told the Independent before the release of his most recent album, Sin Fronteras, last year.

For years he has hoped to put on a community event in his hometown where he could directly give back to the youth in Santa Barbara, and when Gutierrez heard this she started knocking on doors to see who else would want to pitch in. 

Eventually, the Downtown Santa Barbara Organization offered to help the event, which will be held on Saturday, December 9 on the 800 block of State Street near Paseo Nuevo, where there will be vendors (including 10 booths featuring local creators from the Youth Makers Market), bilingual music performances by MC Magic, art, games, and free haircuts for any children who attend.

“It’s time to give back to the city,” SadBoy wrote on a social media post announcing the event. “This is something I’ve been trying to make happen for a long time. The whole community is invited for this city event. Thanks Alejandra and the whole city of Santa Barbara for allowing this to happen! Dreams do come true!”

The Fall Festival will be free and open to the public from 1 to 5 p.m.

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