International Folk Music
CDs and Cassettes!
Festival Records first opened its door in 1949 in
Oakland, California to service the Bay Area's Slavic and folk dance
communities. In 1958 it expanded to San Francisco, the well known
Turk Street adress, expanding to all international music and servicing
schools everywhere with classical and folk dance music.
Recreational folk dancing was very popular and well attended in
those decades, as well as taught in schools and colleges at all levels,
hence Festival Records thrived very well. In 1964, Festival
Records expanded to Los Angeles's Greek town in buying the local Greek
shop across from the magnificent Saint Sophia's Cathedral and expanding
it into the international and folk dance areas.
All three locations were opened
simultaneously for a number of years before changing times and
conditions forced first the Oakland store, then the San Francisco, and
recently the flagship Los Angeles store to close their doors forever.
Early in the operations, John began taking records and books to
special events such as folk dance workshops, camps, and festivals as
well as ethnic festivals which he continues to do.
Special mention must be made of
the American Rom, the Gypsies. They were among the first
customers in Oakland, somehow finding John's small upstairs location,
and asking for Tamburitza music. They followed the stores
everywhere and continue even today (to that back building). Their
community nationwide has been much more than a source of customers;
John has been honored by being welcomed into their homes and events,
and has even been godfather to some of their children.
John is still on Pico Blvd. just
three blocks east from the old store,
operating out of a back building which is his workshop and where all
the inventory is stored. John welcomes customers there both old
new, but by appointment only as he has no regular hours and does a lot
of enjoyable traveling. Most of the activity now is mail order
festivals, with some folk dance teaching particularly the dances of
Croatia and the kolos of old Yugoslavia.
Owner of Festival
2665 West Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90006