The Evolution of LAAF

by John He

In 2008, members of UCLA Bruin Harmony, the only all-male a cappella group on campus, had a vision for a day-long festival devoted to the appreciation of contemporary a cappella music. They saw a need for a place where a cappella singers, enthusiasts, and professionals from Southern California could gather to learn, grow, and celebrate vocal music.

In January 2009, after a year of hard work, Bruin Harmony’s dream became reality with the inaugural Los Angeles A Cappella Festival. It was a rousing success, with workshops and masterclasses that many people in our west coast community had never experienced before, and at night, Vybration and the House Jacks showed us just how good a cappella could be.

Since then, we’ve tried to make LAAF bigger and better every year. Since then we’ve had SONOS, m-pact, The Backbeats, and MOSAIC perform on our stage. If you’ve been to our concerts, you know what I’m talking about. And we’re still growing! Last year, the event partnered with CASA in order to continue to bring the best a cappella performers and educators to the beautiful UCLA campus for all to enjoy.

This year, we’re elevating LAAF to the next level. Following the model of our east coast cousin, SoJam, we’re expanding LAAF from a day-long festival to a weekend-long event, featuring an all-new Friday night scholastic competition and extra workshops and masterclasses on Sunday. And as if that wasn’t enough, we’ve got Hookslide, Pentatonix, and Duwende coming to show us vocal music like we’ve never seen it before.

We’ve been working on LAAF 2012 since January 30th, the day after LAAF 2011. We eat, drink, breathe, and sleep LAAF because we’ve seen what events like LAAF can do. Festivals like LAAF have changed thousands of lives and helped to create many of those who now shape the entire contemporary a cappella movement in the United States.

We believe in making LAAF the best that it can be for you and your group. We sincerely hope you’re able to make it, because if you are, I promise that you–and perhaps more importantly, your group–will reap the rewards for years to come.

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