The drum circle of Venice Beach

Venice Beach, California is one of the most eclectic communities on this planet. But when the sun starts to dip towards the horizon on a late Sunday afternoon, the place becomes truly primordial.

This is when the Venice Beach Drum Circle knocks into gear.

Most tourists are gone by this time and usually miss the small handful of drummers that kick off the rhythm before being joined by upwards of 100 others banging away on everything from plastic buckets to bongo drums to percussion instruments. And then it starts to get really freaky. Dancers an all states of euphoria–chemical or otherwise–begin to writhe to the beat, like hippies at Woodstock. The crescendo builds as the sun gets closer to the ocean and then positively explodes when it finally dips below. And then, it’s all over.

I used to live in Venice Beach when the Drum Circle was just a couple of guys having fun with their drums. The draw of the beat was always hypnotic and I’d often stop to enjoy it for a while when rollerblading past. The drummers quickly outgrew their little grassy spot next to the boardwalk, however, and eventually migrated down closer to the water where they remain today.