What: Culture Jam, featuring a concert by Ozomatli

When: 5-10 p.m. Saturday, June 22

Where: Left Hand Brewing, 1265 Boston Ave., with shuttle parking at Boulder County Fairgrounds

Cost: $25 at lefthandbrewing.com, $30 at door

Info: lefthandbrewing.com

Josh Goldberg wants to change the game in Longmont.

As the events and community coordinator at Left Hand Brewing, one of his roles is to organize concerts at Left Hand's Longmont facility. But his ambitions run well beyond wanting merely to draw people to Left Hand and promote the company. He wants to put on great shows. Period.

"I want to have people start thinking about Left Hand and Longmont as a rad place to see music," Goldberg said.

To that end, he booked Grammy-winning band Ozomatli to perform Saturday as part of Left Hand's summer concert series. The event, called Culture Jam, also features Denver Latin band Quemando, Longmont rock and funk band Mojomama, live painting by muralist Gamma Acosta, Boulder-based Samba percussion group Bateria Alegria and dance group Fiesta Colorado.

Ozomatli is a Los Angeles-based, six-piece Latin rock and hip-hop act that is influential both musically and politically. It has performed twice for President Obama and served on behalf of the U.S. State Department as cultural ambassadors on tours of Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. When Ozomatli visits Longmont, Goldberg believes, they will be among the biggest acts to have performed in the city in recent memory.

Goldberg has been setting the local music bar increasingly high. Last summer he organized a concert at Left Hand with Dark Star Orchestra, the popular Grateful Dead tribute band.

"Dark Star Orchestra really set the precedent to say, 'Well, we can do this, we can bring great music to Left Hand,' " he said.

His overall goal is to boost the music scene in the region.

"(We're) elevating the music scene in Longmont, bringing in bigger and better talent and creating a wild scene for the Northern Colorado area," he said. "I think this is pretty special."

Longmont funk and blues band Mojomama is scheduled to perform at Culture Jam.
Longmont funk and blues band Mojomama is scheduled to perform at Culture Jam. (Courtesy photo)

The DSO show was a benefit for first responders working on the High Park Fire, and the charitable nature of Left Hand's events is a running theme. The Ozomatli show is a benefit for Intercambio, a local nonprofit that provides cultural integration and English classes to immigrants, and for the Longmont YMCA.

This aligns with the spirit behind Ozomatli. In a phone interview this week, founding member Jiro Yamaguchi said the band formed after members met each other at a Los Angeles peace and justice center, and they performed their first shows to raise money for the center. They began doing similar shows related to social and health issues, and the next thing they knew they had a following.

"Suddenly we were doing national tours," Yamaguchi said.

Denver salsa band Quemando is on the bill for Left Hand’s Culture Jam.
Denver salsa band Quemando is on the bill for Left Hand's Culture Jam.

While the band expressly works to raise awareness of social justice issues, another side of it just wants people to have a good time.

"We also love to create a party with our music," Yamaguchi said.

The band performs in Colorado regularly. In 2011, it performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra. Ozomatli has performed with other symphony orchestras, but Colorado's was the most fun, Yamaguchi said. Conductor Scott O'Neil surprised everyone by pulling someone up to the stage and beginning to dance.

"It's not every day you get to see your conductor do the merengue," Yamaguchi said.

Culture Jam is sure to include its share of dancing.

The event is about celebrating the various cultures represented in Longmont, Goldberg said. It's a family friendly affair, and the YMCA will be offering free childcare during the event.

It will include food, refreshments, a bounce house and other attractions.

Quentin Young can be reached at 303-684-5319 or qyoung@times-call.com.