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Clocked Out: A Signal Hill sunset to the soundtrack of DJ Arron Herrera's record collection

Bring a blanket, your friends and some snacks for this priceless dusk DJ set at Hilltop Park.

Clocked Out: A Signal Hill sunset to the soundtrack of DJ Arron Herrera's record collection
Arron Herrera DJs atop Hilltop Park in Signal Hill on Sunday, July 7, 2024. Photo by Kat Schuster.

Breaking news.

I have found the perfect Sunday sunset hang in the greater Long Beach area — where all are welcome to share the golden hour and enjoy a free vinyl DJ set.

For nearly every Sunday since May 2023, Arron Herrera (DJ Waxsyndicate) has set up turntables and lugged boxes of records up to Hilltop Park in Signal Hill, a lush green space offering panoramic views of Long Beach and surrounding communities.

Since then, Herrera has gained a following and simultaneously created a sunset ritual for dozens, if not hundreds.

And this week, I was finally able to make it. Hopefully after reading this, you will too.

So, ~ the vibes ~ were akin to those I've experienced in Elysian Park in LA or Dolores Park in San Francisco. In third spaces like these, you need not wonder where the homies will be on Sunday night. Thanks to Herrera, we now have that at our very own Signal Hill.

Herrera begins his set at 5:30, but by the time my friends and I arrived around 6:30, Hilltop Park was already a sea of colorful blankets inhabited by couples, families and friends — a refreshing sight. We chose a spot close enough to hear Herrera's set and take in a clear view.

The soft-spoken Herrera told me he doesn't spin records anywhere else as he transitioned seamlessly from New Order's "Age of Consent" to The Cure's "Inbetween Days," noting that he's known for playing funk, Motown and soul at Hilltop Park but really, he spins whatever feels right for that moment.

Beside his DJ booth, you'll find a guest book with signed Polaroids of those who have enjoyed the weekly Hilltop hang. Herrera welcomes anyone to add to it.

Arron Herrera's Hilltop Park guest book.

"I don't know how long I'll be doing this," he said, adding that with his guest book, he hopes to document the community feeling each Sunday sunset has created.

Herrera says that its his tip jar that funds this project, so the guest book is a way of giving back.

"When this chapter ends, whenever that is, I want to be able to look back and physically hold something and say 'this is what I did, these are the faces/human beings I met," he told me on July 9.

Over the many months Herrera has been doing what I'll call a community service, he's upgraded his setup and equipment to provide a better listening experience for his growing audience.

As a DJ myself, I try not to take it personally when I look up from the DJ booth to see a tumbleweed blow across the bar. In the era of the $18 cocktail, it's a special treat to see a public space used this way. Way to read the room, Herrera.

Are you ready to join us this Sunday from 5:30 to sundown?

This last Sunday, we brought a blanket big enough to fit myself and two friends; fizzy waters, watermelon, chips and other snacks from Olives Gormet Grocer.

Hilltop selfie with my friends Amanda and Drew.
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Kat Schuster was laid off from the Long Beach Post on March 22, yet she still authors Clocked Out and serves as editor of the Watchdog without pay. Thank her for her work.

Here are my suggestions for the experience:

  • Bring a blanket to sit on or some folding chairs.
  • Pack some snacks and/or a full on picnic dinner (the folks next to us brought a HUGE spread from Portos and I was jealous).
  • Bring a trash bag. Don't litter.
  • Invite your family and/or your best buds.
  • If you're going solo, this is the perfect setting to draw, paint, journal or read.
  • Going with a group? Bring backgammon, chess, cards, etc.
  • If you arrive buzzed or on any other mind altering party favors, please Uber and Don't. Be. An. Asshole. 🙃

Herrera posts on his Instagram if ever he is unable to make it. Follow him here. His next DJ set will be this Sunday, July 14. See you there.

People watch the sunset in Hilltop Park. Photo by Kat Schuster.
Families gather around DJ Arron Herrera to hear his sunset record picks. Photo by Kat Schuster.

This story has been updated with additional comments from Arron Herrera.

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