Krampus Los Angeles was conceived in 2013 by artist Al Guerrero as a costumed troupe intent on undertaking an inagural Krampus run (“Krampuslauf“) in the city. Early in the planning stages fellow artist and Krampus expert Al Ridenour came aboard as co-director, and an additional event, the Krampus Ball, was added to the 2013 schedule. In 2014, Ridenour translated and began annual productions of 19th-century Krampus play as well as presenting lectures on the Krampus assisted by costumed appearances of folkloric figures. Mask-making workshops and other innovations are in the works for 2016. Since 2014, our St. Nicholas has been heroically portrayed by actor Rick Galiher.
Though traditional dates for Krampus activities are December 5 & 6, our California celebrations spill generously beyond those dates, beginning around the end of November and running nearly till Christmas.
In 2014, Krampus Los Angeles brought the first costumed participants from Europe to participate alongside an American troupe, members of the prestigious Alt Gnigler Krampus Perchten Pass of Salzburg. In 2015, we hosted the first large-scale visit from an international troupe, 13 members of the Moor troupe (Moorpass) from Maishofen, Austria. Since the beginning, we have also drawn costumed participants from elsewhere in California, including members of the Bay Area group Beast Bay Krampus.
In efforts to keep our festival attuned with its European roots, we’ve fostered ties with German cultural organizations in Los Angeles, including the Goethe Institut, German dining, shopping, and entertaining complex, Alpine Village, and the G.T.E.V. D’Oberlandler, a Bavarian music and dance preservationist group that has performed with us since our inception.
Guerrero’s and Ridenour’s initial interest in producing costumed street events originated with their involvement in the guerrilla theater style excursions of the Cacophony Society.
In 2015, founder Al Guerrero moved on to other creative endeavors, leaving his duties to Ridenour, who now produces the festival with the help of artist Christian Pitt and others.