This year’s Spring Fest which featured performances by student bands and headliner Hunny, was held on the Academic Quad April 8. The event was created collaboratively by the Programming Board and KOXY. The Programming Board manager Téa Murphy (senior) said the collaboration between the two largest music and concert-producing groups at Occidental was an opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind event.
Karim Abraham (senior), station manager for KOXY, said changing the format of Spring Fest from a concert-style event with a single headliner to a music festival experience was a conscious decision on the part of KOXY and the Programming Board. Abraham said the goal is to allow students to gain exposure to a wide range of artists and genres and to create a community-oriented music space.
“We wanted to take the focus off of everyone coming for one big artist and instead create a space where students can get to know local and student artists,” Abraham said. “I want people to come and discover something new.”
Murphy said Spring Fest has always been an event that brings members of the Occidental community together, and that she believes the festival format aligns with that vision.
“It is a really uniting event for people here. A lot of the students here are interested in live music, and enjoy concert-going,” Murphy said. “Bringing that to campus allows everyone to come together in a nice way. I hope that students, especially first years, leave feeling a little bit closer to their community.”
Murphy said trying a new format also provided an opportunity to showcase a variety of music genres.
“We’ve had rap and hip hop artists for the past few Fall Fests and Spring Fests, so we thought we would switch up the genres for Spring Fest,” Murphy said. “It made perfect sense to work with KOXY, because they’re doing more of an indie rock and alternative rock kind of thing with a lot of their shows. We just thought that indie rock would be really fun for Spring Fest.”
Abraham said booking the artists was a challenge as bands and individual performers have limited availability and often busy touring schedules. Since Occidental is competing for artists with larger schools in the area that have larger budgets, Abraham said the budget for the event also made the booking process especially difficult.
“I think the big draw for getting bands to come here and what I think will allow for us to get more bands in the future is that we are located in the middle of where all of the up-and-coming indie artists are living,” Abraham said.
Abraham said performing at Spring Fest not only allows student artists to gain exposure on campus but also to interact with professional artists on an even level.
“I hope student performers meet these local bands and talk to them about gigs,” Abraham said. “Then we can start creating networks out of this that will allow us to have more of a strong DIY music community that comes out of Occidental.”
Gabriel Morton* (junior) is a member of Jane Street, a band made up of Occidental students that has played at a number of SOAP Box talks and house parties throughout the academic year. Morton said he appreciates that student artists have been invited to perform at Spring Fest and is excited to share a stage with touring bands.
“Performing is a thrill,” Morton said. “In general, it’s awesome to get our music out to more people at Occidental and cause a ruckus on the Occidental College campus. It’s exciting.”
Getting a behind-the-scenes look at how other musicians operate is one of the aspects of Spring Fest Morton said he was most looking forward to.
“I’m definitely always eager to chat with other musicians in general. So that would be cool if the opportunity arises,” Morton said.
Murphy said she hopes people leave Spring Fest feeling inspired by the music they heard and excited to go to more local shows. Murphy said her first Spring Fest was one of the first times she felt connected to the Occidental community, and she said she hopes other students had a similar experience.
“Music is something that’s for everyone and it’s for everyone to participate in,” Abraham said. “I hope that this is a good opportunity to break down the boundaries that you might have going to a more typical concert with an artist that you feel like you can’t talk to, and that instead, we create an environment where everyone feels like they’re a part of it.”
*Gabriel Morton is a writer for The Occidental
Contact Eliza Kirk at firstname.lastname@example.org