As festival season approaches, the same names tend to appear on lineup announcements across the country. Most musicians are selected by popular demand, attracting “trap queens” and EDM fans who will pack the stadiums and lawns.
But the rare music festival that exceeds the audience’s expectations of the genres that are normally represented in festivals is something to hold onto. KZSC, in collaboration with Colleges Eight and Oakes, is hosting West Fest, a music festival featuring local talent and vendors on the west side of campus.
The idea to plan a music festival on the west side came from a new student taking the Intro to Radio course this quarter.
“She was volunteering at the time and expressed interest in the promotions position and working with me and she was like, ‘You know, I have a roommate from College Eight Senate. Maybe we can do a music festival,” said KZSC’s promotions director and DJ Monica Salandra.
Salandra wasn’t concerned with the unspoken rules of hosting a music festival. In planning West Fest, Salandra concentrated on the music and messages of artists to help craft the lineup.
“I don’t know if I could pick a favorite genre, but my votes [for West Fest] were definitely SPC-CDT and Christine from his&herAnatomy is my good friend, but I really wanted them to be there because they have really awesome messages in their music,” Salandra said.
The “votes” Salandra refers to were casted by a group of seven KZSC DJs. After sending out a questionnaire for potential bands through Facebook and other forms of social media, the group sifted through almost 70 applications.
Surprised by the number of local artists interested in performing, the KZSC team listened to the music submissions separately and reconvened to decide on the festival lineup.
Musical preferences varied amongst this group of radio DJs, but during the selection process they were all able to agree on a lineup.
“There were six other DJ’s who were helping me with the lineup [for West Fest],” Salandra said. “We all have completely different tastes in music so it was cool to get together and end up picking a lot of the same artists.”
While the KZSC team found the talent for West Fest, Colleges Eight and Oakes centered their attention on logistics and other festival amenities. Fernanda Madrigal, co-leader of the logistics committee for West Fest, spends most of her time delegating tasks for the West Fest volunteer team, obtaining equipment for the show and most importantly making sure all the attendees will be hydrated and well fed.
Free food has been donated by local businesses and purchased by the colleges. Additionally, the festival will display student artwork and have about 10 to 12 campus organizations tabling throughout the afternoon.
This festival offers its audience a variety of music, from rap to rock and even a cellist on the lineup. Santa Cruz natives and musical duo, Mesha L and SPC-CDT were introduced to the show through a friend on Facebook. As experimental hip-hop artists, their conscious lyrics over smooth, melodic sounds and old school hip-hop beats defies the laws of today’s hip-hop music. Priding themselves on their versatility, the duo’s contributions to West Fest’s eclectic set list won’t go unnoticed.
“[Our music] is not like your everyday ‘boots and cats, but it definitely has that basic part of it. We put in a lot of spacey tunes,” Mesha L said. “It’s really refreshing for me because I’ve worked with other hip-hop artists, and it’s always the same shit. It was really exciting to jump into something different and still bring hip hop to it.”
In assembling performers like Mesha L and SPC-CDT for West Fest, Salandra knew the combination of artists would spark curiosity from the audience. The festival lineup will also include his&herAnatomy, grammy-nominated cellist, Rushad Eggleston, Solar Glory, me pretty, Angie Batz and Sky Country. KZSC DJs will also mix on the turntables in between performances.
“Ultimately, we wanted different genres to be represented,” Salandra said, “We wanted to make it a little weird because KZSC isn’t into mainstream music really. So we might put people out of their comfort zones. There may be some acts where people are like, ‘OK, this is weird but whatever.’ But hopefully there’ll be some nice surprises.”
West Fest is a free event and will take place on the College Eight Upper Lawn on Friday, Feb. 26 from 4-7 p.m.