West Fest Takes UCSC

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The College Eight upper-lawn morphed from a quiet grassy plains to a music festival on Feb. 26 for West Fest.

KZSC, College Eight and Oakes senates collaborated for nine weeks to plan the festival. The organizations hope to bring it back next year.

“A big incentive for West Fest was getting an event on this side of campus,” said College Eight Senate co-chair Noah Thoron. “The east side has events like the Holi Festival and Rock and Roll on the Knoll, so we wanted to change that idea and establish an identity to the west side of UC Santa Cruz.”

Blast Process, a KZSC DJ, hyped the crowd during the opening act. He attracted people from nearby bus stops to come investigate the scene.

When third-year rapper Angie Batz took stage, the audience nearly doubled. The Los Angeles native freestyled a few bars for the growing crowd and had a flow reminiscent of old-school hip-hop with a West Coast style and an uptempo beat. This was her first time performing in about six months and in front of her biggest crowd yet.

“I got a little nervous,” Batz said. “Once the first few words came out, everything got easier, though.”

The College Eight Senate wanted to host an event this year, but looming El Niño weather and the logistics of renting an appropriate venue and equipment kept suspending progress. Initially, West Fest was intended to be a winter formal at West Field House or a smaller festival on the Oakes lower lawn, but plans shifted when College Eight Senate communications manager Leslie Magana partnered with KZSC.

KZSC DJ and promotions director Monica Salandra said the station handled most of the fest’s logistical aspects like compiling the set list and conducting outreach to local musicians, while College Eight and Oakes focused on other aspects of event planning. The Student Union Assembly gave $1,500 to fund free snacks for attendees during the festival.

KZSC received over 60 applicants to perform and used Soundcloud, Facebook and band websites to review applications and filter out any potentially profane or offensive content and violent behavior.

“We wanted to bring out people who were a little different,” Salandra said. “Pushing people’s boundaries when it comes to music and exposing them to different genres.”

Although second-year psychology major Lily Barba admits to being dragged to the event by her friend, she was glad she attended.

“There is a lot of energy here,” Barba said. “I didn’t expect there to be this many people. It would be cool to see more events here since this area isn’t utilized as often.”

The event was still operating smoothly after sunset with about 30 students waiting for the last set of the night, Sky Country, a group from Carmel Valley.

“This is a beautiful campus and it was an honor closing for West Fest,” said Sky Country guitarist Mikey Selbicky.