Monday, April 2, 2012

The Anti-College Fest Celebration

AS THE majority of LMU students marched in rank and file to College Fest, a concert featuring live acts from The Hush Sound and Gym Class Heros, there was another group of people celebrating music in a very different way.  Right out of LMU's back gates at the cleverly titled IHOP (International House of People),  a homegrown concert was brewing under the wonderfully antagonistic title, Anti-College Fest.  This concert, one that was held literally 500 yards away from LMU's College Fest, celebrated roots music and community in a way that seemed much more heartfelt and authentic than the drunken parade of College Fest, where an overdose is easier to witness than a gesture of sincerity. LMU's College Fest has built a reputation for itself amongst its student body for being a day that borders between Dionysian ritual and a modern Sodom and Gomorrah.  Someone always get hurt and a lot of people get drunk.  It's a busy day for EMT's and liquor stores, but the people always appear to be having fun (forgetting about the lineup that they were complaining of days before).

Anti-College Fest aroused from the idea of Chris Rowntree, an international student at LMU.  He came up with the concept because he was dissatisfied with the College Fest lineup.  Belonging to a community within LMU that has more musicians that one would imagine, it wasn't too farfetched of a notion to put on a homegrown show.  The idea was to set up a DIY show in the living room of IHOP and invite as many people as possible.  He called up his friends in Mojo Stone and Major Large and asked them to play.  Though Major Large couldn't do the show, their frontman Carey Alexander played a solo set to kick off the day before The Barefoot Bandits and Mojo Stone plugged in and things got nice and steamy.

As a participant and witness at the concert, the most overwhelming sentiment that was expressed went something along the lines of, "I'm so happy I came here instead of College Fest."  It was a self-contained event put on by the same community that it sought to entertain.  After Carey Alexander, The Barefoot Bandits, and Mojo Stone finished up their sets, the musicians took a break to hang out with their audience.  A couple drinks and a handful of laughs later, all of the participating musicians took the stage together for a collective jam session.  The audience continued to watch for another 20 minutes or so as the musicians - 2 drumsets going at once - played on the spot.  The whole event was loosely organized, intimate, and full of love.  It was an offering to the LMU population who felt the need for an Anti-College Fest experience instead of a standard celebration on one of LMU's biggest party days of the year.

-- Carey Uhl
 Photo Credit: Mane Entertainment

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