Traditionally spring yields a tough semester at Colgate, with an antsy student body sitting dutifully in class while anxiously awaiting warm weather and Spring Party Weekend. But believe it or not, this year students may have a little more to look forward to.
It seems that ‘Gatestock, an event in the works for mid-April, is rapidly becoming Colgate’s own Cinderella story. Originally it was going to be an outdoor concert focused on bringing together various Colgate performance groups, but now the event looks to be a massive collaborative festival. Essentially, it will be “a celebration of everything Colgate-related,” according to senior Jake Musiker, an organizer of the event.
The vision is to have Whitnall Field bookended by two performance stages, with a range of carnival activities at its center. The event is being planned for April 17, the Saturday before Spring Party Weekend, and the festivities will last “probably from noon until whenever the sun goes down,” according to Musiker.
Pioneered by members of Broad Street Records seniors Jake Musiker, Jacob Epstein, Eli Raffeld, Collin McLoughlin and sophomore Andy Peng, the idea has grown rapidly into what Peng hopes will be the “biggest collaborative event Colgate has ever had.”
“We have two stages and it’s an all day thing, so there will be more than enough time for everyone to contribute,” Musiker said, adding that the emphasis of the event is on inclusion and diversity. Their focus is now on getting as many student groups as possible to contribute, either to put together a stand, sponsor a carnival activity, put on a performance or just lend a helping hand.
For example, Sister to Sister is going to sponsor a moon bounce, obstacle course and inflatable hoops while Brothers wants to be in charge of a football-throwing competition. The Italian club, on the other hand, is thinking about just giving out lots and lots of Italian food.
“We want it to be different from other events, so that students are constantly engaged and have stuff to do,” Peng said.
Broad Street Records is a very new student group, officially founded as a campus record label. It received Student Government Association (SGA) approval last semester but is really emerging this semester, as it plans ‘Gatestock and releases a compilation CD of student bands and independent artists on campus.
Although Broad Street Records is run mostly by seniors at the moment, according to Musiker, it was sophomore Andy Peng who brought the ‘Gatestock idea to the table. Peng has not been satisfied with the existing music scene on campus, especially for rock and alternative musicians.
“There are lots of performance opportunities but they are all sort of isolated,” Peng said. “I wanted one big event that would unite all Colgate performance groups, take them out of their separate microcosms and bring them to the public.”
This desire to increase opportunities for musicians began when Peng first arrived at Colgate. After playing in lots of garage bands in high school he was surprised to find no comparable music scene here. So first he began the Colgate Rock and Roll Association for Brothers and Sisters (CRRABS), a group that was “created initially to unite musicians on campus and get them to play together,” Peng said.
CRRABS gradually became a performance group itself, and has played at many events on campus. But according to CRRABS musician junior Mark Fabros, the band is used to playing for empty crowds.
‘Gatestock will hopefully begin to fix that. Since the release of the Colgate Campus Life Survey last semester, the idea that students are too segregated in their own student groups has been discussed. The organizers of ‘Gatestock are looking for the event to be a unifying force.
“Our idea is that the school doesn’t have to shell out a gazillion dollars to attract everybody to a common cause,” Musiker said.
Now that they have a lot of student groups on board, their next step will be to send in their proposal to the Budget and Allocations Committee (the BAC). They are planning to include local businesses as well, with food provided by local restaurants and maybe a raffle to raise money for the Hamilton Food Cupboard.
Broad Street Records is hoping to make this the biggest event Colgate has ever seen, and – if all goes well – an annual endeavor. And since it is an event designed entirely by students for students, it will capitalize on a fantastic Colgate student tradition: “not only will we have free food, but there will be free t-shirts!” Peng said.