Matt Crowley/The AS Review
Looking for a bit of fun before dead week turns your brain to pudding? The Higginson Festival of Music, an annual event held by the Edens and Higginson residence halls, will start at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 21 in Red Square, giving students a welcome respite before finals take hold. The event, along with last weekend’s EndFair, comprises a year-end series of festivals celebrating local and national music and another great year at Western.
The free festival, also known as HIG FOM, will feature Lamppost Revival, Jesse Morrow, This Ambition, Noah Gundersen, The Pacific Madrone, Know Mercy, E-Clec-Ti-City and Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Coordinators Sarah Johnson and Samantha O’Brochta were chosen at the beginning of the school year through the Edens-Higginson Hall Council. Given a small budget, the pair had to find a way to bring great music to campus without breaking the bank.
“I’ve done this before, not HIG FOM but just concerts in the area,” said Johnson. “We didn’t have a budget at all, we started with nothing, so I was like, ‘Well, instead of getting big-name bands and spending a lot of money, let’s just do more local bands.’ It’s going to be great festival with all the new music.”
“I’m most excited for Noah Gundersen, because I did see him play earlier this year and he was really good and I like his style,” said O’Brochta. “He has awesome dreadlocks.”
The festival was originally supposed to have the theme “upside-down,” but it was scrapped in the planning stages. Besides that and a couple artist cancellations, the organizing has gone smoothly.
“Everyone’s been great and supportive, all the RAs are going to help during HIG FOM the whole day, there’s going to be security,” said Johnson. “We just had a meeting last night and everyone’s excited and pumped up. It’s great.”
Dwayne Taylor, the resident director for Edens-Higginson, has provided some assistance, but ultimately it’s up to the students to keep everything on track.
“Our role has been to help them navigate some of the administrative processes and paperwork as well as help students think through budget issues and connect them to other resources on campus,” said Taylor. “From beginning to end, this event is student-driven.”
Sam Eisen-Meyers, guitarist for the band E-Clec-Ti-City, praised the coordinators for their work, which is notable considering Eisen-Meyers is a coordinator himself, having been the AS Productions Pop Music coordinator since September 2010.
“I think that the coordinators of HIG FOM have done a great job of organizing and booking bands in a professional manner,” he said. “I’m looking forward to sharing our music to the campus.”
Each year, a new crew is appointed to organize the festival due to the constantly changing populations of the residence halls. This not only keeps the festival fresh, but also gives students opportunities they might not receive elsewhere.
“I like that they bring a lot of local up-and-coming bands and I really think it’s a great learning tool for future event programmers because they’re able to look at how to come across funding, how to do staging, how to contact and book bands, and I think they’re just a great place for people to come and interact,” said Eisen-Meyers.
And like many other local festivals, it’s good for the bands too, who get a chance to bring their music, in some cases, to a whole new audience.
“I’m excited for the community, Western, to hear these new bands and new artists and watch them grow in their musical career. I think that’s what is really exciting,” said Johnson.