Stoked for Sunburn

Photo by Lacey Jacoby

By Guadalupe Triana///Arts Editor

The weather for Saturday’s Sunburn music festival is looking quite predictable: cloudy with a chance of rain. Despite the fact that perhaps past KLC Board members were being a bit ironic by calling a music festival “Sunburn,” the annual event has become a symbol of the ongoing support and enthusiasm for live music at Lewis & Clark. This KLC musical bash promises many of the things that other music fests offer–except sunburns. While the KLC Board and the sun gods can’t assure a bustling, outdoor extravaganza, they can promise a solid Saturday date night with some national talent.

KLC’s annual Sunburn Music Festival will take place this weekend on Saturday, March 8. The festival will host nationally-known bands The Cave Singers and Shannon and the Clams. Student bands—The Goddamn Band and Sweatshop–will join the event with doors at 7:30 p.m. and show at 8 p.m.

“We stopped going for necessarily a name that everyone’s going to know [or] things that we think will attract certain people,” Events Manager Emily VanKoughnett (‘15) said. “That’s great if we can do it, but I think at this point, we’re just really determined to make a great show. If people want to [make] the effort to come see a free, cool show on campus that we’re trying to bring to them, then that’s great.”

Though the KLC Board booked artists a few months before the show, they cancelled their performance at Lewis & Clark. Both VanKoughnett and Sunburn Manager and Recording Studio Manager Nick Pimentel (‘15) attribute the cancellations to the competition that the Austin, Texas music festival South by Southwest poses this time of year.

“We’re just doing the best we can with the limited budget and the resources we have available to us. South by Southwest is happening right now, people aren’t on this side of the country right now,” Pimentel said.

Although the four band line-up is handled by a small team of dedicated music-goers and music-lovers, Pimentel and VanKoughnett claim that the process is just as complicated as any other event that ends with chance and luck.

“It starts with us liking a band, and so we’re like ‘okay, let’s see what’s up with this band.’ And then they say ‘yes’ or ‘maybe–do you have a starting bid?’ We always lowball them with $1,000 and they’re like ‘that’s ridiculous.’ Then we take a look at what types of venues they’re playing, who they’re on tour with, who their friends are. If they’re gonna play like fucking Coachella, we’re not going to get them for $2,000,” Pimentel said.


Another aspect of Sunburn that both VanKoughnett and Pimentel hope satisfies the student body is the diversity of the two bands playing. Unlike the past year where only all-male, indie bands took the stage, VanKoughnett echoes the excitement of the board to host two groups with varied styles.

“But what we got this year was something that I think we haven’t really represented in Sunburns in the past. We haven’t had like a bluegrass band kind-of-thing in a while and that’s something that Lewis & Clark loves,” VanKoughnett said. “I just love [Shannon and the Clams] for their image [and] what they do.”

In past years, Suntan, which was the pre-fest music gathering, has served as a crucial platform for up-and-coming bands was merged with Sunburn this year. Each year, the event took place right outside of the Co-op, which has since then been closed by the LC Administration. Pimentel said that because the Co-op is closed, they were forced to merge the two events together.

“The administration wants to make a point, which is a point worth making. I obviously think that people or that our alcohol and drug policy should be more lenient in the in interest of student camaraderie,” Pimentel said. “[However,] I understand where the administration is coming from and they want to keep things in check. It’s just, we’re gonna have a self-writing system as a result of the tension between administration and students and that’s proper.”

Pimentel and VanKoughnett hope that students will take advantage of this event by coming out and enjoying the free fest.

“We just try to create the best bill possible and hope that people will join and have a good time and enjoy themselves regardless,” Pimentel said.

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