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Student radio station WVFI to host Spookyfest

| Friday, October 30, 2020

Jackie Junco | The Observer

Last year, the Notre Dame music scene was defined by sweaty, damp basements and crowded backyards — bodies slammed together in spontaneous mosh pits as students blared rock, indie and punk music from their instruments.

As students came back under new circumstances this semester, they wanted to recreate this student-centered space in a safe way. Senior and WVFI station manager Sophia Henn seeks to create just that with the WVFI Spookyfest on Friday. 

“The best of my college experience has been just going to a bunch of student shows, and we knew that we wouldn’t have that this semester,” she said. “But we wanted to give freshmen and students who didn’t have the opportunity to go to those things the opportunity to see what that was like.”

With music comes community. The community that was built through house shows the last couple of years was suffering while looking for a place to play, meet and welcome in new people. 

“We really wanted to have space where people on campus could play together … They really don’t have a place to play unless its AcoustiCafe, but they can get booked so quickly,” Henn said. “We want something student-organized, with student performers. We wanted to make it happen.”

Senior John Kling chose his band when he read John Steinbeck’s “The Wayward Bus.” He took one of the character’s names — Juan Chincoy — and, inspired by bands like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, threw together a couple of his dorm mates to create Juan Chincoy and the So and Sos. They will make their debut at the event on Friday.

Kling did not have a preference between student and University held events. AcoustiCafe was simply booked for the rest of the semester, so Spookyfest gave them a stage to perform before winter. 

The show, which will be held on Library Lawn, is open to new and established performers alike. Juan Chincoy and the So and Sos has a classic rock sound, but some of the other bands performing have indie, acoustic and punk vibes. 

“If I had to sum up our sound, we sound mildly rehearsed,” said Kling. “We just figured, why not? It was very casual. We’ve rehearsed three times now, and we sound pretty good. Hopefully we will by Friday.” 

Henn talked about how student-run and University hosted events feel different. Describing the University’s events, she said, “Sometimes it feels like we are back in Welcome Weekend.” 

Student-run concerts give students who the University might not usually reach out to the chance to perform. When the University held a music festival this fall, they reached out to more established acapella and affiliated groups, leaving out some established student bands and ignoring the opportunity to feature new bands.  

“I think student-run events are important, first of all, to show other students what it is possible to host,” Henn said. “I just think that we [the students] come up with different ideas than the University. It’s not a knock on them. I just think that we reach a different type of person.”

The relaxed attitude surrounding the event was a big reason why Kling decided to perform. 

“It’s just encouraging. It provides an audience, but it also doesn’t feel like there is a ton of pressure,” he said. “This is just more relaxed. There are plenty of people on campus who can play guitar and piano but they don’t feel compelled to do it in a public setting. If people can do it, they should.” 

In the end, the event gives students another chance to play music and be together. 

“It is all about the music for me,” Henn said. 

Spookyfest begins at 7 p.m. and there will be opportunities to support local charities. 

“Come to the show,” Kling said. “Listen to other artists. Support your friends who want to play music. It’s cool, and fun and chill.”

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