Llama Committee Broadens Horizons, Re-envisions What Festival Will Be

This year, the Llamapalooza Committee is changing things up. The committee met this past Monday to discuss ideas, plans, and challenges leading up to this year’s Llamapalooza, Colorado College’s annual music festival affectionately known to students as “Llama”. This year, senior Mads Engel and juniors Noah Fabie and Maria Cortner are co-chairs of the committee. There are 17 members on the committee.

Compared to previous years, this year’s Llamapalooza Committee is comprised of not only people who have an up-to-date understanding of what is happening in music, but also people who are dedicated to the festival experience and atmosphere.  Engel said, “There’s been a shift to try and get more of the community involved.” This year, the co-chairs looked for people who had strong opinions and specific projects they wanted to implement regarding merchandise, art, film, lighting, and design.

The most prominent aspect of Llama is, of course, the music. Each member of the committee is currently in the process of preparing band pitches to be submitted next weekend. Each member is responsible for suggesting three bands, which are then passed through a multi-round selection process.

This careful selection process is crucial in bringing a variety of bands to the college that appeal to CC students’ interests. Fabie said, “I think variety is important, but you want to respect that you’re spending money on behalf of the students.”

As the process of selecting performers continues, the committee must consider important aspects of what these performers represent and what they will contribute to the CC campus. Engel said, “This year we do want to keep a focus on people of color in the lineup.” Fellow committee member junior Amelia Eskenazi provided important insight on how the committee thinks about and prioritizes where money should go. Eskenazi said, “We should be very intentional about who’s getting what amount of money,” and when looking at artists, “why they’re making their music and what they stand for as people.” It is this care and awareness in the performer selection process that aims to bill Llama as an inclusive, relevant, and imperative event toward improving CC’s sense of community. “There are hundreds of lineups that we could have. We have this opportunity to really think about the impact we’re making with our artist choices,” adds Engel.

The Llamapalooza Committee is also working with the Feminist Coalition (FemCo) and the Black Student Union (BSU) to try and bring diversity to the lineup. Additionally, junior Sam Fesshaie, the vice president of the CCSGA subcommittee on inclusion has been sitting in on some of the Llama meetings to add another perspective and contribute to the process.

Another attraction of the event that will have more directionality and impact this year is the arts. Senior Nelson Kies urged the committee to think about “how [they can] mess with the social interactions that happen at Llama.” That means encouraging students to interact with each other in different ways, or even with people they would not normally interact with. Ideally, these interactions will take place through the implementation of more interactive art at Llama, including art that students can contribute to. Kies said, “While the couch is a staple of Llama and a comfort to many overwhelmed at the event, it can also make interactions between people limited. I’d like to provide different outlets where strangers can interact positively and playfully with art as well as each other.”

Another potential change this year is the creation of a more cohesive area for student art to be displayed and created, as opposed to the dispersed approach last year. This area may include a projection tent playing student films, or even a virtual reality experience. Junior Emma Antall is also in the process of creating a second stage for Llama that will house other performing arts such as spoken word, stand-up comedy, and dance in between the set times of the larger musical performers.

Another important discussion that took place was regarding the ever-varying Colorado Springs weather. Although there has not been a planned rain site in previous years, the Llama Committee hopes to have a concrete plan this year in case it does rain.

While it is more likely that lightning would cause an outdoor Llama to be cancelled, there was an instance four years ago when the rain was so torrential that a sinkhole formed where the stage was supposed to be built. These potential rain plans are still very much undecided. But the committee underscores that it is a top priority so that Llama can happen regardless of the unreliable spring weather in Colorado.

Any CC students interested in submitting ideas to the Llamapalooza Committee should email llamapaloozaCC@gmail.com

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