Preview: 5C Fundraising Music Festival will be a ‘community effort of kinship’

White male college student sits at a desk making music with a laptop and electronic musical devices.
Musician Kevin Woods PZ ’22 uses his laptop to make and share music. (Luba Masliy • The Student Life)

Before social distancing became the norm, a musician’s biggest challenge during a music festival may have been stage fright. Now, it’s Wi-Fi. 

Coming to a screen near you May 31, the 5C Fundraising Music Festival will host a lineup of 17 student musicians, each playing sets less than an hour long from 12:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. During their time slot, each musician will be performing on Instagram Live through their own accounts.

The event is headed by student organizing groups Nobody Fails at Scripps, Nobody Fails at CMC and a group of Harvey Mudd College students, in an effort to fundraise for their respective student-run mutual aid funds. These funds will be provided to students negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, covering necessities such as housing, food and medical costs. 

Vani Dewan SC ’21, a Nobody Fails at Scripps organizer, said that the festival idea came to her in an effort to diversify fundraising efforts, which is “critical to a campaign that only exists on the internet.”

“There was probably a lot more we could do to be creative with our expression, to more personally connect with people,” she said. “This [festival] gives [artists] an opportunity to speak directly to their followings and say why this matters to them, why they should donate.”

Dewan acknowledged that each college’s unique responses to the pandemic have created different hardships for different student bodies, citing varying grading and housing policies. An event hosted “in the name of 5C solidarity” to fundraise for multiple student-run mutual aid funds would foster a needed sense of unity among students. 

“It’s also just a nice way to bring us back together as a community,” she said. “We’ve seen that the schools are operating very, very differently in response to the pandemic … I was thinking it would be nice to fundraise on behalf of all of us, so I hope that we are able to raise some money for the mutual aid funds together.”

Mary Celestin HM ’21, a musician performing at the festival, agreed that performing for her peers will be a means of unity. By translating her own way of processing hardship — music — to a larger audience, Celestin said she will be fulfilling her responsibility of helping her community.

“The question is, how can we help each other? … Well, we can get creative and focus on tangible, scalable efforts we can make for … our community,” she said via message. “This is a festival where artists across the 5Cs can showcase themselves — how they live, heal and grow through music — in support of students in need. [We] turn our respective healing processes — the art of making music — into a community effort of kinship.” 

Kevin Woods PZ ’22, also a festival performer, was quick to point out that the festival offers up the simple joy of connecting him with 5C friends he hasn’t seen in months.

“You know, the Wi-Fi here is bad, and my cellular connection is too, so we’ll see what happens!” he said, poking fun at the possibility of technical difficulties. “But really, I’m super excited just to see my friends perform. I haven’t seen them in so long and [online video] isn’t the same, but this will be close. Seeing them perform, broadcasting their own art, I feel like I’ll get a really, really good picture of my friends.”

Celestin, a seasoned live performer, is ready to put her virtual performance skills to the test. 

“I’m not sure how audio quality is going to work and I’ve never done an Instagram Live before,” she said. “We’ll roll with the punches, see what happens and have fun!”

More information about the festival and its fundraising can be found at its Facebook event page

This article was last updated May 31, 2020 at 9:44 a.m.

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