Kohoutek Festival Preview

Comet Kohoutek was discovered by Czech astronomer Lubos Kohoutek in March 1973. As the comet soared through space, it caused quite a stir down on earth. The scientists and astronomers of the day overestimated the comet’s ability to put on a magnificent display upon entrance into the solar system, which made Comet Kohoutek the most highly publicized comet of all time. Hyped up as the “comet of the century,” it even inspired feelings of impending doom in some.

The comet inspired dozens of musical compositions and live performances, the spirit of which lives on in Kohutek. The Kohoutek Music and Art Festival, taking place next weekend on the Pitzer mounds, will feature a number of diverse music acts, including local talent from the 5Cs as well as more widely known artists. In past years Zion I, Sublime, The Roots, Rage Against the Machine, No Doubt, and other famous musicians have graced the stage. In addition to diverse live music, Kohoutek also features many artistic attractions, including glass blowing and spray painting demonstrations by local artists. The seductive combination of a Southern California weekend with free food, beer, art, and good music ensures that the Kohoutek festival will live up to its expectations.

The festival will begin at 3 p.m. next Friday, Apr. 24. At 11:45 p.m. the festival will feature its first headliner, the punk/dance duo of Matt & Kim. The two met in 2004 at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. They have since recorded two albums, appeared on MTV2, and performed at Lollapalooza, winning over many with their danceable rhythms and energetic performances.

On Saturday, the festival will begin at noon, and will be later headlined by Blu and Mr. Lif. Blu is an up-and-coming rapper from San Pedro, California. Recently his indie-rap music has won him some recognition in the world of hip hop. He has been named Rookie of the Year (2007) by HipHopDX.com and one of the “Top 10 Freshmen of ’09” by XXL magazine. Blu will start performing at 11 p.m. on Saturday, and will be followed by Mr. Lif. Mr. Lif is a Barbadian hip hop artist from Boston, noted for the political side of his music. Saturday’s headliners promise to provide an exceptional show for hip hop fans.

Kohoutek will feature many other music acts in addition to these three headliners. In Apr. 4’s Battle of the Bands at the Grove House, bands from around the 5Cs competed for spots in next weekend’s festival. Each band was given fifteen minutes to play, and the Kohoutek planning committee judges announced the winners a week later. Be sure to check out the performances by student bands Atypical Vibe, Jerms, the Self-Interest Collective, Click Too, and Sparagmos.

Drummer Nick Tagliarino PI ’11 of Sparagmos had a great time qualifying, citing his band’s “extreme” qualifying performance. Tagliarino characterized Sparagmos as a “psychedelic surf-rock band with a bit of post-rock style,” and was very pleased with the crowd’s reaction to the band’s music at the Battle of the Bands. “We got a mosh pit going. Some teeth were chipped and a phone was cracked. Arms and limbs were flying everywhere.” Tagliarino said that Sparagmos will attempt to replicate this “awesome experience” next weekend, when he will once again take the stage alongside bassist Evan Kelly and guitarists Carter Rubin PI ’09 and Nick Humphrey PI ’11.

Tagliarino, obviously excited for the festival, expressed a great deal of gratitude towards the Kohoutek Planning Committee. The committee, which Tagliarino complimented for being “really well organized in running the event,” has been planning the festival all year long. According to Tagliarino, the committee “did a great job picking the bands” that will be featured at Kohoutek, selecting a wide variety of musical acts that should appeal to a wide audience.

So why should one take the time and effort to trek up to the Pitzer mounds next weekend? According Tagliarino, “It’s simple. Three reasons: beautiful women, crunchy tunes, and a serene setting.”

It’s hard to argue with that.

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