Proceeds from CMC’s annual McKenna Palooza concert go to suicide prevention group

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Nearly 1,000 students flocked to Claremont McKenna College’s Green Beach last Saturday for the school’s annual McKenna Palooza, which returned this year with thumping bass, flashing lights and an important new cause.

After canceling Wedding Party earlier this semester following two student deaths on campus, ASCMC redirected the funds that would have gone to the $29,800 party to McKenna Palooza. With the additional money, they said via email that they were able to make this year’s event free and open to the 5C community.

Instead of charging an entry fee, ASCMC encouraged students to donate to them via Venmo, and said in the Facebook event that 100% of the donations would go to the JED Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to suicide prevention and mental health advocacy for students. They raised $113 in donations, according to an email Chandler Koon CM ’20, ASCMC’s vice president of student affairs, sent to CMC students April 17.

ASCMC also donated $5,000 that was going to go toward Wedding Party to the JED Foundation, according Koon’s email.

Last year, ASCMC donated profits from the concert’s ticket sales, which totaled $6,000, to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, according to Daniel Hayon CM ’21, ASCMC’s former events commissioner.

This year, ASCMC partnered with music event promotions company Kingdom of Mind to bring in several EDM artists, according to the Facebook event.

Audien, a Grammy award-nominated record producer, DJ and electronic dance music artist, headlined the concert. Also performing were Regulus, Plumpy and Très Mortimer; the latter two are electronic artists signed to Los Angeles-based record label Mad Decent.

Hayon, who helped plan McKenna Palooza this year and last, said via message that it takes at least six months of preparation. He described the concert as his “favorite event at the 5Cs.”

“Not only is it a fundraiser for the most amazing foundations, but it really captures my love for EDM music,” he said. “It was so amazing to get to see Audien literally in my backyard.”

Priya Kareti SC ’21, whose friends convinced her to go, said via message that she was glad she went.

“I thought it’d be like Pirate Party,” Kareti said. “But I thought McKenna Palooza was way more fun.”

Amelia Hahn SC ’21 also attended McKenna Palooza this year. She said via message that she didn’t know any of the artists but thought the music was “pretty hype for dancing.”

Not everyone had a great time.

Vi Nguyen CM ’21 described the concert as “scary,” explaining that her sunglasses were ripped out of her bare hands. Kareti also said one of her friends got pushed down and dislocated her kneecap, but popped it back into place.

Hayon acknowledged pushing and overcrowding does happen at events like this.

Overall though, he said this year’s event “went really smoothly.”

This article was updated April 17 at 9:13 a.m. to update ASCMC’s donation total to the JED Foundation once it became available.

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