Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitsquatch brings Tacos, Bands and Dancing to Ankeny

Photo by Cooper Andersen

Stage lights and the sunset illuminate a swirling crowd of swing dancers while bluegrass music plays in the background at the Whitsquatch Music Festival held on April 19. At Whitsquatch, hundreds of Whitman students attended and enjoyed local bands, free food and merch. The long-awaited music festival included a host of Whitman students performing and entertaining. Giacomo Jack Bocci, senior geology major, found the performances by other students to be especially crucial to making the evening memorable.

“I got this amazing food. And now I’m listening to this. Bluegrass fiddle music … it’s very jovial. Everywhere I see are happy faces. These folks are really good, I love their vibe,” Bocci said. 

Goldie Cameron, a sophomore art and film and media studies major, helped run the event with a committee of fellow students. Cameron found herself helping in every corner of the festival, ensuring it had a smooth flow on the day of the event. Cameron is overjoyed at the manifestation of her team’s work and at the bands who performed.

“This event was absolutely a success. The festival was successfully done on a grander scale than ever before, and we had over 450+ attendees! Outside of the logistical success, people had fun. The smiles on people’s faces made literally everything worth it,” Cameron said. “Someone told me it was one of the best days of their lives afterward which meant so much to me.” 

Big Joe’s Tessa Schwartz and Gwen Marbet held the audience captive throughout their rollicking set.

For those performing, Whitsquatch is a crucial moment to showcase hard work and talented musicianship. Tessa Schwartz, a sophomore psychology major and member of the band Big Joe, has always wanted to play in a band and found that community at Whitman.

“I started the band pretty much as soon as I got to Whitman. I’ve been playing music my whole life. I knew coming in, I wanted to keep doing that. And I was really lucky to find other people that also wanted to play music,” Schwartz said.

Whitsquatch is also Big Joe’s first large staged performance. Schwartz and the whole band were overjoyed to be able to perform their music on stage, especially since most students at Whitman who see live performances do so in someone’s backyard or living room.

“We’re really excited to play Whitsquatch. The Battle of the Bands was a big moment for us. I’ve done band competitions and things like that before, but only in a bluegrass context. And so for a bluegrass band to be competing against these rock bands that are just a wall of sound, it can be kind of intimidating to go up there and play acoustically,” Schwartz said. “We were really honored to be recognized in that way [and know that] our music is also something that people are interested in and want to listen to. We can get the crowd going as much as a loud punk band.”

Cameron hopes that Whitsquatch becomes a mainstay in the Whitman experience and something students can look forward to every year. A variety of bands were recruited and in Whitman fashion, made the whole event a diverse host of musical performances.

“This event was rebuilt from the ground up by our hands and we plan to continue making it better into the future. The day of the event went perfectly, all of the bands did absolutely amazing,” Cameron said. “From the warm homey buzz of Big Joe causing people to whimsically dance their hearts out, to Love Brunch creating a rowdy mosh, everything went perfectly. And I’m so honored to have had Pleasure Cult fly out for the show. Talking with them was wonderful, they were all such sweet people.”

Local musical performances continue to be a highlight of people’s Whitman experiences and Whitsquatch is no exception. Students who missed this year’s Whitsquatch can look forward to next year’s event as Whitman revives this exciting tradition.

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