Though Ivies has passed and the Whittier Field stage has been dismantled, the music isn't about to stop.
Quadzilla, a music festival sponsored by Bowdoin Music Collective (BMC), will throw the spotlight on student performers tonight on the Brunswick Quad from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Quadzilla is BMC's first big event of the semester and will also include art displays, frisbee, food and beverages. BMC wants to encompass a large section of Bowdoin's arts community to make Quadzilla a truly unforgettable event.
"We wanted to get a lot of different student groups involved—cultural groups, music groups, Res Life," said BMC co-president Mikel McCavana '12.
The main focus of Quadzilla is, of course, the live music performances from many of Bowdoin's student bands. BMC hopes that a night of live music will inspire more of the student population to appreciate what the College's musicians have to offer.
"The elephant in the room at live music shows is how to naturally appreciate live music while still being social and without appearing pretentious," said BMC co-president Nyle Usmani '12. "With Quadzilla, we want to take that elephant and put spikes on its back, make it stand up, and paint it green. It's going to be a spectacle."
Aggie Kelly '13 will be performing at Quadzilla with his band, The NARPS. Kelly said he is looking forward to bringing live music to a large audience.
"I think live music is awesome and that there's not enough of it," said Kelly. "Whenever there is live music, everyone loves it, but they don't always realize it."
Other performers at Quadzilla include Brillo, L Funk Quartet, Harmonic Frontier and George Ellzey '13.
Weather permitting, BMC hopes that Quadzilla will attack on Friday and perhaps become a staple event.
"We wanted something epic to end the year with, and hopefully if it is received well we can make it an annual event," wrote BMC member Nicole Love '14 in an email to the Orient. "I mean, who wouldn't want the 'Return of Quadzilla'?"
Though in only its second year of operation, BMC has become central to the music community on campus. In the fall, BMC raised over $500 through Rockistan Relief, a concert and fundraiser for flood relief in Pakistan.
"The fact that so much of the student body was not only willing to come and listen, but to donate to a great cause, was really awesome to witness," wrote Love.
BMC also held its second annual BMC Showcase at the end of fall semester for a packed crowd.
"We're planning on doing that every year," said McCavana. "It's a way for new bands to form and old bands to keep playing together."
BMC continued its Unplugged at the Café series throughout the year, featuring musicians such as Laura Kerry '12, Malachi Graham '12 and Louis Weeks '11.
"The point of Unplugged was so new musicians would have a really intimate, comfortable place to play in where they could closely connect with a smaller audience," said Usmani. "In that respect, it's a huge success."
Usmani also noticed a different attitude toward student bands on campus this year, thanks, he gathers, to BMC.
"Not a lot of social houses or official events had student bands play before BMC was created," said Usmani. "This year, Mr. Suds opened for Eli Reed, Call It The Truth played at multiple social houses, and [Weeks] and Brian Wu '11 opened for The Morning Benders."
Promoting student music performances is one of the main purposes driving BMC. McCavana and Usmani attended the same high school and were both struck by the lack of interest in student music when they arrived at Bowdoin.
"Generally, people weren't excited about hearing others play music, and people didn't play music because they didn't expect people to come to their shows," said McCavana. "It was a vicious cycle."
Both McCavana and Usmani count Hassan Muhammad '10 as an inspiration for how they could help other musicians gain more of a following on campus.
"Hassan transformed the way this campus viewed jazz music by setting up networks and putting up his own posters," said Usmani. "I was watching this really inefficient system where people with a lot of passion were struggling with the bureaucratic aspects of getting recognition."
According to McCavana, there are two functions of BMC: first, the group is a social network for people in bands and for those who want to be in bands, and second, the group helps book shows and advertise for bands. In fact, BMC helped bring together McCavana's own band, Call It The Truth.
"Call It The Truth is the most prominent band on campus right now, and it started at BMC," said Usmani. "All of the members talked to each other and jammed out right after a meeting."
BMC is the only formal organization that helps bring bands and musicians together on campus.
"I've seen a lot of collaboration between individual musicians, especially those that are more isolated by nature," said Usmani. "BMC allows everyone from acoustic musicians to songwriters to meet each other and play bigger venues."
BMC has also provided a home for those that appreciate music but do not necessarily play it.
"We have quite a few people who don't perform—even if you're not playing music, you're experiencing and contributing to it," said Usmani.
As a first year, Love was curious about the nature of BMC and joined it to learn more.
"At first I wasn't sure where I would fit in, since the majority of the group is comprised of student musicians, but there is still a place for those not as musically talented," wrote Love. "I love BMC's enthusiasm about creating a culture that supports live music, and to have a behind-the-scenes role [in] those events is really incredible."
While there are 250 to 300 people on BMC's mailing list, there is a core group of around 15 students that regularly attends every weekly meeting.
"It's great to know there is such a tight contingent of dedicated people who are willing to make our vision a reality on campus," said McCavana.
This core contingent helped BMC host 11 events last year and define its place on campus. While the group has already augmented the prevalence of student musical performances, McCavana and Usmani believe they still have a ways to go in creating a sustainable music scene.
"I wish Bowdoin had a cohesive scene that transcended the boundaries of individual bands," said Usmani. "I wish there was a big portion of the student body that went out to support student music and follow live music at Bowdoin."
McCavana believes another hindrance to the music scene at Bowdoin is a lack of variety in performing venues.
"The pub is a good venue, but people don't really come out to pub shows," said McCavana. "Social houses can be really raucous, crazy and fun shows. I've also seen bands play at off-campus houses—I think there needs to be more alternative venues like that."
BMC hopes to continue working toward the formation of a powerful music scene through a closer partnership with WBOR and is planning ambitious events for next year.
"Next semester, we want to do an off-campus music festival and camp out, hopefully at somewhere like the Coastal Studies Center," said McCavana. "Bands would play there and people would camp out overnight in the spirit of Coachella or Bonnaroo."
These types of events may just be possible with the increasing visibility of BMC on campus.
"Nyle and I feel a big difference from when we were first years until now—people talk about our shows," said McCavana. "The SAFC has been generous with giving us funding and helping us start what we want to be a movement."
As rising seniors, both McCavana and Usmani hope their organization will flourish and continue to aid student musicians for many years to come.
"I would be incredibly happy if I were to come back a few years out of college and see that there is this culture of going to concerts, supporting your friends playing in bands, and appreciating live music around here," said McCavana.
"I would like a future where BMC not only becomes the place to go for student musicians to band together, but also becomes a political voice for an active and vibrant community on our campus," said Usmani.
"I hope that the musicians at this school will be able to influence what kinds of musical acts come in and will get the chance to play alongside the acts of their dreams," he added.