City Different Fest
Santa Fe University of Art and Design hosted an entirely student produced and organized music festival the weekend of Sept. 23-24. The event, City Different Fest, was free to attend, spanned over two days and had approximately 17 performances on the line-up—ranging from current students, alumni, and out of state bands touring through the southwest.
It was 56 degrees as the sun was setting on the Quad Saturday night. Students were still filling in, bundled up in winter jackets and blankets. The densest crowd was dancing at the front of the stage, illuminated with red lights; both because the music was great and because the temperatures were still plummeting. One of the students ran up to the microphone and yelled “the only way to survive is to dance to stay warm!”
It was Friday night when the weather began to worsen and Potato Juice took the stage as one of the first SFUAD bands to perform. Jonah Rydin, who is a singer in the group, wasn’t phased by the cold, saying “It rained in my face during our set and I thought that was awesome.”
Despite the rain and frigid fall weather, students were thrilled to get up on stage and show off what they had been working on. Michael Feldman, guitarist for Potato Juice, said being able to play the event “makes us feel a lot more comfortable on stage performing for a crowd, and just getting that experience is a reinforcement for us. It’s also the beginning of the year and all the new students coming by get to know what we really do and what our music is really about; it gave a new and bigger audience to a lot of the bands.”
Overall, the festival seems to have been well received. Nicholas Quintero, a senior in the Contemporary Music Program, who was in charge of booking for the event, said he believes the show was a success, “in regards to the performances, sound, lights, and the flow of the event, we nailed it.” The only concern Quintero seemed to have was the attendance saying, “I wish we had more students in the audience—not to mitigate the participation of those that were there—because this collaboration of arts creates an experience based product, and the only way to access its merit, and gain inspiration by productions like City Different Fest, is to attend and see what you can take away from it.”
Due to the cold, the crowd had thinned out significantly by late Saturday night but those who were still in attendance huddled around each other talking about favorite performances from Friday. It was no surprise to hear that a SFUAD favorite, SpaceMob, was still fresh in everyone’s minds.
Front man Ridd SpaceLee Prime, was still smiling when we sat down to talk about how the event had gone for his group. After saying that SpaceMob was ready to change the world with their music, and performances of all kinds will help achieve that, Prime said he thought the event could have been promoted a little better, but also mentioned, “I love performing, and whether there are 10 people or 10,000 people I’m going to be successful if I am on stage.”
One of the best parts of City Different was watching the school come together and enjoy something that their peers worked so hard to create. Quintero was adamant about how shows like this can “illustrate what we can accomplish as young artists and professionals” adding that, “there is no exclusivity or limits to create and produce a product of this magnitude, or of any size.”
When Quintero was asked what he hoped students would take away from City Different Fest, he said: “Have no doubt that whatever you want to accomplish, you can, and while it might take several attempts, the most important duty to ourselves as artists is to actualize our ideas! I hope next City Different Festival we can make it bigger, better, and see even more of our peers and community enjoying the experience!”