KJACK day: providing opportunity for musicians and audiences

 
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BY CALEB MCCLURE —

Twelve dedicated bands and the team at Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) KJACK radio station battled through obnoxious spring winds in order to put on the 12th annual KJACK Day.

Ryan Osterman, Trevor Hedges, Garrett Tretta, Evan Kees and Tyler Kees of Sundressed perform during KJack day. KJack hosted live music and entertainment to promote the radio staion all day in Heritage Square April 13. (Photo by Holly Mandarich)

Ryan Osterman, Trevor Hedges, Garrett Tretta, Evan Kees and Tyler Kees of Sundressed perform during KJack day. KJack hosted live music and entertainment to promote the radio staion all day in Heritage Square April 13. (Photo by Holly Mandarich)

KJACK Day has been a part of the community since KJACK radio started in 2001. It is an all day event complete with trivia, free prizes and 11 local Arizona bands with one band hailing from southern California. It is the station’s biggest event of the year and an opportunity to connect with their listeners.

“It’s just something we like to do to get the community involved with KJACK radio station and also a fun event we put on for students so they can get off campus and just kind of hang out and listen to good music. It’s mainly just for bonding with the community,” said Alex Kubiak, a sophomore electronic media and film major, as well as assistant promotions manager for the radio station.

KJACK Day was an all-day event and there no lack of preparation that went into putting it on. The team at KJACK started preparing for April 13’s event in the beginning of fall semester by booking bands and the space at Heritage Square. As well as booking the bands and space, they also launched a fierce advertising campaign while figuring out all the other general logistics that go into a 12-band musical festival.

The festival also gave the clubs at NAU an opportunity to do some advertising of their own. From Relay for Life to the NAU tuba-euphonium (who would sell and play tubagrams in between sets) everyone had something different and exciting to contribute.

The bands consisted mostly of the adamantly alternative type (a vague description, but the only one to describe the majority). Switching it up was the sweet and sultry sounds of Celtic folk, coming from the impressively young Anam Cara Dixon.

The crowed peaked at around 1 p.m. to see The Haymarket Squares, a self-described punkgrass band from Phoenix. Punkgrass is the term they used to describe their unique punk-rock meets bluegrass sound. They sang rebellious angst-filled lyrics with the boot-pounding rhythms of fast passed bluegrass-all with the primitive twang of acoustic instruments.

The laid-back local nature of the event gave audience members a rare opportunity to meet some of their favorite local musicians.

“I think it’s really cool that they create an environment where local artists play and you can just hang out with them,” said Bea Ronan, a sophomore biology major.

Bea, who is also an aspiring musician, used the festival to expand her musical horizons by setting up a meeting with the musicians of Flagstaff’s Them Savages to learn some more guitar and rock out.

Audience members are not the only ones who enjoy the mellow atmosphere of KJACK day. For other non-northern Arizona bands, KJACK day is an opportunity to get out of the smoldering southern heat and play an outdoors show where they will not need a fresh IV to replenish their lost fluids afterwards. In the case of Tempe natives Playboy Manbaby, the best part of the festival came from one of the simplest, yet most satisfying affects a band can have on their audience.

“We like dancing with all the kids that come out,” said Eryn Wise of Playboy Manbaby.

The dancing almost never ceased during the entire eight-hour event, with the kids showing as much passion for the music as the musicians themselves, and of course, KJACK radio.

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