Songwriters Association to host music festival Kresgepalooza for student artists


Photo courtesy of Eddie Ko

SWAN hosts Kresgepalooza as a casual space for Northwestern students to perform their original music.

Annie Xia, Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor

Last quarter, Communication junior Eddie Ko was walking through Kresge Hall when an idea hit him: What if the classrooms along a hallway were transformed into intimate music venues? Soon after, Kresgepalooza was born.

Ko, the co-president of the Songwriters Association at Northwestern, said he wanted to create an event that would be a cozy and casual space for students to perform their original music.

“There’s just so many talented students on campus who are singer-songwriters, composers, arrangers, producers,” Ko said. “The fact that there’s a lack of performances does not mean there’s a lack of talent or interest.”

SWAN will host Kresgepalooza on Friday as its main spring show. More than 20 acts are scheduled to perform, all of which are NU students. Five classrooms will be color-coded with stage lights to indicate the type of music: Yellow Room for bands, Blue Room for singer-songwriters, Red Room for all genres and Dark Room for DJs.

Some students, like McCormick junior Huma Khan, will be performing their music for the first time. Khan said she hadn’t told people about her songs until recently, but she sees SWAN and Kresgepalooza as low-stakes opportunities to share her music.

“I had eventually wanted to perform in coffee shops or find gigs,” Khan said. “I just didn’t have a way to do that. But then they ended up making this club.”

SWAN officially started during Winter Quarter, and Kresgepalooza will be the club’s first major event. McCormick sophomore Donny Batts, who will be performing as a DJ, said the organization lacks the barriers that even non-major orchestras and ensembles can have.

He described the club’s general meetings as jam sessions that are welcoming to musicians of all levels and academic backgrounds.

“I’m McCormick — that’s like the farthest you could be from Bienen,” Batts said. “I have a SWAN meeting from five to six, but the rest of my day I’m doing calculus. For an hour I get to work on music, so it’s a good break.”

Along with creating a space for songwriters, Weinberg sophomore Joy Fu said SWAN also fosters a meaningful community for people who love listening to the singer-songwriter genre.

For her Kresgepalooza set, Fu said she deliberately included songs with Mandarin lyrics. As a linguistics major, she said she sees music as a way for people to learn about cultures and languages.

“I grew up bilingual, and I listened to a lot of East Asian songs.” Fu said. “I hope that I can be this sort of representation, or at least make people hear this country’s music for the first time.”

As a new organization, SWAN is still experimenting with what the club wants to be, Ko said. He said people should keep an eye out for the group because they have many ideas for the future. Possibilities include matching students together to form bands and making SWAN into a music label for NU students.

But for now, Ko said he hopes Kresgepalooza will allow for the musicians to see people respond to their own work.

“It’s so cool to see that something you wrote on your bedroom floor resonates,” Ko said. “I just want to help facilitate that.”

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