“Wesleyan is truly a magical place…isn’t it?”
On Friday afternoon, El Niño, the Brooklyn-based alumni band, posed this question to Wesleyan’s new and returning students, soaked in the heat as they gathered on Foss.
This sentiment is reflective of the blissful mood at this year’s The Mash, Wesleyan’s fifth annual music festival. The Mash, inspired by Fête de la Musique, or World Music Day, spotlights Wesleyan’s student music scene. El Niño was just one of 21 bands who performed throughout four stages spread across campus. El Niño, along with The Highlanders, Jal & Locus, and Chef, closed out the summer night on Foss.
Students got the chance to take their minds off the add/drop period, the humidity, and the stresses of the first week of the school year to unwind and listen to their fellow students and alumni perform. The festival, which featured stages in front of Olin, North College, and the CFA, wrapped up its last two hours with more music and a barbecue on Foss.
On the North College stage, The Good Lonely, a trio comprised of Jacob Beilenson ’19, Janak Preston ’19, and Bram Wollowitz ’19 inspired those jamming out to get up and dance on the lawn. The group began playing together beginning as early as the first week of school last year, and this was their first Mash.
Past performers, like comedian Willie Zabar ’16, inspired the group to headline this year’s festival.
“Willie Zabar was a big inspiration to us,” Beilenson said. “We also saw Chef for the first time last year, and we were like, ‘Damn! We could play music.’”
Chef, the all-senior band comprised of Isaac Butler-Brown, Anthony Dean, Lydia Elmer, Annie Flom, Mimi Goldstein, Henry Kinder, Max Luton, Miles McLeod, Willie Molski, and Adam Rochelle, were the second-to-last act of the festival, just before El Niño. The popular group is about to release a new album, Ten. Their awesome hip-hop/funk/soul/R&B music was lapped up by students munching on some classic Usdan hamburgers, veggie burgers, and watermelon.
Sarah Sanders-Messman ’19 was grateful for the afternoon to chill out on the grass, or rather hang in the heat, with friends after a long first week of classes.
“It’s great to have time with friends, along with awesome music,” Sanders-Messmann said. “The day has this concert-in-the-park vibe and it’s definitely a great way to unwind.”
“There’s lots of talent and The Mash is definitely a testament to the community here,” Sanders-Messmann’s friend, Lily Sperry ’19, said.
Members of the all-female comedy collective, The Female Hysterics, emceed this year’s outdoor festival. The female-identifying members could be found at each stage introducing groups, cracking jokes, and conducting impromptu audience interviews throughout the day.
“Last year it was indoors and it kind of reduced the number of people that went to it,” Jess Wolinsky ’17, a member of The Female Hysterics and North College emcee, told The Argus. “Because this year it’s outdoors, people can stop by, be there, and leave, making it more social.”
“I much prefer it outside,” he said. “People were dancing…that made me so happy!”
Another highlight of the year included Yer Trash, comprised of seniors Ryan Breen, Will King, Dan Muro, and Zeno Scott. The group is a punk band that made its debut last spring. The band, who describes themselves as “noisy as hell,” was a thrilling new sound to add to this year’s mix at the festival.
At the CFA, groups like Rui Barbosa and BOSSY took the stage. Rui Barbosa, including Adam Rochelle, Jonah Wolfson ’17, and Johnnie Gilmore ’18, is a band of the funk/rock/jazz variety. The all-girl quintet BOSSY rocked out to their “not quite pop, not quite punk” jams.
Several new groups performed this year, including Hari, Fortune Plays Sax, and Going Up North for the Weekend.
Wesleying covered most of the event through its social media accounts, going live on Facebook for a couple of the acts. In case you missed some of the festival, coverage can be found on their page.
Keep an eye out for more student bands performing throughout the year and head over to The Mash’s website to see a full list of student acts, and to find their music online.
To answer El Niño’s question, The Mash is a testament to the unique magic of Wesleyan. The festival provides an opportunity to reunite with friends after a long summer and jam out to your talented classmates on Foss.