Section: Features

WKCO Fest brings music and energy to South Campus

WKCO Fest brings music and energy to South Campus

Student bands, including Victor, performed at WKCO Fest. | COURTESY OF EM TOWNSEND

On Saturday — the popular college student ‘holiday’ of 4/20 — students on South Campus awoke to the sound of Lana Del Rey in their backyard. Kenyon’s premier (and only) radio station, WKCO 91.9 FM, held its annual WKCO Fest from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the lawn in front of Old Kenyon Residence Hall. For most of the afternoon, singing and guitar strumming — along with a few echoes of drums — could be heard all across South Campus. Many students camped out on blankets and in lawn chairs in the grass to listen to Kenyon’s student bands and music acts perform.

The event featured live music from Lily Leone ’26, 64Studios101, Dali, Tinnitus, Dawsen Mercer ’26, Chace Correll ’26, Altar Ego, The Bad Deals, Morganized Crime, Mouse Rock House Show, Those Rusty Strings, Victor, Dire Coyote and UNTITLED PROJECT 1. The setlist proceeded throughout the afternoon with occasional breaks. The only damper on the day was the wind, which was especially gusty and prone to blowing over instruments and equipment, but the cheerful atmosphere prevailed.

WKCO Fest takes its inspiration from musical festivals like Woodstock to give students a taste of all-day performances and tunes, according to WKCO President Brooke Fowler ’24. WKCO staff member Daisy Lerner ’27 said, “It was like Coachella weekend 2 came to Gambier, Ohio.”

Fowler pinpointed her favorite moment of the festival in a message to the Collegian. “There was a point where I was sitting near the front watching student bands perform,” Fowler said. “I turned around to the South/ Old K Lawn almost entirely filled by Kenyon students and community members, and it brought the warmest smile to my face.” 

Besides music, the event also featured face painting, a raffle, puppies and new WKCO merchandise. The especially popular ‘bunny on a scooter’ hats, designed by Georgia Reed ’26, Tali Tufeld ’24 and Laney Goodrum ’26, were sold out by early afternoon. Merch sales were particularly lucrative this year, with all profits going toward purchasing musical equipment and future WKCO events. “Our merchandise sold incredibly well — we were out of hats by the early afternoon,” Goodrum, the co-program director of WKCO, wrote in a message to the Collegian. “I love seeing people wearing their ‘bunny on a scooter’ hats around campus, it makes me feel like I was a part of something really permanent and special.” 

Auditions for the festival lineup occurred via Google Form, and were described as more of a “get to know you,” Goodrum explained in a message to the Collegian. “We spent a lot of time listening to bands and solo acts in order to create the best order possible that would keep people coming in and out of the event all day— we knew that it would be a busy weekend with other events, so it was really important to make sure we cultivated a really strong lineup.” She estimated attendance at around 150 people on the lawn at the festival’s peak, though that number fluctuated throughout the day. 

Goodrum also had the chance to perform backup vocals with her band Dire Coyote at the end of the day. She loved seeing how connected everyone was, and how the event seemed to truly bring the Kenyon community together in an afternoon of fun. “It was so special and whimsical and I cannot wait for next year!” she said.

Other students weighed in on the lively and fun atmosphere of the event. “Seeing so many people laying out on blankets with their friends cheering for the bands and performers was so fun,” Lerner said. “I’m so proud of how the event came together, it felt like an actual music festival.” In short, WKCO Fest was a great success, and truly captured the spirit of Woodstock.

News Assistant Tadhg Sahutske ’27 contributed to reporting. 


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