March 17, 2023 | NEWS | By Grace OE

At Colorado College, Llamapalooza is renowned as being one of the most exciting campus-wide events of the year by some students. The festival will be the same unifying and exciting event it’s been in the past for the students that enjoyed attending, but in talking to the board of students responsible for putting the event together, it’s evident that some of the committee’s goals have shifted.

When asked to state what she thinks makes the event such a staple of the community here at the college, Sophie Radday ’24, a co-head of this year’s committee responsible for leading the planning for the festival, emphasized that “the inclusivity of the event makes it so that everyone shows up – different majors, friend groups, grades, etc. It’s the last weekend of the school year and everyone wants to celebrate and be close to their friends, which makes it really special.”

Peyton Wright ‘23, a new member of the board for Llama this year, cites the committee hopes to integrate more “interactive art” in this year’s festival that will allow for students to engage with the visual art side of the festival in a more creative way.

“Ideally, we’ll be able to commission more pieces that will grab people and that they can be immersed in, in the literal sense of walking through something, taking photos with the art, etc.,” said Wright.

Radday said that “we like to showcase student art, asking for students to send in submissions; this year we want more tactile things, like stations for people to do crafts or make jewelry.”      

In addition to wanting more activities on the art side of the festival, Radday notes that the committee has set out to find a collection of performers “more reflective of the CC population, which means inviting a more diverse set of artists to perform, and intentionally getting more diverse student artists to showcase their work.”

The actual process of going about finding performers is an exciting and chaotic one. The work begins with a giant spreadsheet where members of the board can all contribute artists they’d like to see perform; “I think there were 300 names,” Radday says.

The committee proceeds to reach out to all of the artists on the list, primarily comparing price ranges to ultimately narrow the field down to four acts, who will perform at the festival. The fact that the event is completely student-driven beyond the funding provided by the administration makes it so that the student-body has a special sense of ownership over the event, allowing for it to be reflective of precisely what students want it to be.

Radday attributes the range of artists to be considered to “the diverse make-up of the committee being so in line with our mission,” as well as “everyone on the board’s amazing music taste.” As the co-chair responsible for artist outreach and negotiations, Radday describes the process of drawing up contracts and engaging in negotiations over prices as “a pretty long process, but so fun.”

Balancing the budget is especially important to consider as the committee pursues a more diverse presence. “The biggest setback has probably been negotiating prices, especially with the discrepancies in balancing appearances from up-and-coming artists with well-known acts, even with the pretty significant funding the administration allocates for our use,” she said.

That said, she anticipates a repeat of last year’s success, wherein “almost the entire student body showed up, based purely on recorded numbers,” if not a greater turnout due to this year’s increased range in genre and diversity.

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