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3rd annual Fools Fest is ready to rock

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Collegian | Michael Marquardt
Billy Kero and Alex Merklein of Fort Collins-based alternative punk-rock band Scuffed perform “Slept In” during Fools Fest at the Lory Student Center April 7, 2023. The festival featured seven local bands in a collaboration between Blast N Scrap and KCSU Radio.

Punk rock lovers, get excited.

The third annual Fools Fest will be 1-5 p.m. Thursday in the Sutherland Garden of the Lory Student Center.

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KCSU is partnering with RamEvents and Blast N Scrap to provide Colorado State University with a rock-filled afternoon.

“(Blast N Scrap) is a local promoter,” said Riley Hilbert, local music director at KCSU. “They provide free donation-based resources for local musicians. So if you’re in a band, if you want to record, if you want merch, they’ll help you out.”

Hilbert acknowledged her gratitude for all the organizations that aided the radio station.

“I love how chaotic it is. People just have an absolute blast. There’s always someone trying to start a mosh pit, and it doesn’t happen.” –Laura Andrews, KCSU programming director

The Bohemian Foundation, which is focused on strong community relations and creating grants that build equity, gave KCSU a grant for this year’s event.

“Punky carnival” is this year’s loose theme, adding even more edge to an already alternative showcase.

Local band Jesus Christ Taxi Driver, described on their website as “somewhere between the violent rock and roll of Jon Spencer, the sophisticated rhythms of Ali Farka Touré and the religious disorientation of Jean Meslier,will be headlining, preceded by six other Fort Collins bands.

“It’s a little different (from) Battle of the Bands, which is our fall festival,” said Laura Andrews, KCSU programming director. “Those are all CSU students, but this is primarily based on the local music scene.”

Organizing a concert this big has its challenges.

“Fools Fest is notoriously plagued by random things coming up at the last minute,” Andrews said.

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Fools Fest 2023 was forced to reschedule because of dangerously high winds, moving the performances from their original date of April 1. 

“The first year (of Fools Fest) was actually the reason I went to CSU,” Hilbert said. “I was touring CSU as a senior in high school, and then I saw Fools Fest, and I sat there for hours and watched the whole thing with my parents. This is where I want to be.” 

Hilbert’s career has come full circle. She is now in charge of putting on the event that inspired her college decision two years ago.

“Riley has absolutely killed it,” Andrews said.

The duo has worked hard for months to successfully execute their mission.

“I think seeing it all come together will be the most rewarding part just because there has been so much lead-up since December or November at this point,” Hilbert said. 

Fort Collins is primarily known for its indie and folk music scene, but Hilbert and Andrews recognize there is still a great appreciation for some good punk rock.

“I love how chaotic it is,” Andrews said. “People just have an absolute blast. There’s always someone trying to start a mosh pit, and it doesn’t happen.” 

Hilbert added that there is a surplus of punk bands in Fort Collins, but finding a specific sound might involve a bit more digging.

“Blast N Scrap is a great example of that,” Hilbert said. “They’re throwing shows all the time, multiple days a week — just awesome punk shows, rock shows, hardcore shows.”

Bringing this more underground hardcore music to campus provides students with the chance to discover new genres and expand their musical taste.

Reach Alex Hasenkamp at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @alexhasenkamp.

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About the Contributor
Alex Hasenkamp
Alex Hasenkamp, Arts & Entertainment Editor
Alex Hasenkamp is the returning arts and entertainment editor for The Collegian. Last year was Hasenkamp's first time working for The Collegian as the A&E editor, and she is happy to be back. Over the summer, Hasenkamp worked as a writing intern for The Borgen Projecta nonprofit organization working toward ending global poverty. She learned a lot, and she intends on finding another internship or writing position at a paper this upcoming summer as well. Currently a journalism and media communication major and a French minor, Hasenkamp is hoping to study abroad her senior year with the goal of learning and writing about different cultures. Growing up in Seattle, Hasenkamp loves anything music-related and enjoys the opportunity to write about local bands and concerts for the school paper. Besides reporting, Hasenkamp enjoys skiing and playing ultimate frisbee for the Colorado State University team Hell's Belles. She also has an affinity for the visual arts: Previously an art major at the University of Oregon, she enjoys covering local art shows and exhibits, as well as sketching up the occasional graphic for her articles.

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