Couchella brings a festival atmosphere to campus

Photo Courtesy of Maker Faire Atlanta

The first week of school is always an interesting time for new comers and longtime Tech veterans alike.

The student body is full of people settling in and getting a grip on campus life, so as to be prepared for the pummeling of work that will inevitably come after syllabus week.

So, to end syllabus week with a bang, and kick of the school year the right way, Musicians Network has created a special little local day festival: Couchella (not to be confused with Coachella, of course.)

Couchella will be an all day event this Saturday, August 23rd, so we decided to get in touch with the team behind it to understand a little more about what we can expect. The Technique had the chance to speak with Jared McGrath, the ‘Minister of Propaganda’ for the Musicians Network, and he happily filled us in.

Technique: Could you quickly explain what Under The Couch is, especially for all the new students on campus?

McGrath: Under the Couch is the student-run, on-campus music venue, lounge, and recording studio. Its located on the 2nd floor of the Student Center, next to the info desk. It’s a place where you can learn to play guitar, start a band, see a free concert, record an album (!), learn to be a recording engineer, or run a live show.

Oh, and did I mention there’s practice space for student bands?

Technique: So this is the first ever Couchella Music & Arts Fest. How long have you been preparing for this, and where did the idea originate?

McGrath: Yep! Saturday is the first ever Couchella, and the forecast calls for sunny skies with a chance of awesome. The idea originated in early Spring within Musician’s Network (MN), the student club that runs Under the Couch. We see a lot of students attending festivals and concerts all year long. We’re also a place where student musicians form bands, practice, record and play shows. We saw an opportunity to marry the two together. We wanted to share that excitement and energy with all of campus. And so, Couchella was born!

Technique: How many people were involved in organizing the event?

McGrath: There are about a dozen of us that are highly involved, and then another handful of helpers and volunteers.

Technique: Since this is a free event, did Under the Couch fund it fully, or were there any other parties that donated?

McGrath: That’s right. 100% free, even for your grandma and your dog. The event is completed funded by Under the Couch.

We approached some folks about helping, but ultimately, we carried on alone. Next year, we’d love some more help from any and all corners of campus.

We hope to grow Couchella into an annual back-to-school festival that the whole campus celebrates.

Technique: Given that ‘Coachella’ is a mixed genre festival, would you consider bring on electronic or DJ acts for next year’s show?

McGrath: Absolutely! The EDM Collective will actually be on hand this year, and we’ve got a hip-hop beat box troupe called BuzzBeats that’s performing, too.

We’re open to any and all forms of music, so you’ll hear sounds from punk to folk to country to pop. There’s even a tribute to Weezer’s Blue Album, which, like Under the Couch, turns 20 this year.

There are a handful of student bands playing, including the Merry Go Rounds, a 10 person twee pop and that will be fresh off its first summer tour up to New York.

We’ve also got Atlanta locals Noel Stephens and the Darling, who do really fun 60s pop music.

One of our headliners is Little Ugly, an indie folk band on tour from Hartford.

Technique: What do you want attendees to get out of the event?

McGrath: Other than enjoying a sunny Saturday outdoors with friends?

I hope everyone sees the vast amount of creativity, joy and student culture that permeates our campus.

Technique: How many after parties are there, and where are they?

McGrath: Glad you asked! There’s an official afterparty at Phi Kap called Couchella After Dark. There will be dancing and live music, with sets from campus favorites Champagne Room, Ground Rules, Organ Machines and Courtesy of Frank.

Technique: Anything else you want Tech students to know before the event tomorrow?

McGrath: The event is FREE, and open to students and guests. There will be food trucks, student clubs, and more.

Feel free to bring picnic blankets, food, Frisbees, friends, footballs, dogs. You get the idea.