Law enforcement shut down the Westwoodstock Student Music Festival last year because of its location in a fraternity house.
But this year the festival will move to the southern part of Broxton Avenue to avoid problems associated with indoor festivals.
“There’s (an) immediate vibe portrayed by having it in a Greek house,” said Jonathon Liu, a fourth-year global studies student. “Not that it’s good or bad, but it narrows our audience right off the bat.”
Liu, one of the co-founders of the event, said he worked with the city to ensure that Westwoodstock runs with a permit this year. On Saturday, the city will close off Broxton Avenue to cars, and 19 performers will share a stage next to SpireWorks, playing for both UCLA students and Westwood residents alike.
The company House of Balloons put together Westwoodstock for the first time last year in the Sigma Alpha Mu house. However, hosting the event at a fraternity house located in the northern part of Westwood limited the demographic of attendees to UCLA students last year, said Tim Connors, a fourth-year cognitive science student and Westwoodstock co-founder.
John Colarusso, a fourth-year psychobiology student and one of the four co-founders of the festival, said hosting music events in apartments or homes is difficult because the rooms are often crowded and the performers are harder to see. Bringing the concert to Broxton Avenue will give performers a more legitimate location to display their talents with more space and taller stages, he said.
Colarusso said the open space along the road will also be used as an area for attendees to express themselves by drawing on the sidewalks with chalk. Students from the Design Media Arts department will also showcase a fashion line and paint during the festival.
Though the event is mainly focused on bringing attention to the musical artists on campus, Liu said the visual art along the side will showcase more talent on campus than just performers. He said there is only one stage this year, as opposed to two last year, which added more space for different mediums, like painting.
“This is a music festival and we do want to celebrate all types of art, not just music,” Liu said. “(It’s) something that creative people can show off their talent at.”
Because of its new location in Westwood, Connors said the festival will also be useful in bringing students to Westwood and drawing passers-by into local businesses.
“Being on the street will help us a lot because it’s out in the open. Anyone strolling through Westwood is going to see it and stop by,” Connors said. “It’s really inclusive of the businesses there.”
Moving Westwoodstock to the streets yields a more inclusive community event, said Andrew Thomas, executive director of the Westwood Village Improvement Association. He said Broxton Avenue is a useful location for events like Westwoodstock because it harbors many restaurants and is a one-way street.
“Closing Broxton doesn’t impact the rest of the village as much from a transportation standpoint,” he said. “It’s not a major thoroughfare in our distract, as opposed to Westwood Boulevard.”
The Westwood Village Improvement Association applied to turn Broxton Avenue into a pedestrian plaza similar to the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. Colarusso said WestWoodstock functions as a proof of concept that the street can be used for events without disturbing the flow of traffic.
Liu said a major factor in placing the festival on Broxton Avenue was that it is located near the center of Westwood. He said students have progressively spent less time in Westwood Village over the years because UCLA’s campus provides them with essentials like restaurants and places to get their hair cut. But with the addition of the festival, he said he hopes students will discover the different businesses that the city has to offer and start getting off campus more.
“We really thought that by having the festival in the street, in the open, on Broxton Avenue, it would be a good way of bringing the two communities together,” Liu said.