Newstock 2023: A continuing New College tradition
Poster advertisement from the Newstock event.

Newstock 2023: A continuing New College tradition

New College’s annual Newstock festival occurred on Apr. 29 and consisted of four feature bands, 35 student vendors, three food trucks and entertainment from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Events included outdoor sketching, crafts presented by the New College Student Alliance (NSCA) Archives, tarot card readings and a yoga flow class led by the New College Mystics and the Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) counselor and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Nick Gensmer. The event was organized by students in the Student Activities and Campus Engagement (SAUCE) office and the Student Event Team (SET), and was decorated by volunteers. Despite the rainy weather moving the event under the Hamilton Classroom (HCL) overhang and inside HCL 7 and 8, the event remained a massive success. 

Whether it be hand-made soaps, snacks, Center of the Universe Party (COUP) merchandise or art, the vendors all had a variety of products to showcase to students from not only New College, but Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM). 

First-year Hallie Spell, first-year Anabelle Hynes, and thesis students Jade Stryker and Lydia Dykema brought their vegan baked goods and preserved copies from the 1970s of the first ever student-run publication, New CollAge in order to make appreciation gifts for the five faculty members who were recently denied tenure by the Board of Trustees (BOT) on Apr. 26, along with Associate Professor of Computer Science Matthew Lepinski, who announced his resignation from the board during that same meeting. They offered an opportunity for attendees to write professors handwritten letters to show their appreciation for their work on campus. 

Along with the baked goods, COUP merchandise was another highlight. Since COUPs are a prominent aspect of New College student culture, it is important that these events are well-funded. Thanks to thesis students Melody Scott and Corinna Carroll selling “Eat Me” underwear and student-created posters, a fun graduation COUP can be expected for students. 

Inside HCL 7 there was an archives activity, a drag show, a yoga class and a banner reading “We Heart NCF” as the background. Photo by Basil Pursley

In HCL 8, bands such as Sungrazer, He Kindly, The Drain Outs and Treis and Friends played throughout the thunderstorm, cheering up attendees despite the gloomy weather. Sungrazer played a variety of covers and original songs including “July”, “Coming Up For Air”  and “Flowers”. The band was interviewed by the Catalyst after the show through social media. Band member and thesis student KC Casey responded to the Catalyst about their experiences. 

“Our favorite part of the event was performing; getting to watch people dance and have fun while forgetting everything else happening in the world even just for a minute,” Casey remarked. “It was also great to meet and play with other bands from the area like He Kindly, who we recently played a show with in Tampa. There’s a fantastic music scene just north of us in St. Pete, Tampa; NCF students should definitely go out and enjoy it more!” 

He Kindly is another local band that had crowds cheering and dancing. Members Isaiah Haddon, Tyler Cash and Svet Feddersen played original favorites such as “Ghost Rider? In My Wife? It’s More Likely Than You Think” and “Dog Song. The Catalyst reached out to He Kindly and received a response from Haddon. 

“There’s nothing better than walking into an environment where everyone you are working with is kind, friendly and willing to lend a hand when needed!” Haddon said. “The entire time we felt safe and welcomed by not only those putting on the events but by the other bands and event attendees. We truly appreciated all of the positivity in the air and the hospitality around us all day!” 

Third-years and SET Traditions Coordinators Emma Halbisen and Hannah Barker had a vital role in planning for the Newstock event and facilitated student volunteers throughout the decoration process. 

 “As the Traditional Events coordinator for SAUCE, this was my main event for the Spring semester,” Halbisen detailed. “The other members of the SET team and SAUCE office were also main contributors. We also wouldn’t have been able to host this without the help of every volunteer, professional staff member and vendor that came out for the event. I started by digging into past Newstock files and reviewing their post event notes and comments. I contacted food trucks and bands to solidify availability, reached out to schools in the area to get student vendors and clubs involved, and dealt with a lot of paperwork. I also hosted a volunteer committee, and my SET teammate Hannah Barker hosted a Marketing Committee focused on cultivating the vision for the event.”

Taking time to relax and enjoy music and fun is both valuable to students and fellow community members because it keeps them united in times of struggle. Thesis student and SET multi-cultural Coordinator Celeste Kadzis discussed her opinions of the event with the Catalyst.

“I was mostly stationed in HCL 7 where the NCSA Archives, Ringling drag show and the yoga was, so I wasn’t really able to see the vendors, but I did like the indigenous one passing through,” Kadzis said. “I really enjoyed the food trucks and I think the event did really well in situating itself in the rain and engaging students across campuses in Sarasota.”

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