West Campus Block Party brings out diverse mix of music, art, collaborators

West Campus — land of the craziest Longhorns and hundred decibel house parties proudly (and obviously) hosted 2016’s West Campus Block Party. This free, BYOB block party is an all day event that took place on Saturday, April 9 between four unique student cooperative houses — Pearl St. Co-op, 21 St. Co-op, Eden House and French House.

Unlike “Round Up,” West Campus Block Party gives non-greek students and Austin residents the opportunity to enjoy live music at UT without belonging to a costly club or organization. The event showcases Austin’s favorite local bands, collectives and collaborations. Every genre, from rap, to EDM, to beautiful women playing the fiddle was excitingly exhibited. The event yielded a very trendy and artistic crowd that contributed to it’s intoxicatingly innovative vibe.

In between shows, fans and artists used their down time shopping and chatting with local vendors Trash Vintage, Smear Mag, Yellow Elephant Clothing, Milk Moon, Desert Flower Design, Printerror and Austin radio station KVRX.

2016 marked the 2nd West Campus Block Party ever. Which is a monumental step for local musicians and behind the scenes hustlers such as The Sound Floor, Small Batch Productions, BIG YAH, and the University Co-op who were driving forces behind the event.

While each musical outfit gave gripping performances, some favorites among attendees were Hermit Kingdom, Big Bill and major headliner Ruby & The Reckless.

Hermit Kingdom

Hermit Kingdom is an Austin based rap collective with sound paralleled to Flying Lotus and his alias Captain Murphy. They sample experimental beats and have mastered sharp, poetic delivery. The collective is composed of Samson, Philos, J∆Y, WAZiKASHi, Upper Reallity and Tosin. Hermit Kingdom performed in front of a quaint, supportive, hype crowd that provided an invigorating energy for the group. Rap music in the artistic scene in Austin is often overlooked, but Hermit Kingdom is taking back the throne and making a name for themselves.

Big bill

Big Bill is composed of four Austinites — Eric Braden, Cody Braden, Jennifer Monsees and Alan Lauer. The rock ‘n’ roll enseble brings back ’70s beach rock to a millennial generation. They performed at Pearl St. Co-op in trippy wigs and quirky outfits with a sound that perfectly matched their look. Big Bill is a testament to “being yourself” as an artist and how far it can get you. Uniqueness is admired and Big Bill is taking massive steps towards groundbreaking achievements in Austin music.

Ruby & the reckless

By taking pieces of multiple genres to cultivate a touching sound, Ruby & The Reckless is a high profile local band of many dimensions that pulled a large, groovy crowd to 21 st. Co-op. Ruby is the lead singer and main attraction of the band, made famous by her intense prodigy performance on the fiddle. The other four members, Austin Stimmons, Miggy Milla, Chris Copeland and Sam Powell, better known as “The Reckless” are equally as critical to the Of Monsters and Men-esque sound. The crowd left their jaws dropped as the sound of keyboards, deep bass, impressive drum beats, wild fiddle and passionate vocals moved their bodies. Ruby & The Reckless allowed me to feel refreshed, revamped, inspired by girl power and proud of the Austin music scene.

West Campus Block party was a colossal success, even with Austin’s EDM music festival Euphoria on it’s peak days, the crowd was loyal, diverse and full of inciting energy. Cheers to the 2016 block party and to the future success of a new live music event in the heart of Austin.