Muirstock Attracts Record Numbers to the Muir Quad

Muirstock, a campus festival of music, food and vendors, invaded the Muir quad on Friday afternoon and received mixed reviews from students.

Although most students enjoyed the music and overall event, some were concerned with the April 20 event’s apparent relationship to “”420,”” a date often celebrated by marijuana users.

Nonetheless, hundreds of students came to what some called the largest crowd ever to fill the Muir quad.

Two stages, set up in front of Tenaya and Tioga halls, featured seven bands: N-Z Rough, Straight No Chaser, Munkafust, Thrice, Taken, 34 Below and headliner Common Sense.

Prior to the show, Muir sophomore Missy Tierney expressed her sentiments about the show: “”I’m excited to see Common Sense.””

The band did not disappoint.

“”All the guys from Common Sense were really cool,”” said Muir freshman Gabe Grossman. “”They were out afterward cleaning up and they still stopped to talk to their fans. They signed my hat.””

Other bands also thrilled the crowd.

“”Thrice was awesome,”” said Muir sophomore Tomas Bogardus.

Muir sophomore Nick Lieberknecht enjoyed 34 Below and supported the band’s inclusion at the upcoming Sun God festival on May 18.

“”34 Below is the kind of class act that we would love to see at Sun God,”” Lieberknecht said.

Despite the bands and free barbecue sponsored by Muir College Council, some students found the connection to “”420″” offensive.

The concert, although running late, was scheduled to start at 4:20 p.m. with reggae band N-Z Rough. Muir freshman Josh Gray was among those who found the “”420″” implications hypocritical.

“”I thought it was a pathetic attempt on the school’s part to accommodate the stoner crowd,”” Gray said. “”They are supposed to be throwing a concert on that day, but they kick people out for smoking pot in the dorms.””

Gray was expelled from his fifth-floor room at Tenaya Hall for smoking marijuana earlier this academic year.

Sophomore Adam Swenson also viewed the perceived support as a double standard.

“”I think it’s stupid that they give us rules to make our lives better and then encourage breaking their own rules to make our lives better,”” he said.

Yet the coordinators of Muirstock defended the “”420″” implications as both coincidental and a mere publicity gimmick.

Typically, Muir college plans a John Muir Week to coincide with the environmentalist’s birthday on April 21.

Festival co-chair Jon Cole defended the plan to start the concert at 4:20 p.m. as a marketing strategy.

“”It’s a publicity ploy,”” Cole said. “”As long as it was there, we used it. It is, by no means, the focus of the event.””

The master of ceremonies for the event, Muir student Matt Bechtel, poked fun at the day’s infamous drug reference.

“”Attention Muir college: If you’re upstairs smoking, please report to the quad immediately, and if you are upstairs smoking, remember we have RSOs on duty,”” Bechtel announced early in the event. “”If anyone still has the munchies, the barbecue is still serving food.””

Bechtel and the Muirstock coordinators claimed that they were not promoting pot smoking but were having fun with the well-known concept.

“”It would be stupid for us to ignore it,”” Bechtel said. “”This is probably one of the most recognized holidays on college campuses. Everyone sitting [at the concert] wasn’t in their right mind.””

Bechtel also said that the event was toned down from ideas that were originally proposed by the Muirstock think tank. A week prior to the event, the Muirstock committee planned to have a beer garden adjacent to Sierra Summit and the Muir Apartments. The beer garden, which was nixed due to funding problems, would have provided free beer to those of legal drinking age. Bechtel also mentioned that the advertisers decided to play down the importance of the “”420″” undercurrent.

“”Originally, the flier was just going to read, ‘420: Fire it up,'”” Bechtel said. “”Patty Mahaffey [assistant dean of student affairs for Muir college] said we shouldn’t.””

Other students were concerned with the event’s cost, which came out to nearly $11,000.

“”I know it costed over $10,000 to put on. I hope it pays off,”” said Muir sophomore Adam Klekowski prior to the event.

Money came from a variety of organizations, including the Muir Organizing Board, which provided $875 from a parking permit fund-raiser. Stephanie Linn was the contest’s winner.

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