One of the most amazing things about K-State and hundreds of universities across the country is the creation of sameness and unity in a community marked by difference and diversity. Our 23,000 students come from everywhere, represent every political ideology and disagree about almost everything. We’re brought together in common class purposes, to root fiercely for purple-clad teams enjoying mild success and, perhaps most importantly, under an umbrella college culture that makes many remember this as the best time of their lives.
Yes, we are finding out who we are spiritually, culturally and academically, but we are also having as much fun as possible in what is, for many of us, the first true independence of our lives. It is on these carnal and uninhibited Friday and Saturday nights that many of us discover the true heights of pleasure, hedonistic or otherwise. And even if we forget exactly what we did or who we were with decades later, we will likely never forget how the cavorting and carousing made us feel.
At this point, readers have likely been divided in two. There are those who know exactly what I am talking about, and those tinted green with jealousy. Because we’ve all seen the awkward underbelly of the weekend scene; we’ve all been to, or hosted, a bad party. While the problems are diverse, from low attendance to uninvited creepers, from not enough to drink to those who don’t know how much is too much, the solution may be simple: don’t try to be something you aren’t and don’t try to achieve some unrealistic ideal. Invite your friends and your friends friends and try to cater to the desires of the demographic.
One simple and highly effective solution to the social minefield is often overlooked: hire a local band. There are very few people who don’t enjoy live music and a band gives a party direction, activity and a ready conversation piece. It solves the what-to-do problem and the I-don’t-know-everyone-here problem.
Local bands and DJs make for easy advertising and expanded attendance. They typically have their own equipment and can draw a small fan base that just wants to have a good time and enjoy the music. While some of these bands are hoping to make it to the big time, mostly they’re just playing music they think is good and worth playing. They put serious time and effort into creating music that’s influenced by a lot of the same things that create our local culture. Local bands don’t have image managers, they don’t use auto-tune and they aren’t in it for the money. What they do have is talent.
Now I’ll admit that my experience with local bands is limited to those I’ve personally encountered, but there’s no reason my friends-of-friends are more talented than yours. I know that what I’ve seen is only the tip of the iceberg, which is why I encourage you to consider seeking out and hiring a local band for your next party.
There’s nothing wrong with listening to Jay-Z rap about how awesome New York is, but there’s something even better about hearing local artist Dropjaw rhyme about life in suburbia. Lady Gaga boasts a beat you can dance to, but the Ruckus and The Low End drop a beat you can’t help but dance to. I’ve never had a better time at O’Malley’s than last August’s end-of-the-summer performance by the local reggae stars in Muzizi.
While word of mouth is sometimes the best way to find and hire local bands, the Internet and local media provide numerous avenues for finding the perfect band for your party. It’s as easy as going to watch their next show.
The thought that this might be the best time in our lives is both depressing and exhilarating. While I’m a serious advocate of working hard in school and making the most of college academically, I hope you aren’t neglecting your weekends. Not every aspect of college culture is infallible or advisable, but I challenge you to seek out your highest happiness. Enriching your next party with a local band or DJ that reflects your social location supports our community and may create the best memories of your college experience.
Beth Mendenhall is a senior in political science and philosophy. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.