Bringing Coachella to Kansas: Meet one of the acts for UPC’s K-Chella festival

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With a father who has played guitar for about 30 years and a family that frequently plays music in the background, Ben Chaverin, junior in operational management, said he developed an inclination for music at a young age.

When Chaverin was 12 years old, his father showed one of his brothers a few chords; not to be outdone, Chaverin felt the urge to start learning, too. The first song he ever played was “Kryptonite” by 3 Doors Down.

Chaverin is now the vice president of the Rap n Producing Club, a frequenter of Union Program Council open mic nights, the man who runs Kramer Overtime’s open mic nights and a performer at UPC’s K-Chella this week.

Chaverin said he will be the first to take the stage at K-Chella, a free outdoor music festival for students inspired by the Coachella festival. While he typically performs covers at open mic nights, he will be playing his own original songs during his 20-minute set at K-Chella.

For the past few months, Chaverin said he has been going to Nashville Songwriters Association International meetings, where people have the opportunity to write songs, critique each other’s work and brainstorm ways to become better songwriters.

“I think [writing] is different for every song and every person who ever writes a song,” Chaverin said. “Usually, it’ll start real small, like two words or a phrase or an emotion.”

Chaverin said his preferred genres are folk with a bit of pop.

“I was raised on John Mayer, so that got me into the acoustic guitar,” Chaverin said. “I later discovered Charlie Puth, and he basically got me into production, beats and more pop elements.”

Chaverin said he started learning a lot about recording and producing this past year, even releasing an extended play record a month ago, but he said there is a lot more that goes into audio production than he ever assumed.

“I like how much control you have over how it sounds,” Chaverin said. “The frustrating thing is when you don’t know why it sounds a certain way, and then you’re like, ‘I hate this. Why does it sound so bad?’ Then you fiddle with it for like six hours.”

Overall, Chaverin said he is most excited about simply performing at K-Chella and having his friends there to support him.

“Part of what I love about performing is the excitement of getting up there,” Chaverin said. “There’s a really good feeling you get from that — a compelling, artistic vibe.”

K-Chella is a free student music festival happening at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Bosco Plaza.

Camila Segura Rivera, graduate student in architecture, said the event will provide both free food and a fun outside festival vibe.

“College students can’t really afford to go to Coachella, so we’re bringing a piece of that here,” Rivera said.

Rivera, a member of the music committee in UPC, said this event is also being put on in an effort to showcase more talent at K-State.

“When I started this position, someone said there was no music scene at K-State,” Rivera said. “I thought that is not possible — 20,000 students and no music scene? Come on.”

Each year, UPC also puts on the OPUS Battle of the Bands, where student musicians compete against one another, but Rivera said the downside to that event is that only three bands walk away as winners despite everyone putting in the same amount of work.

“We just wanted to have an event where we could pay all the acts and say we appreciate them for dedicating their time to open mic nights every month and coming to OPUS Battle of the Bands,” Rivera said.

In order to choose which musicians would be a part of K-Chella, UPC had artists audition while student judges rated them on a scale of one to 10. The highest scorers were then offered a time slot to perform at the event.

“I have always loved supporting local bands and artists, so an event where I can see students perform sounds really cool and is something I’m looking forward to,” Madison Smolich, senior in nutrition, said.

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