Students Flock to Beatstock Despite Its Last-Minute Relocation
by Hana Tatsutani on Friday, June 10th, 2016
At the end of every school year, Magus Mabus, Milton Academy’s art, music, literature, and storytelling publication, hosts its annual Beatstock. Beatstock is an open mic night on the quad where students from all classes come to perform, win raffle prizes, watch performances, and eat free food.
Throughout the year, Magus Mabus hosts multiple Beatniks, open mic nights similar to Beatstock, except they are held in Straus rather than on the quad. Beatniks also tend to have a smaller audience because of the compact venue. At both Beatniks and Beastocks, the Magus Mabus staff hands out free raffle tickets and gives away prizes to ticket holders throughout the night. Another tradition of Beatstock is that the first people to arrive get free Beatstock T-shirts, which are designed by Milton students.
Many musicians at Milton love Beatnik and Beatstock since they are both low-pressure environments in which students, and sometimes even faculty, can share their talents with the community. Dalton Letorney (II) explains, “The first time I performed at Beatstock was last year. The reason I like it is because there’s so much space for people to spend time with each other, yet it’s still just as intimate as any traditional Beatnik. It’s such a laid back event and I think that’s what everyone loves about it whether you’re a performer or an audience member.”
The supportive and laidback atmosphere of Beatstock and other Beatniks encourages a lot of less-experienced performers to share their talents. For example, at last year’s Beatstock, a senior girl went on stage and explained that she had promised herself that before she left Milton she would perform at a Beatnik or Beatstock. She then sang a song and accompanied herself on the guitar. Whenever she forgot some lyrics or how to play certain notes on the guitar, the audience cheered her on and helped her out. Juliana Viola (II), a jazz musician, explains, “My first time singing in public was at Beatstock last year. I felt so supported by my friends and even by people I didn’t know.”
Dalton adds, “I love the atmosphere of Beatniks and Beatstocks in general because it’s a great reminder that the Milton community is really supportive of anything you do, so it’s really reassuring to people who don’t sing that often. Everyone has an opportunity and everyone is supported. People always feel good after any Beatnik.”
Since Beatstock tends to be such a large outdoor event, a lot goes into planning it. Maggie O’Hanlon (II), Magus Mabus’ music editor and one of the primary coordinators of Beatstock, explains, “Planning a beatstock includes all the typical Beatnik things you have to do: getting food, getting raffle prizes, setting up sign-up sheets for people who want to perform. Some things that are special about Beatstock are that it’s outside so we have to make a stage of some sorts and we have to figure out how the tech will work outside.”
Despite the challenges of setting up this outdoor event, Beatstock always comes together as a wonderful celebration of Milton’s talent and another school year coming to a close. As Maggie puts it, “All Beatniks are a really great opportunity for students to share their talent with the community and that is particularly true at Beatstock because it’s out on the quad, [and] so many people see it happen, and it draws people in. In that way, Beatstock shows what’s so special about music in [how] it brings a lot of people together.”
Although Beatstock was inside Straus this year due to the weather, Milton students were still just as excited to see their fellow peers perform. With 40 performances, almost double the normal amount, Beatstock had to start an hour earlier to allow for the overflow. Eshani Chakrabarti (II), Magus Mabus’ editor-in-chief, says that “Beatstock was the first thing we as a board had to run. It’s a lot of pressure. We have huge shoes to fill, but the previous boards have given us the foundation to do even more as a publication. It’s an amazing problem to have too many people want to perform for Beatstock. It’s an even more amazing problem to be worried about breaking fire codes by the amount of attendees. Overall, it was a great way to kick off the 2016-2017 year.”
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