Lights shone on the stage as attendees gathered on South Lawn to watch several bands perform at the 20th annual Mayhem Festival on April 14, 2023.
Senior Austin Preston, from Eminence, is the station manager of Revolution 91.7, WKU’s alternative radio station. Preston said that Mayhem is a free music festival that Revolution 91.7 hosts to promote local artists and give students an opportunity to relax before finals.
The bands that showcased at this year’s festival were Post Animal, The Daddy Sisters, Astronomy Club, The Anchorites and Lily Winwood.
Preston said that Bowling Green has always had a prominent music scene, and that is why they wanted to showcase local music. However, as the festival has grown, they have branched out to other bands from outside of the Bowling Green area.
Louisville native Noah Dentinger, is a junior and the production manager, said the most popular music venues in Bowling Green are bars such as Donna’s and Tidball’s, and the station aims to be a highlight for local music that is open to all ages.
Mayhem is used as a platform for not only local artists but also promoting Revolution 91.7, Preston said. Revolution 91.7 is a terrestrial radio station, which is radio that broadcasts through AM and FM radio stations.
“People aren’t tuning into terrestrial radio like they used to, so Mayhem is sort of our biggest promotional tool,” Preston said. “It’s also a big thing to give Bowling Green, and Western, a festival and give them good live music.”
He said around this time of the year students are overwhelmed and burnt out, so having the show this time of year can serve as a revitalizer before going into finals. Many universities host music festivals, such as Vanderbilt’s Rite of Spring Festival, so Mayhem provides that experience to Western, Preston said.
“I feel like there are so many people on campus, but since COVID has happened it felt like everyone was all over the place,” Dentinger said. “We hope that the festival will bring people back together.”
Joey Offutt, from La Grange, said he thought Mayhem was a cool experience because he got to hang out with friends and see the bands. Although he does not attend WKU, he said he wanted to come down and experience the festival.
“The environment was just really snazzy, and it was fun to listen to local bands I had never heard of before,” Offutt said.
He said seeing people moshing and dancing by the stage, while also seeing students hang out and picnic on blankets allowed for a very welcoming atmosphere. He also said it introduced him to new music he added to his Spotify library after the event.
Preston said the event also allows for a growing experience for the directors of Mayhem. It is mostly student-run and helps challenge the student workers.
“With radio, there is not a lot of production aspect, and it can get pretty stagnant,” Preston said. “So this gives us an opportunity to get out of the studio and increase our footprint in the local community.”
Dentinger said that Revolution 91.7 can often be overlooked, so he hopes this will convince people to join and help the radio station.
“If you want to go into radio, or you want to go into broadcasting, this is fun. Just apply and get on the air and talk about whatever you want,” Dentinger said.
Preston said this event is something the station takes pride in.
“If people get as much joy going into it and being proud that we have Mayhem as we do producing it, then that would be the best thing,” Preston said.