WOODSTOCK OR ‘WORDSTOCK’? IV’s Self-Appointed Arts & Culture Magazine Takes A Stab At The Music Festival Scene


Melissa Nilles
Arts & Entertainment Editor

Photo Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

The upcoming Isla Vista music festival “WORDSTOCK” may not be able to change the history of rock ‘n’ roll like the 1969 Woodstock Festival that it draws part of its name from, but akin to its infamous predecessor, it may turn out to be an exciting, eclectic event Isla Vista won’t forget for a while.

The festival is the brainchild of eager members in WORD magazine, Isla Vista’s Arts and Culture magazine. With the attraction of unique live bands whose genres range from funk to ambient rock, a large interactive art piece that happens to be an albino raccoon and other amusing artistic activities throughout the afternoon, WORDSTOCK promises to provide some interesting entertainment for the upcoming Sunday, March 11, from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in Isla Vista’s very own Dog Shit Park (6803 Del Playa Drive).

Many readers may not know of WORD Magazine, which is offered as a class at University of California Santa Barbara in the Interdisciplinary Studies Department, as a part of the larger Isla Vista Arts Program. IVAP includes other original hands-on programs such as Magic Lantern and Improvability. The magazine, which has been around since the fall of 2007, is a free publication that is distributed by its staff at the beginning of each quarter around Isla Vista. Known for its creative covers and content, WORD Magazine’s focus is on fostering creativity and appreciation for the arts in the Isla Vista community.

Two students involved in the magazine, Gerson Hernandez, a fourth-year film and media studies major, and Ginger Wojcik, a third-year global studies major, came up with the idea for WORDSTOCK only three weeks ago, and have been planning ever since.

“It was just an idea that got more serious. We just kept going at it,” said Hernandez.

Other students echoed the event’s potential as both an enjoyable concert and a chance to spread the word about their unique organization.

“We want to spread the word about WORD,” said Ryan Miller, a fourth-year environmental studies major, who has been involved with WORD since his freshman year. “We decided this year we wanted WORD to be more than just a magazine. It would be like a colloquium on local arts & culture in Isla Vista.”

The event’s headliners, DJs Billy Goods and Matt Respect, will be spinning their tunes of boogie, disco-funk and soul on original vinyl, heralding back to the 80’s era of post-disco music that might have been long forgotten, if not for them and a few brave souls at a club they perform at in Los Angeles, aptly named Funkmosphere. Hernandez wanted to bring them to the event because of an article he wrote on their uniquely-preserved genre of music in a previous edition of WORD.

“It’s like disco, but not really,” said Hernandez. “It has all of these different names. It’s like ‘funky,’ ‘eighties-funky,’ ‘disco-ish music. We had an article about that, and so we decided to get some DJs who played that kind of music from LA.”

Unlike the Macbooks, sequencers, or samplers most Isla Vista DJs and even mainstream superstar DJs like Skrillex or Steve Aoki tout around to their shows these days, DJs Billy Goods and Matt Respect spin straight-up vinyl on turntables.

“We thought it’d be interesting to bring that to Isla Vista because we thought, well, there’s a lot of DJs out here, but the art of using vinyl records is pretty much lost,” said Hernandez. “So we thought to keep the tradition going. Live music is always cool.”

Other bands who will be playing at the event include Isla Vista’s very own Givers & Takers, who have been getting some buzz lately through features on prominent college band promotion websites such as College Roots, perhaps due to the fact that they’ve been playing many a UCSB show in the last couple months. Opening for the self-described “bliss rock” band will be another rock band, Nuer.

“Since our goal is to highlight arts and culture in Isla Vista, we thought it would be very fitting to give a stage to the performers that we’ve had in the magazine,” said Wojcik. “[Both] Nuer and Givers & Takers, we’ve featured before.”

“We feel like it’s all pretty unique stuff, and we want to give it exposure,” said Hernandez.

One of WORD Magazine’s advisors, DJ Palladino, expressed his excitement about the show and the pride he feels for the self-motivated students he advises.

“I haven’t done a damn thing,” said Palladino. “I’m just gonna go and enjoy it.”