West By West Campus organizers take last bow with final festival


Guillermo Hernandez

A guitarist during West By West Campus last year at 21st Street Co-op. This is the last year for WXWC, an annual local msuic and film festival that began in spring 2010.

James Pinkerton and Samantha Grasso

This is the last year for West By West Campus according, to founders and organizers Waldo Wittenmyer and Tessa Hunt — and they mean it this time. 

While the organizers originally weren’t going to host another West By West Campus this spring, they’ve decided to run the festival for a fifth and final year. 

WXWC is an annual local music and film festival that began in spring 2010. The event is free to the public and does not have age restrictions.

“It’s not that we want the sentiment to die,” Wittenmyer said. “[The founders are] not in that scene as much anymore. The whole point of West By is to empower the true nature of West Campus.”

Wittenmyer said the idea to put on a festival originally came from the live bands constantly performing at the different West Campus co-ops, including 21st Street Co-op and former co-op House of Guys. 

“We just had this idea to combine everything into one giant show,” Wittenmyer said. “I don’t know if there was any reason at the time for that, but it seemed like we should get as crazy as possible with music in West Campus.” 

Wittenmyer said WXWC 2014 is different from previous years in its physical layout, with all three music venues located on 21st Street for a stronger block-party feel. The funding for WXWC also changed, with the organizers hosting a Kickstarter campaign with a $3,000 goal instead of relying heavily on company sponsors. While the Kickstarter goal was reached in the last 15 hours of the campaign, organizer William Salazar said they were anxious about reaching the goal.

“We were a little worried,” Salazar said. “Some of us went to different [co-op] houses and talked to the members about the festival. Luckily, people just came through. I guess they realized they really wanted this to happen.”

Hunt said this year’s WXWC features a variety of artists with different levels of experience and only has two returning acts from previous years’ lineups. This year’s lineup also has more rap and hip hop artists than in years past.

“The fact that I don’t know most of the bands is such a good thing,” Hunt said. “There’s going to be a lot of chiptunes, lots of weird and a lot of hip hop.”

Dacoit, a newly formed Texas band, is one of the many acts performing at the Eden House on Saturday as a part of WXWC. Vocalist Zoe Yin said the festival has an air of mayhem and mystery to it that few events maintain. 

“[Band member Jake Hieber and I] both went to high school in Austin and this was one of the first shows we would hear about, and say, ‘Those college kids throwing down grassroots and music,’” Yin said, “It was a cool, mystical thing.”

With Hunt and Wittenmyer adamant about the festival being in its last year, members of the arts community are concerned with the loss. 

Radio-television-film sophomore Daniel Abramson is the director of “David,” one of the eight films selected to play at the WXWC film portion. Abramson said WXWC helps to showcase student talent that would otherwise be undiscovered, and shouldn’t be taken away from the community. 

“If it’s already an established thing, please, just find someone to give us an excuse to chill out for an evening and view other people’s work,” Abramson said. “If someone can keep [WXWC] going, by all means, please keep it going. There aren’t enough of these opportunities to go around.”

Hunt said while there was speculation over whether they would continue the festival after last year, both she and Wittenmyer agree it’s time to move on, and encourage other students to start their own festival.

“On the back of the shirts this year it has the date and says, ‘Start your own,’” Hunt said. “I know it’s easy to join West By because the brand has been established, but start your own thing. It’s not like West Campus has too much culture going on. There’s plenty of room for lots of different things.”

Correction: This article has been updated since its original posting. Because of a reporting error, the original story misspelled the name of one of the locations. It is House of Guys.