By: Molly Grace
Photo Credits: Will Crews Photography
So What?! Music Festival was an immersive experience that brought a range of music directly to the heart of Arlington. However, beyond this, its truly defining factor was the broad range of audience members that made the endeavor that much more invigorating. From the perspective of someone who is not particularly well-versed in the social scene of music festivals, right from the ticket line, I was greeted with a notion of unity. When entering the venue, there were a plethora of opportunities to purchase merch and directly support those performing, which I found difficult to not indulge in, as it is inspiring to see such an abundance of success in in-person events, particularly in the arts, after the profusion of many struggles for the arts community during the pandemic.
An air of community lingered through every booth, as people lined up to support the artists that so tirelessly worked to create one hell of a show. Furthermore, this undeniable sense of community was perpetuated further within every set, with artists such as The News Can Wait to make a point to address prevalent political issues, such as women’s rights. Taking efficient advantage of the substantial amount of attention they had, the group made it clear the reality of the times, making their positions clear and honed into their true character, and undoubtedly, allowing the crowd to become even more amalgamated.
Apart from the crowd, however, another element of the festival that piqued my interest was the fact that student bands had a chance to perform at such a renowned festival. Altercations, a band with members from the School of Rock music company, won a Battle of The Bands competition and were given the opportunity to showcase some of their original songs. So What?! Not only gave new-found recognition to previously established musicians, but allowed aspiring musicians to harness their craft in an environment full of acceptance, and in rooms full of the possibility many young musicians strive for. Each stage was distinctive not only in its performances but also within its ambiance, allowing an assortment of people inspired by their unique tastes, to come together through the one thing everyone cherishes; music. Allowing for music to prosper in a way that allows it to revolutionize itself through generations, and through community, allowing it to maintain the aspects that never change. Here are some photos from the festival.