Pretty quickly you learn that college is more than just going to class. Parties can be fun, but most of the time they’re not worth the trouble. You are told that belonging to an organization, a sports team or a fraternity is more fulfilling. As a member of WCUR, West Chester University’s radio station, that feeling of community can get lost in the over 90-member roster. Conferences and conventions are a great way to reconnect with fellow radio station members, but also to learn more about the organization and ways to improve it. Unfortunately, student organizations and clubs are only able to attend one conference every two semesters.
Luckily, there is a Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference, MACRoCK as it is often referred to. This is a conference that is both affordable and important enough that the DJs of WCUR paid their own way to Harrisonburg, Va. to attend.
Every year, James Madison University and the station, WXJM, host MACRoCK during the first weekend in April. The first MACRoCK was in April of 1997, and since then the conference has grown both in size and scope. MACRoCK is dedicated to the progression of college radio and indepen-dent music.
This year’s MACRoCK featured performances by such important independent artists as Onelinedrawing, John Vanderslice, Prefuse 73, and Pedro the Lion. If you are unfamiliar with these artists, that will change. In the past, bands like Fugazi, Thursday, Saves the Day, and Dashboard Confessional have performed at MACRoCK.
However, MACRoCK is not only about seeing a lot of cool bands. While it is interested in supporting the independent music scene, it also strives to provide a stable community which the music needs to thrive. In addition to the music at MACRoCK, there is a record label exhibition where small labels, fanzines, Internet sites, clothing, and distribution companies can all get a chance to reach a wider audience.
MACRoCK is also strongly concerned with helping to build the independent music community. Panels are set up focusing on topics in the scene, which range from starting your own record label to college radios in the age of radio consolidation. This year’s guest speaker was Mark Andersen, one of the founding members of Positive Force DC. Andersen discussed music as a driving force of culture and the importance of supporting independent music as a way of promoting change.
Eleven members of WCUR attended MACRoCK, April 2 and 3, and before the early Sunday morning of April 5, before clocks were set an hour ahead, before losing an hour of sleep that can never be replaced, we were all reminded why we joined the radio station in the first place. We were able to see new and exciting bands, discuss important issues with like-minded individuals, and, most of all reconnect with those to whom we are deeply indebted to furthering our cause of spreading independent music over the airwaves.