Fourth Estate/ Viviana Smith

Mason’s student radio hosts their first concert presenting local bands


On April 17, Mason’s WGMU hosted Amplifest, a concert featuring several DMV local band performances at Jammin’ Java

According to junior Ashlyn Cole, WGMU’s General Manager, this year’s Amplifest was the first time WGMU has held a concert-like event. “I thought previously that WGMU had done this sort of event with Jammin’ Java in the past… come to find out WGMU has never done something like this before.” 

Amplifest featured four local bands: Aminori, Breakneck, The Knuckleheads and Argo & The Violet Queens. Throughout the night, the bands performed original songs and covers of popular songs, such as “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor and “I Want It That Way” by The Backstreet Boys

Many members of the various bands are college students at universities such as Mason, American University and Northern Virginia Community College. 

Lead guitarist and vocalist for the band Aminori, sophomore Emmy Gladden, is a DJ for Basement Rock, a radio show on WGMU. “I’ve basically been begging WGMU to do events for like ever… And they finally set up a show.” 

The night was filled with lively music, a wide selection of food and drink options and a large community showing out to support local bands and college radio. 

The bands recounted their experience at WGMU’s Amplifest and how events like this can support local bands and connect the community. 

Aminori’s Gladden said that this was the band’s first concert and it couldn’t have been a better experience for them. “Honestly, there could not have been a better crowd.”

Mason senior and lead guitarist of Breakneck, who declined to provide their name, said he was pleased his band was recognized for this opportunity from the school. “It was nice to see representation from… us getting picked up by GMU official channels… we haven’t gotten a lot of attention from the actual school… so it was nice to get recognized.” 

Mason sophomore Sam Tyson, drummer for Argo and The Violet Queens, helped the band get booked for Amplifest, according to guitarist and vocalist Arve Goswami, who is an American University freshman. 

Goswami credited the support of this event to his own experience within college radio. “I’m a part of WVAU, so I knew… they would probably do something similar to what we do… it’s a cool circuit that we have with all the college radios. Supporting college radio,” Goswami said. 

Freshman Demian Osorio, a bassist and vocalist for The Knuckleheads, believes the best part about local bands is the community it fosters. “It builds the most beautiful community ever…We’re sharing a beautiful form of art and everyone’s just here to have fun.”

According to sophomore Amal Qazi, WGMU’s local music director, Amplifest has been a long-awaited event and is the culmination of WGMU’s work to build a music community across the DMV. 

“I’m lucky enough to already know some pretty awesome musicians and Mason’s swarming with great talent anyways, so we booked the four that played and made sure we had a date set,” Qazi said. Long story short I got in contact with the venue, booked the bands with Kylie, took care of the behind-the-scenes stuff with Ashlyn, and watched the four amazing bands perform their hearts out.”

WGMU’s staff hopes to hold more events similar to Amplifest in the future to further build the local community music scene. 

“We would love to do future events like this because then people start to reach out to us more… and then we build up a really special bond with a very cool community,” Cole said. 

“I saw a lot of people that aren’t involved in radio and a lot of people that wouldn’t typically go out to small concerts like this… We would love to have the station consistently be a source of support and new fans for student bands, and I think this was a great first step,” Qazi said.