Lynchstock Music Festival celebrates sixth year Oct. 20 at Rivermont Park

This summer, several Liberty University students received interesting texts and emails: We’ve heard of you, would you like to perform at Lynchstock?

“I thought it was a joke,” Samantha Vazquez said, laughing.

Lynchstock is an open-air music festival with thousands of attendees, taking place Saturday, Oct. 20 at 11:00 a.m. in Riverfront Park. The big names include COIN, Dr. Dog and Vacation Manor, but there will also be at least six artists and their bands from Liberty.

Nicole Miller has attended Lynchstock in the past and is thrilled to be one of the performers this Fall.

“My memory of Lynchstock is one of my favorite memories of being at Liberty,” Miller said. “It has such a nostalgic sentiment in my mind. That’s what I’m most excited for — to be on stage for something that I was already excited to be in the crowd for.”

Lynchstock is an opportunity both for these artists to connect with the community beyond Liberty and for the local community to connect to Liberty students.

Julie Rothenberger, a music student, encourages student artists to take any opportunity to perform, no matter how small.

“I don’t think I would have been prepared for Lynchstock if I had not played way smaller gigs,” Rothenberger says. “It’s good to start with any small opportunity.”

John Thomas, who plays the keys in Miller’s band, feels that itis especially important for emerging Christian musicians to be confident in their identity as artists.

“When I started, I felt like I had to be somebody else,” Thomas said. “I had to get everybody to like me, so I changed who I was. Until I figured out who I was in Christ, (then) I was able to fully be myself and people were able to like me for me and not for what I did.”

Miller echoed this sentiment.

“The mainstream music place is such an easy place to lose your identity,” Miller said. “If you don’t know who you are before you get there, they’ll decide who you are.”

Vazquez is a grad student who now performs under the artist name Samantha Iveliz. She said young musicians should be courageous in writing original songs and to not be swayed by popular music trends.

“Work really hard on your original content,” Vazquez said. “A lot of people go more towards covers because they’re afraid to put their original music out there. But you’ll never know if your original music is something that people will relate to unless you actually put it out there.”

Vazquez is a singer for the Liberty Worship Collective, but leading a performance of her own work is still a new experience, as she has only one student concert at the LaHaye Event Center last year. She encouraged student artist to take advantage of opportunities.

“Do the opposite of what I did,” Vazquez said. “Find as many gigs as you can and put yourself out there, because the more you play and perform live the more comfortable you’ll be with it. There’s so many coffeeshops and different places you can play.”

For Miller and Naoto Barrett, who often perform together,Lynchstock will be time to debut a slightly different type of music for them. With the addition of more members and instruments, the band sounds less folksy and more of a genre-mix.

“Genre throw-up, that’s (the label) I’d give it,” Thomas said. “There’s just so many different styles that we’re throwing in there.”

The band said that all of their chosen songs are originals except for one, and that they tell “the story of us” as they reveal the emotions of the songwriters during their years in college.

The many artists are busy rehearsing, putting finishing touches on their sets and looking forward to Saturday.

“Listening to good music, being with good friends,” Rothenberger said. “It will be a good memory.”

Tickets can be purchased on the Lynchstock Music Festival website.

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