My First Culture Shock- The Story of How I Discovered Culture Shock, Mac DeMarco, and WIUX One April Night
It was 2014 and I was underage and stranded in Bloomington. I had made the hour long pilgrimage down 37 from Indianapolis to the promised land, better known as North Jordan. However, the frat party I was supposed to meet some friends at was cancelled due to an unexpected visit from nationals and all of my friends were tied up dealing with that situation, so I was left to entertain myself for a few hours in order to make my drive worth the while.
After scouring the mall for a half an hour and grabbing a bite to eat at Mother Bear’s, I decided to head down to Kirkwood. Being 17 meant that there wasn’t too much I could get into, but I loved the small glimpse into what my life would be like in a few semesters.
I was enchanted by the boys in Patagonias chasing girls in heels that I couldn’t figure out how they could run in under the neon of the Kilroy’s on Kirkwood sign. I sat down on the concrete ledge next to where The Big Cheese was currently parked and watched as people stumbled across the crosswalks, laughing and singing Drake. I was surveying up and down Kirkwood, taking in all the people who were both too pretty and too drunk to be in my presence when I noticed a strange phenomenon occurring.
There was a man walking down Indiana, towards Dunn Meadow, with a group of boys following him. I didn’t understand what they were following him for, because he looked very homeless to me, but I got up and started walking in that same direction because I had absolutely nothing better to be doing. He hopped over the small chain fence that surrounds the meadow and headed towards a stage. I followed suit, about 50 yards away, and walked to the other side of the stage. My jaw immediately dropped.
There was a large crowd of college students gathered in front of the stage. I made my way through the crowd of bro tanks, flannels, and sunglasses that it was entirely too dark to wear and found a space at the back. Scanning the perimeter of the scene, I noticed food, merch, and people scatted around on blankets who had clearly been camped out there all day. I surveyed the scene for some hints about what I had just, quite literally, stumbled upon and noticed a lot of people were wearing white tanks with the phrase “Culture Shock” printed on them. My next Google search was the search that would end up shaping my college career.
My next Google search was a quick one, because I wanted to enjoy the show. I looked up these two words that I saw plastered on the back of everyone’s bro tanks and found out that this was an annual festival put on by something called WIUX (which I screenshotted to look more into later) and it was totally free. This year’s headliner just happened to be a man who had a gap in his teeth and loved cigarettes named Mac DeMarco, so I locked my phone and enjoyed his strange voice.
When I got home that night, I researched as much as I possibly could about the fest and the organization that put it on. I was amazed that this occurred annually just an hour from my hometown and I’d never even heard of it. I vowed to join WIUX if I was ever accepted to IU and began to countdown the days to the next Culture Shock.
As they say, the rest is history.
I danced the day away to Foxygen and Twin Peaks 365 days later and made my college decision based solely on the fact that I wanted to be a part of WIUX so I could help plan future Culture Shocks.
There’s a lot of amazing things that this organization has done in it’s half of a century in existence, but the most impactful on my life is the fact that they got me to follow a man who I was wholeheartedly convinced was homeless into a field for one of the most unforgettable nights of my life.
If you’ve never attended a Culture Shock, this is your chance. Join us on April 14 to see some incredible bands aside some even more incredible people for a grand total of $0. I promise you won’t regret it, I never have.