Fourth-year Cameron Johnson performing with the Olentangy Bluegrass Band at last year’s MCoachella. Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Mollenkopf

Those who wish they could be attending California’s famed music festival Coachella have a local alternative.

This weekend, Musicians’ Collective at Ohio State will be hosting MCoachella, a student led two-day music festival.

Alex Arseneau, the club’s vice president and a third-year in landscape architecture,  said the festival, now in its eighth year, is just as much to benefit student artists as it is to bring spectators enjoyment.

“It’s our big spring concert that gives (student) artists the chance to perform,” Arseneau said. “Lots of time it’s the first or one of the first shows for a band if they just got together.”

MCoachella is a culmination of a year’s work for many students new to Columbus and OSU’s music scene.  Cameron Johnson, member of Musician’s Collective and a fourth-year in history,  said he thinks the club is essential to getting into local music.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of how big the local music scene is here,” Johnson said. “It’s really a community and Musicians’ Collective is an institutionalized way for student musicians to get directly involved.”

Arseneau said it’s an open club where members really focus on getting to know one another through music.

“The idea is to connect students who want to get involved but don’t know how,” he said. “We have jam sessions and song writing activities (during meetings) to get people to start to know each other.”

Musicians’ Collective is successful in what they try to do — many student bands originate and are fostered through the club, Arseneau said.

Johnson has experienced this first hand — his band, Yearwalk, will play at MCoachella this weekend. This is his second year performing at the festival and Johnson said he is excited to be back.

“Playing at MCoachella, it feels more like a concert than if you’re playing a show at a bar because unlike at a bar, it’s purely about the band and the music,” he said.

Arseneau, who most often plays with local band Lights Go Out, will perform a solo lo-fi looping set this weekend. He said he also appreciates the creative liberties MCoachella allows him to explore.

“One of the great things about (MCoachella) is that it allows lots of different genres and experimental styles to perform,” he said.

In a similar sense, Johnson thinks the festival has been so successful in the past because the variety of music types attracts a wider audience that is solely focused on student bands.

“Usually student bands are only opening for touring acts (and that) only attracts a certain number of people,” he said. “MCoachella is a good way to get exposure for bands, the club and the community.”

Johnson also hopes the event will bring new musicians to Musicians’ Collective.

“Music is a cooperative effort,” he said. “It’s just fun to goof around and jam together as a group.”
MCoachella will take place at the RPAC Plaza. The event starts at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday. It is free and open to the public.  There is a compilation album on the Musicians’ Collective bandcamp page at

Third-year Alex Arseneau performing with Mighty Kites at last year’s MCoachella. Credit: Courtesy of Sierra Mollenkopf