Fools Fest brings out the fool in all of us through local music

On a warm Friday afternoon in April, students and community members gathered for KCSU’s second annual Fools Fest and saw music from local DJs Forrest Nelson and Hazelhatesyou, Sunrise Daydream, Rosebay, Sour Magic and Scuffed.


Emcee Sophia announcing Fools Fests closing act, Scuffed, on the warm April afternoon. Photograph: Brandon Lantz

Ella Howe

In the midst of a week marked by a surprise snowstorm and cloudy transitional weather, the beautiful, warm, sunny weather last Friday, April 7, was the perfect background for KCSU’s second annual Fools Fest, an on-campus music festival featuring a diverse array of local bands and musicians hosted by Blast n’ Scrap and RamEvents.

Throughout the day, students took a break between classes and stopped by the Sutherland Gardens to dance to music and enjoy time outside. The series opened with a set from DJ and hyperpop act Forrest Nelson, who spoke fondly of the openness of the venue and appreciated how anyone passing by could stop and hear his music for a minute. Nelson explained that music was something he had “always been interested in.”

However, the isolation of the COVID-19 lockdowns pushed him to begin making his own songs from the comfort of his own bedroom, something he gratefully attributes to the array of inexpensive and accessible technology available to aspiring artists now. Creating music soon became his main outlet for the anxiety and depression that he felt during those lonely and uncertain times. Overall, Nelson’s unique sound – hyperpop mixed with elements of rock and pop-punk – riled up the crowd and was a great kickoff for the afternoon.

Sunrise Daydream opening with a groundbreaking cover of Muse’s “Hysteria.” Photograph: Eliot Hutchinson

Next, local Dj Hazelhatesyou kept up the fun, high-energy atmosphere with an EDM set that added an original twist to remixes of familiar pop hits. Following up was indie band Sunrise Daydream with a set that included a show-stopping cover of “Hysteria” by Muse. In between encores from Forest Nelson and Hazelhatesyou was alternative band Rosebay, who mellowed out the vibe with their signature ’90s surf-rock inspired sound.

Psychedelic indie band Sour Magic played their set next, with onlookers flocking to the crowd. The band describes their biggest musical influences as Tame Impala, The Strokes, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and Radiohead. Despite being based in Denver, they enjoy regularly performing in Fort Collins, citing the Atrium as their favorite local venue to play.

Finishing off the lineup with a bang was alt-punk act Scuffed, whose dynamic energy inspired strong engagement from the crowd, with somewhat of a mini-mosh circle breaking out on the lawn. A particular crowd favorite was their cover of “My Own Summer (Shove It)” by Deftones, who the group cites as part of an eclectic mix of musical influences that also includes Pierce the Veil and Turnstile. However, despite their penchant for covers, the group cites their favorite and most personal original song as “Don’t Mind,” a relatable anthem about the struggle to stop overthinking.

Outside of music, the festival also featured several booths for students to check out, including sexual wellness informational materials and free swag from CREWS Peer Education, repurposed t-shirts from local nonprofit Blast n’ Scrap, free ticket giveaways from the Aggie Theater, and signed merchandise from Sour Magic.

KCSU’s second annual Fools Fest was hosted in part by Blast n’ Scrap and RamEvents.