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Tuesday, May 28
The Indiana Daily Student

arts community events bloomington

The Burning Couch Festival celebrates local bands and businesses April 14

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The Burning Couch Festival kicked off at 11:30 a.m. and went until 9 p.m. Sunday at Switchyard Park. Those attending were able to listen to live music, explore many different local businesses and eat from local food vendors. 

The event started in 2022 with IU student, Ahmed Al-awadi. The goal of the festival is to support local and regional up-and-coming bands and artists by bringing them together to showcase their talent.  

There was a lineup of 12 different bands on the main stage and nine on the acoustic stage at the pavilion Sunday. A few of the bands that performed at this year's event were “Six Foot Blonde,” “Wishy” and “The Matriarch.” A full list of the bands that performed can be found on the Burning Couch Festival website. 

The main stage was set in a large field where individuals could lounge in the grass and enjoy music or play yard games with their friends. IU sophomore Kam Shaw said despite not knowing what the event was when she went, she enjoyed it. 

“Last year when I came, I had some of my upperclassmen friends ask me if I wanted to tag along, and I didn’t know what it was,” she said. “It was probably my favorite event I attended as a freshman.” 

Along with the live music throughout the day, local artists were selling their own designs inside the pavilion. There, attendees explored some of the local businesses. Vendors sold homemade bags, jewelry, clothes and even homemade press-on nails. 

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Spectators watch performers during Burning Couch Festival at Switchyard Park in Bloomington on April 14, 2024. The festival was named after a couch was burned during the event's first year.

One of the small business owners, Anna Schwartz, founder of Sustain Locally, started selling her products for the first time at The Burning Couch Festival in 2023. Since then, she has attended more music and art festivals to reach out to people interested in her products. Schwartz handcrafts each of her products, reviving them from post-consumer materials like single-use grocery bags or broken jewelry, which helps keep waste out of landfills. 

“I love coming to the art festivals and getting to sell in person because I love meeting people and talking with them,” she said. “With Sustain Locally, we really want to spread a positive message when talking about climate change.” 

Local food vendors such as La Poblana Taco Truck, Pappyshack and Great White Smoke also arrived at this year's event with numerous options for those attending the event. 

Throughout the event, volunteers were there to assist the attendees as much as they could by answering questions or pointing them in the right direction. One of the volunteers at the event, Grace Carmichael, said she enjoyed coming to these types of events and has attended many of Bloomington's different music festivals. 

“I like the fact that we’re supporting local artists and it’s just a fun way to spend time with friends,” she said. 

While this year’s Burning Couch festival concluded, attendees can start to look forward to next year’s celebration of music and art. Updates and more information about the festival can be found on the Burning Couch Festival’s website and on its Instagram. 

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