By Henry Coen

New York City is the land of 1,000 dreams; Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes; and Grinnell, Iowa, is the land of 100,000 bands.

“What did you say? I can’t hear you!” Tambourine Tunner ’24 said, his words drowned out by the veritable cacophony of sound coming from the multiple bands playing at once. “All I wanted to do was throw a little dorm party, then all of a sudden, I got 100 requests from bands wanting to play at my function. Spin the Chicken, My Best Bustier, Bad Kayak…there were so many! I had to schedule multiple at the same time.” Tambourine party guests dance awkwardly as they try to dance simultaneously to “Death of a Bachelor,” “That’s My Girl,” and the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the same time.

“It’s not the talent that’s the problem,” Jazzy Square ’25, Head of Concerts, tells the B&S. “It’s more just sheer numbers.” Sheer Numbers happens to be the name of Grinnell’s latest body percussion band. “Just last week, I had so many bands clamoring to play that I had to schedule one to play at an old woman’s funeral in town. Their rendition of  ‘Staying Alive’ was on pitch but maybe a bit tone-deaf.”

The performances at this year’s Farmstock were particularly contentious. Twenty slots, 100,000 bands. A sort of battle of the bands ensued—as in a literal battle. 

“It was shockingly violent. Instruments smashed over people’s heads, mob crowd surfing.” Cafo Smith ’25, director of Farm House, told us. “I told them no fighting near the garden!” (referring to the single tomato plant in a pot).

These student music groups are not just desperate to perform their music but also to write original songs. One first year, Stella Freud, learned this the hard way. “All I did was drop my books in the hall; next thing I know, there are three bands with songs called ‘That Dumb Bitch Dropped All Her Books Like an Idiot.'”

“I was just in the bathroom to do my business,” Poopcila Fanta ’24 told the B&S. Next thing I know, the sound of me pooping got recorded and remixed into half a dozen sick beats on sound cloud.”

“I knew this had to end,” Jazzy Square said when she unveiled her proposal to the various bands on campus. “One megaband to rule them all. Every single musically talented person on campus, and the ones who play guitar, in one band that will play at every single event on campus.” There was some foot-dragging and whining at first, but eventually, people accepted. 

 Now, the 2000-person band plays at every event, from sporting games to MAP presentations. “Sure, it can be a bit distracting to hear 2000 people making noise at our department meeting,” Professor Mouthbreather said, breathing out of his mouth. “But you get used to it after a while.”

Granted, there have been an odd hiccup or two—Freesound in ruin, trouble finding a practice time, lead singers found dead—but overall, Jazzy’s proposal has been well received. Grinnell is all the better for it, if not quieter.