At colleges across the nation, April marks the beginning of spring. Even as far north as Boston, students pull out the beach towels and Frisbees and hit the quad to soak up some sun as the temperature rises. At USC, the same phenomenon occurs. The thermostat begins to regularly peak past 75 degrees (remember, the 55 degree winters here in southern California are freezing), and productivity slowly declines as beach trips are planned. But everyone knows about the beaches in southern California. What makes the month of April truly special at the University of Southern California?
At USC, April starts with Springfest, a daylong music festival held at USC’s McCarthy quad. Throughout the first Saturday of the month, smaller bands entertain students relaxing on the quad, while small booths surrounding the quad sell clothes and neat trinkets. At night, the big headliners come on stage. This year, the USC Program Board recruited Tyga and Diplo to perform at Springfest to a jam-packed crowd of over 2,000 USC students. Not one for crowds, I watched the concert from afar and tried out some snacks at the many food trucks USC brought in for the event.
The first week of April marks Opening Day in baseball as well! Using public transportation, you can reach Dodgers’ Stadium at Chavez Ravine to catch some Opening Weekend baseball. Tickets are relatively inexpensive (I believe upper deck seats cost less than $20), and an afternoon at the ballpark is a great study break. Last year, my good friends Noah, David, and I went to a Dodgers’ game the week after opening day and had an absolute blast.
If you are lucky, the first week of April (and often the last week of March) will feature the Final Four (or Sweet Sixteen/Elite Eight) match-ups at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. While tickets can be somewhat expensive, the Staples Center is a five minute subway ride away from campus, and, if you are a sports fan, NCAA March Madness is tough to pass up. Last April, my mother and I went to the Staples Center to watch Wichita State upset Ohio State in the Elite 8, a great game!
April also marks the start of fraternity formals. For one whole weekend every April, the fraternities bus their members (and a date) to Las Vegas on a five-hour journey filled with loud music and good memories. Once in Vegas, the fraternity brothers roam the Las Vegas Strip, eat fancy (and often way too expensive) dinners, and take the time for a show. Typically, on the Saturday evening, the actual formal dance itself happens. Last year, my fraternity danced the night away at a mansion off the Strip. This year, I will not be able to attend my fraternity’s Vegas formal, and I’ll miss my chance to dance atop the MGM Grand in their penthouse suite.
During the second and third weekends of April, USC students take on Coachella, a music festival located in Indio, California, a two-hour drive from campus. Famous for its talent, Coachella features five stages filled with performers from 11 am to midnight Friday through Sunday. Last year, I watched the Red Hot Chili Peppers (one of my favorite bands and Coachella 2013’s headlining band) jam out live with a crowd of over 20,000 people. Aside from the music, Coachella is neat for its unique flair. Different abstract art pieces dot the landscape. Illuminated giant snails compete with reflecting pools and electricity shows for the attention and admiration of the Coachella masses. Whether you are a music lover or not, Coachella is an experience that cannot be missed.
I would suggest going the second weekend of April to Coachella, as the third weekend features the Festival of Books, a huge book fair that welcomes all of Los Angeles to USC’s campus. During the weekend, every inch of space is populated by a tent or stand filled to the brim with books. If you are not interested in buying books, The Festival of Books also has many special exhibits. Last year during the festival, I spotted a full-sized Batmobile on campus! I should’ve taken a picture.
The final weekend of April is special for country music fans. In Indio, California (at the same location as Coachella), the top talent in country music gathers for Stagecoach, the one of the world’s largest country music festivals. While I have never been to Stagecoach, I would love to go next year for the musical experience.
And if none of the above April-themed events appeal to you? Well, southern California is filled with natural beauty, and the start of spring is the perfect time to take in all the sights, sounds, and smells. From the beaches to Yosemite National Park to Joshua Tree, you’ll be able to hike and tan however much you’d like. Aside from a few beach trips, I have yet to take full advantage of southern California’s landscape, and I cannot wait to go hiking with my friends in the near future.
In short, April at USC is pretty awesome. But the other months are just as good. I guess you’ll have to come to USC to experience it for yourself!