Valencia students create local music festival 

Bands performed during "Tryx¡" on Feb. 23, taken by Sierra Redfern. Courtesy of Elliot So.
Bands performed during "Tryx¡" on Feb. 23, taken by Sierra Redfern. Courtesy of Elliott So.

Calling all music lovers in Santa Clarita: Valencia High School junior Elliott So, 16, along with other Valencia students, have founded the Heart Destruct Music Festival, with the purpose of shedding light on local performing acts and paying local bands. 

“This first started out as an idea that I had while I was running sound for my local high school choir. I started to notice that we have a lot of talented performers throughout Valencia and the district as a whole, and I also noticed that we don’t put music on the same level as something like athletics,” said So, who is the chairman of Heart Destruct. 

Wanting to bring together students of the William S. Hart Union High School District for the love of music — and naming the festival as a play on the district’s name — So wanted to ensure that the musicians had a platform to share their craft with the community. 

“I ended up contacting a bunch of different people, networking with people in choir, people who know how to run sound and had a lot of experience, and we created a planning committee,” So said.  

Elliot So runs the production at Newhall Library on March 16, taken by Niharika Koka. Courtesy of Elliot So.
Elliott So runs the production at Newhall Library on March 16, taken by Niharika Koka. Courtesy of Elliott So.

The committee includes James Stockman, Josani Mangrobang, Niharika Koka, Saran Abburu,  Ren Corso, Matthew Kumar, Madeline Kracht, Madi Castillo and Hydan Ton-That. 

So and the students have had about 10 performances since the project was conceptualized in August, with the next show being Deno at Ignite Studio, 27927 Smyth Drive on March 30.  

Stockman, 17, discussed the progress of growing over six months, including the success of the latest punk rock show that took place on Feb. 23.  

“When we started out, we were just doing smaller shows of schools locally. It was usually just a band from that school that would perform. But we’ve started expanding and doing larger shows,” Stockman said. “Recently, we just had ‘Tryx¡’ happen, and it was a punk show that was about three hours long.” 

According to So, Mangrobang was a central help in organizing “Tryx¡,” from directing the promotional videos, to helping organize getting sound equipment, as well as getting in contact with the bands. 

“We couldn’t have done it without her,” So said. 

Heart Destruct has collaborated with the city of Santa Clarita to organize shows at the Newhall Library Farmer’s Market on Feb. 17, as well as schools such as Golden Valley High School on Nov. 17.  

So and the team make sure to work on promotion through their Instagram ahead of time to ensure each show’s success.  

“We post interviews beforehand for promotion on Instagram. We also post a poster board as well,” So said. “You can pay $10 for a ticket at the door or $8 online. Once you go into there we have like the first band come up, like three hours total. Each band gets like around 30 minutes and also like we have time in between for breaking down and putting back up for each band.” 

So credits the help of Valencia High School, particularly choral director Christine Tavares-Mocha, as a main factor in the success of the program thus far. 

For more information on the latest Heart Destruct show, visit their Instagram at @hdmfmusicfestival.  

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