2017 Columbia grad and Business and Entrepreneurship adjunct professor Shaunda Brooks-Green has always had a special place in her heart for helping others. Even before starting her first semester teaching, she volunteered her time by being a guest speaker on numerous panels for the college. This coming Sunday, October 23rd, her nonprofit, 6D Networktainment, is putting on a showcase at Subterranean entitled, “Windy Fest,” which features musical performances from Columbia College Chicago students and alums.
This is the 3rd annual “Windy Fest,” and the scope of the event can be traced back to Shaunda’s roots as a student at Columbia. “It actually started as my graduation party from Columbia in the Summer of 2017. I didn't want a traditional backyard barbecue for a grad party... I wanted to do something that I could apply what I learned in school and early on in my live events and music business career. So, I gathered a few friends and classmates together to form a planning committee, sourced a venue, partnering organizations, and selected a stellar lineup of local artists to perform. We even raised money for CPS. It was amazing!”
The popularity of that first event gave Shaunda the idea that it could be tied into the music nonprofit she created. According to Shaunda, “People asked when we were doing it again and we had never planned to. We founded our music nonprofit, 6D Networktainment (another idea that stemmed from my studies at Columbia) in 2018 and decided to bring the fest back under the umbrella of the nonprofit. ‘Windy Fest’ returned in 2019 even better than the first year. And of course, after the impact of the pandemic, we made sure to keep it going to continue influencing and providing opportunities for Chicago's emerging music artists.”
With a plethora of representation from Columbia students and alums, Shaunda couldn’t be more excited with the commitment from participants. “Columbia has so much influence on this festival... From our event staff, to volunteers, to media partners, and performers, we are representing Columbia to the fullest! Current students were eager for an opportunity to showcase their talents outside of school events and projects, alumni were excited to contribute in any way. Everyone has stepped up to the plate to support, that's what it's all about.”
Subterranean, also known as SubT, is one of the “go to” spots for Columbia students. Hosting a wide range of events that cater to the 17+ crowds, Shaunda was not surprised in the least with the support of the venue. “SubT welcomed us with open arms while we were vetting venues. They have always been such a staple in the city for showcasing local talent, so our event was a perfect fit. Their support, response time, etc. has been a huge help!”
As a first-time instructor this semester, Shaunda has found herself being inspired by her students, while also being acutely aware of the difficulties students have faced during these past few years of the pandemic. “It's crazy being on the other side of the fence in the classroom as a professor, but I always make sure I put myself back in their shoes. I've been there! I've witnessed a lot of what they're going through mentally, emotionally, and physically. I'm still a student in this industry and I don't shy away from letting them know that. I want them to learn all they can in these subjects, and I want them to be successful in life moving forward. I know they've had it hard being in school during a global pandemic so I try to be as supportive as I can. These future leaders are my inspiration.”
As for what attendees can expect on Sunday, Shaunda had this to say. “A damn good show! We rented the whole venue for the day so there will be exciting things on every floor, from sponsor and vendor tables, to our photo booth, DJ Party on the lower level, incredible performances on the Main Stage upstairs, and merchandise for sale.”
For tickets and information, visit www.windyfestchi.com