Springtime In Bloomington: The Combine & Culture Shock

I know that spring makes even the most drab city spring to life, but nothing I’ve ever experienced compares to spring in Bloomington, Indiana. “Bloom” is exactly what happens. With people and plants.

Winters suck, and recently they have really sucked. Last year was the worst but it was almost erased by a near perfect April day in Bloomington. 

The Combine was the reason I went to Bloomington last April. No, not the sports thing- the tech/entrepreneur conference/party. It’s an annual event that unfortunately flies a little under the radar here in Indy. I’ve gone three times and they’ve all been memorable. It’s a little like what SWSW Interactive feels like but much more intimate. 

Jimmy Wales was the keynote last year. First time he had been back to campus since he left short of finishing his PHD. The work he did at IU eventually lead to Wikipedia but IU hasn’t really embraced him since he never finished his degree. At least that’s what I could gather. He was a great speaker and defied my expectations in healthy ways. Throughout the conference I ran into great people and had great conversations. 

Somehow I didn’t know The Combine was the same weekend as Culture Shock. I had not gotten that memo. Then I found out that Mac Demarco was headlining. This was, as they say, “cra cra”. 

Mac Demarco is one of my very favorite musicians right now. This time last year I was pretty obsessed. Somehow I wasn’t aware that he was playing Culture Shock last year. Culture Shock is an annual event run by the student radio station WIUX every April. 

On top of all of this it was the first truly beautiful day of the year. The weather was in the 60s and the whole town and campus was alive. It really felt like a festival. Bloomington can do that, it can transform very quickly. Usually for the better. 

So all of this is to say that I think you should seriously consider going to the Combine and Culture Shock this year. Foxygen is playing this year. Another one my favorites. I’ve got to meet these WIUX folks, shake their hands or something. The Combine lineup is looking good and really, it doesn’t matter as much who is speaking. It’s all about the people who attend. 

I hope to see you there.

The Combine is April 8-10th and Culture Shock is that Saturday, April 11th. So you can come Friday and leave Sunday or something like that. Stay at the Union if you can get a room. There are other hotels if it's full.

Disclaimer: I can’t guarantee awesome weather but what if it is awesome and you aren’t there and all that will be left is to cry while slowly scrolling through your Instagram feed. Don’t let that happen!