Reporter’s Notebook: There Was Something for Everyone at the This Ain’t No Picnic Music Festival Outside the Rose Bowl

By Justin Chapman | Photos by Mercedes Blackehart

In the wake of FIFA’s recent decision to select the new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood instead of the Rose Bowl Stadium to host World Cup 2026 soccer games, another music festival was held on Brookside Golf Course the last weekend of August. This Ain’t No Picnic featured dozens of bands from eclectic and varied genres on three stages over two days.

Music festivals—along with international soccer matches, the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day and UCLA football—are the bread and butter of the Rose Bowl viability plan. Many of these festivals, including This Ain’t No Picnic, are produced by AEG/Goldenvoice, the company that also produces Coachella, Arroyo Seco Weekend and Just Like Heaven, the latter two of which also took place at Brookside.

This Ain’t No Picnic was a real hodge podge of musical styles. The plan seemed to be to put as many different kinds of bands into one festival as possible to provide something for everyone. About 25,000 people from all generations were in attendance.

The musical acts went off one after another like clockwork throughout the two days, but Jorja Smith’s performance was delayed for a few minutes while security and police detained and removed a man who was inappropriately touching people in the crowd, which cheered as he was led away. The heat also caused a few people to faint.

At the beginning of the Circle Jerks’ performance, lead singer and punk rock legend Keith Morris joked with the crowd by telling them to create a big dust cloud in the mosh pit to “go over the hill and land in David Lee Roth’s front yard.” The family home of the original lead singer of Van Halen is on Bradford just off S. Orange Grove Blvd.

The Strokes were technically listed as the headliners, but Godspeed You! Black Emperor was actually the last band to begin playing on the final night. The two bands played at roughly the same time on opposite ends of the festival grounds, meaning attendees had to choose to listen to one or the other, but not both.

“I hate how they pit bands against each other like this,” said Julian Fernando Casablancas, lead singer of the Strokes, on stage. “If it were me, I’d be at the Godspeed You! Black Emperor stage right now.”

Indeed, Godspeed played an incredible set in front of a relatively small but dedicated audience. Their songs are completely instrumental and tend to be longer than usual, slow-burning up to a rocking crescendo.

Godspeed hails from Montreal, Canada. After three influential albums in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the band went on an extended hiatus from 2003 to 2010. The band doesn’t do media interviews and usually doesn’t allow their music to be used in films, though their songs work perfectly as cinematic scores. They made a rare exception for Danny Boyle’s zombie epic “28 Days Later” in 2002, which featured their song “East Hastings” during the final climactic scene.

To see Godspeed play in Pasadena was a real treat, perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Phoebe Bridgers said during her set that she grew up in Pasadena, just eight minutes away from where the festival was held. She learned how to drive in the Rose Bowl parking lot, so she dedicated the next song to all the dads in the audience who teach their kids to drive.

This Ain’t No Picnic was named after a 1984 Minutemen song and one of the first music festivals that Goldenvoice produced in Irvine in 1999, headlined by Sonic Youth and Sleater-Kinney. That was also the first year of Coachella, setting the stage for all the music festivals Southern California now enjoys on a regular basis.

This Ain’t No Picnic was curated by Goldenvoice talent bookers Rene Contreras, Stacy Vee and Jenn Yacoubian with the goal of celebrating musicians “past, present and future” who produce “cutting-edge indie, hip-hop, dance, underground and everything in-between,” they said in a statement. Other notable acts included the Descendants, LCD Soundsystem and Beach House, which put on a trippy, ethereal performance.

Former Rose Bowl CEO and general manager Darryl Dunn, who retired in June after running the stadium for nearly a quarter of a century, told this reporter in the April episode of Pasadena Media’s TV show “NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman” that the Rose Bowl’s “relationship with AEG has been one of the things we’re really proud of.” He pointed out how competitive the Southern California market has become for large events.

“SoFi Stadium is taking a lot of marquee concerts. People want to play the new building. Some will come back, but we somewhat expanded our focus. We went to the music festivals. We’re taking advantage of really a campus, of using the golf course for other things besides golf. We’re doing a lot. We’re turning over all the rocks and trying to be entrepreneurial.”

On June 16, FIFA announced the final list of venues that will host the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico. SoFi was selected, but the Rose Bowl, which hosted the 1994 World Cup final and many other international soccer matches, was not. It was a disappointment for the Rose Bowl Operating Company and the city, which needs high profile events like that to keep the stadium afloat.

The Rose Bowl celebrated its centennial last month and raised $2.1 million from 1,200 attendees for the upkeep and modernization of the stadium, on top of the $40 million raised by the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation. The event also raised more than $500,000 for the construction of a new Rose Bowl sign. The Pasadena City Council recently approved plans for the Rose Bowl Operating Company to explore potential new revenue generating opportunities to ensure the economic viability of the stadium and the Brookside Golf Course.

Lighting a Fire: Faculty at Historically Black Colleges and Universities are Exposing Eager Students to IP Fundamentals

The Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property recently launched the HBCU IP Futures Collaborative—a faculty-led community of practice aimed at evangelizing IP education to fellow campus educators, creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs

By Justin Chapman, Inventors Digest Magazine/Michelson Philanthropies/Michelson 20MM Foundation/Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property, 8/24/2022

This article was featured as the August 2022 cover story in Inventors Digest Magazine. Click here to view the full magazine cover and story.

A South Carolina State University student created a way to make meal preparation faster, and he applied for a patent. A student at Xavier University in Louisiana is developing a line of skincare products and plans to trademark her logo. Intellectual property—including patents, copyrights, and trademarks—is a competitive advantage in today’s economy. Yet most students aren’t exposed to these tools.

Underrepresented entrepreneurs face even more overwhelming, systemic barriers. Consider that a Michigan State University study found between 1976 and 2008, African-American inventors were awarded six patents per 1 million people, compared to 235 patents per 1 million for all U.S. inventors. Statistics like those are why the Michelson Institute for Intellectual Property (Michelson IP) launched the HBCU IP Futures Collaborative—a faculty-led community of practice aimed at evangelizing IP education to fellow campus educators, creators, innovators, and entrepreneurs.

Michelson’s mission

“We need to do something to make sure we recruit women and people of color, and try to have some equity,” said Dr. Gary K. Michelson, founder of the Michelson 20MM Foundation, which oversees Michelson IP. IP education has “lit a fire under the students,” said Dr. Jerald Dumas, dean of the Graduate College and chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at Hampton University in Virginia.

As part of the program, Michelson IP provided digital curricula, resources, videos, textbooks, and $25,000 grants to the seven HBCUs that joined the program: Bethune Cookman University, Morehouse College, Norfolk State University, Tuskegee University, Hampton, South Carolina State, and Xavier.

“Our nation’s HBCUs are a wellspring of creativity and ingenuity,” Michelson said. “The collaborative will further uplift these students in identifying and securing their valuable IP for the benefit of generations to come.”

Michelson IP also produced the textbook “The Intangible Advantage: Understanding Intellectual Property in the New Economy” to provide free IP education to students. It addresses patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets. It is available as a digital textbook called “Introduction to Intellectual Property” through OpenStax, the leading publisher of free, open educational resource textbooks. More than 23,000 students worldwide have taken the Michelson IP course, a free resource hosted on the Udemy e-learning platform. Nearly 400 institutions have embedded Michelson IP’s curriculum and resources into the classroom.

A burning hunger

Dr. Muhsinah Morris, director of Morehouse in the Metaverse, said there’s a hunger among young people for IP education. They know it is a key to their success.

“I had students actually reading the book [“The Intangible Advantage”]. They won’t read the chemistry books that they paid for,” Morris said.

“I had a student before Day 1 say, ‘I’m already through Chapter 3. I was just so curious, and I couldn’t stop reading. I went through the PowerPoints and videos, too.’ And to be frank, it’s not like he was the best student I’ve ever had. That’s the enthusiasm that I want to see. The fact that he had this exploratory curiosity that was being forged and nurtured was really exciting.”

Dumas is also co-principal investigator of Hampton’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Site. I-Corps Sites are National Science Foundation-funded organizations that provide infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, training, and funding to entrepreneurs to transition their concepts into the marketplace.

“In Phase 2, we want to engage the students even more, bring in more guest speakers, and actually have students go through mock invention disclosure applications.”

—Dr. Jerald Dumas, Hampton University

“The Michelson IP education is synergistic with I-Corps activities, where students can learn about customer discovery and support their business ideas,” he said. “With the Michelson funding, I could introduce them to protecting their intellectual property and learning the differences between trademarks and other types of mechanisms to protect such property.”

Two chemical engineering students served as campus ambassadors, produced PowerPoints, and made presentations to groups across campus—including to the student chapters of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Society of Women Engineers. Dumas plans to follow up with those chapters to help them with any patent applications. The program completed Phase 1 in the spring semester; it introduced the students and faculty to IP education. Phase 2 will help students take the next step of developing their ideas to filing patent and trademark applications.

“In Phase 2, we want to engage the students even more, bring in more guest speakers, and actually have students go through mock invention disclosure applications,” Dumas said. “Phase 2 will be more hands-on.”

Incubating ideas

Some students aren’t waiting. The South Carolina State engineering student who created the aforementioned fast-food invention that makes meal
preparation even quicker has applied for a patent with funding from the IP Futures Collaborative. His application is under review. Other students are developing their own ideas.

“We’re trying to get students to think about coming up with ideas of things that they can do to start a business and innovative things,” said Dr. Barbara Adams, dean of the College of Business at South Carolina State.

Dr. Mark Quinn of Xavier, the Conrad Hilton endowed chair of entrepreneurship, launched a business incubator called the X-ncubator for students looking to start their own business.

“I am working with one student in the incubator who’s developing a line of skincare products,” he said. “Her intent is that she will actually trademark her logo, and we will help her with that.”

The importance of IP education is twofold: It helps students realize the value of their own talents and creativity, and it keeps them from inadvertently infringing on other people’s IP.

Mass Communications major and Entrepreneurship minor student Hannah Shareef served as an IP ambassador on campus and developed a marketing campaign about IP. They coined the term “IP is Dope,” which they printed on bottles and T-shirts. Shareef installed pop-up tables around campus and handed out the swag. This enabled them to quickly build their email list, gain followers on Twitter, and get the word out about IP education. Quinn said the videos about patenting, trademarking, and copyrighting are what really resonated with students.

“Those hit the sweet spot with students in terms of taking what could be extremely complex topics and delivering the content in a very engaging and understanding manner,” he said.

He’s hearing from students that they are learning new things. One student in his Intro to Entrepreneurship class, Jana Ewing, said the videos were “helpful, easy to understand, broke down everything, and expanded my prior knowledge.”

Promoting understanding

Quinn said the importance of IP education is twofold: It helps students realize the value of their own talents and creativity, and it keeps them from inadvertently infringing on other people’s IP. Morris said there are some definite gaps in understanding IP protocols.

“Most students understand patents, but they don’t understand anything else,” she said. “They know that patents and copyrights exist, they just don’t know how, why, the ins and outs.”

Devin Smith, a student in Dr. Vickie Cox Edmondson’s Business Policy Capstone class at Tuskegee, has been creating original work for a while but had little knowledge of intellectual property and copyright laws.

“When I find the opportunity to get all my work patented and copyrighted, it will eventually give me the space and foundation to create more and display the work publicly,” Smith said.

Dr. Cox Edmondson is a good example for her students: She successfully filed for a trademark in March 2022 for her book, “Thinking Strategist,” which provides readers with additional resources. Dumas said IP education should be taught to all students.

“Every school across campus could definitely benefit from this content,” he said. “Many of our students leave as entrepreneurs with their own side projects they worked on outside of Hampton.”

“Like how we’ve been pushing for financial education, this is another type of education that helps prepare our students for entrepreneurship, making sure they are protected and understand their own rights in this world.”

—Dr. Muhsinah Morris, Morehouse College

Dr. Michelson has advocated for teaching IP literacy as early as first grade. Adams agreed that it’s a good idea to introduce IP education at an early stage. Morris went even further, adding that IP education should start in kindergarten.

“It should be almost like how we’ve been pushing for financial education,” she said. “This is another type of education that helps prepare our students for entrepreneurship, making sure they are protected and understand their own rights in this world.”

In addition to the HBCU IP Futures Collaborative, Michelson IP also partnered with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship to launch teaching guides for community colleges. Adams wants to develop an actual course in IP that students across campus will be able to take.

Morris summarized: “In the long run, I want to have a co-curricular, student-led program where we have people in all disciplines come out and talk about IP—attorneys, patent agents, the USPTO.”

“I’d like to gather the entire institution and have a discussion about IP and what that looks like in your discipline. Everybody needs this.”

Justin Chapman writes, produces, and hosts a monthly TV news talk show on Pasadena Media's TV channel, called "NewsRap Local with Justin Chapman." The seventeenth episode aired Friday, August 19, 2022. The guest was Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo. They talked about John Kennedy's legacy, the process to appoint his successor on the City Council, the 710 stub, the new city manager and pending police chief, and much more, including breaking news on the USS Pasadena. Watch the full episode below: