Updated: Sept. 2, 2017 at 10:33 p.m.
Fall Fest was hampered by set time changes, dreary weather and a dismal crowd turnout at University Yard Saturday.
The event’s start time was changed the day before from 4 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. due to inclement weather, but Program Board was still unable to escape the unfavorable conditions as rain picked up around 2:10 p.m., just before the first act went on.
It was obvious to many, including the acts themselves, that the rain had turned off potential students from seeing the set. Just enough students to line up against the stage attended the concert and others filtered in and out for the giveaway items.
“It’s been a little anticlimactic, in the sense that they go, ‘Make some noise!’ and you only hear a couple woops,” freshman Maggie Thielens, an international affairs major who watched the performance from the Crepeaway line, said.
In response to the conditions and turn out of the event, Program Board posted a meme on their Facebook page using a photo of Sean Spicer, President Donald Trump’s former press secretary, talking about the “largest” inauguration turn out.
“Program Board aims to provide fun and accessible events to the entire student body – and we continue to deliver on that promise, rain or shine,” Ben Shepherd, Program Board’s marketing chair, said in a release. “Despite the weather, Little Simz and Grandtheft put on energetic shows that students enjoyed.”
Both musical acts commented on the dreariness of the day. Rapper Little Simz said that since she is originally from London, the weather did not bother her.
Sponsors like HBO, Equinox, Pinstripes and Crepeaway gave out free swag and food. Many students seemed to come for the giveaways, leaving the yard with their goods without ever setting foot near the concert stage. Sweepstakes for tickets to the All Things Go Fall Classic and four concerts at 9:30 Club were announced between the two sets.
Sarah Roach, a freshman who said she has attended several events in her first week of school, said that she opted out of watching both acts, hoping to study with her friends after finishing her Domino’s Pizza slice.
“We thought this was a good way of getting a free meal,” Roach said. “We don’t really know the artists.”
The first act had a dismal turnout despite Little Simz’s effervescent performance. The line for free crepes outnumbered the crowd for the UK-based artist Little Simz, who brought a consistent energy despite the atmosphere. At the beginning of the set, the DJ asked students to come away from the sponsor tents since the music was starting but hardly anyone budged.
Little Simz, whose banter was inviting and funny, provided fast hip-hop that felt influenced by M.I.A. in some of its catchy melodies and vocal overdubs. During the set, she played a track “Doorways + Trust Issues,” which transitioned from a traditional rap flow into a reverb-soaked guitar piece with jazzy instrumentation and a spoken word interlude.
The crowd grew slightly for the second act, Toronto-based Grandtheft, who brought a hyped up set to a small but dedicated group of students. During the DJ-set, people began nodding their heads and dancing, unafraid to dirty their shoes in the mud beginning to gel the grounds of University Yard.
The students in the crowd were more willing to follow the chants and sing-alongs of Grandtheft, who played recognizable Rihanna and Major Lazer songs. During his set, the audience finally grew in a number which took up the stage’s front barriers. Bass-heavy EDM tunes flowed into one another getting students to jump up and down.
At one point, a couple of students beside the crowd performed an enthusiastic dance to the Toronto DJ’s set that became a performance itself, with students flocking to watch. One of the dancers was Krista Celentano, a senior and member of Capital Funk, who said this is her fourth Fall Fest. Celentano, who listened to the musicians the day of the show, said the rain stopped many students from attending.
“This is definitely the smallest crowd I’ve seen for this event,” Celentano said.
John Deruff, a freshman in civil engineering, said he didn’t know there was a second act and came to Fall Fest for the giveaways.
“I heard really loud music and just kind of came over here,” Deruff said. “I haven’t really been listening, to be honest.”
This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
The Hatchet incorrectly spelled Ben Shepherd’s last name. It is now correct. We regret this error.