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‘Hey there, Quinnipiac’
It didn’t feel like autumn, but Fall Fest brought on good music, food and memories for students with opener The Ready Set and fan-favorite headliner the Plain White T’s.
The Student Programming Board’s (SPB) annual event featured the Plain White T’s and The Ready Set had students on their feet dancing to the music and eating from the food trucks, despite the painfully-hot day.
In fact, it was so hot students began putting their smoothies from the Bowl’d food truck against their foreheads to cool down.
The Plain White T’s thanked the crowd for being there despite the heat. Lead singer Tom Higgenson even joked at the irony of the event’s title.
“It’s a little too damn hot for ‘Fall Fest,’” he said.
Last year for Fall Fest, SPB experimented with a different feel for the concert, switching it from country to pop with headliner Timeflies. They kept the new tradition alive this year by choosing pop-eletronic opening act The Ready Set and acoustic-turned-pop-rock headliner Plain White T’s.
“I believe the event was an overall success,” SPB’s Mainstage Chair Joseph Mania said in an email. “The Ready Set started off the event strong and brought a lot of energy to South Lot. Following suit, the Plain White T’s allowed for nostalgia and many classics.”
Mania said SPB’s goal for this year was to find a happy medium between country and pop.
“The Ready Set provided more traditional pop and dance music, while the laid back music of the Plain White T’s provided a mix of genres,” Mania said. “The hope was to have a more inclusive event for students to attend.”
The crowd grew as the Plain White T’s entered the stage. Along with front-men Higgenson and Lopez, the band also consists of Dave Trio, Mike Retondo and De’Mar Hamilton.
Of course, most students’ first experience with this song is from the infamous “iCarly” episode that the band played on after signing Spencer’s back. Students were excited to live out their middle school memories, some even screaming beforehand, “I saw you on ‘iCarly.’”
Throughout the entire performance, chants of “Delilah” spread like wildfire through the crowd in between song breaks. Fans could not wait to hear the band’s iconic song. Finally, in an encore performance, their prayers were answered, though Higgenson let the crowd sing most of it. He did, however, dedicate the song to Quinnipiac.
“We can do whatever we want to,” Higgenson sang. “Hey there Quinnipiac. Here’s to you. This one’s for you.”
The band paused as Higgenson said that in the past, he’s put a lot of different names into “Hey there Delilah,” but “Quinnipiac” was by far the strangest.
The band didn’t just play its “greatest hits,” however. They also played a newer song, “Land of the Living” released in April off it’s upcoming album that Higgenson said is coming later this year.
The best part of their performance was their engagement with the audience. Higgenson made it a point to wave at every fan that waved at him and even went through pointing out specific people he wanted to dedicate “Land of the Living” to.
Because of the band’s name, Fall Fest attire consisted mostly of plain white tees and denim of any kind, whether it was shorts, pants or skirts. In fact, two of the people Higgenson dedicated the song to he named “the Plain White T boys” because of their enthusiastic energy bouncing around the crowd. Higgenson made reference to them throughout the entire set.
As for Higgenson, the singer dressed in a red track jacket and red Mickey Mouse hat showed off his goofy side when interacting with fans making duck faces and sticking his tongue out in photos. One student came up to him asking for a photo and he began telling her that he saw her from the audience, and pointed to the location where she had been standing. These guys care about their fans and made it clearly evident throughout the day.
At the end of their entire set, Higgenson threw his guitar pick to die-hard fan Avery Kundert, who couldn’t move afterwards.
“It was f***ing amazing,” she said. “I listen to this band religiously, I’m f***ing stoked.”
Though opening its doors at 12:30 p.m., The Ready Set (along with drummer Jess Bowen) began his portion of the concert at 1:00 p.m. with his song “Higher.”
Banging his partially-dyed neon-green hair back and forth while jumping around the stage, The Ready Set impressed many fans, even those who only knew his most popular song “Love Like Woah,” which sparked uproar with the crowd. The Ready Set even picked out freshman Sara Allen from the audience and told her she was his new best friend.
“I feel so honored,” Allen said. “Like that’s my future husband right there.”
“To be honest, I was a little unsure (about The Ready Set and the Plain White T’s),” Cavacio said. “A lot of other colleges got different types of music (artists) like Migos, (but) as long as we get the community together and we’re having a good time, that’s all we need.”
Freshman Connor Stull agreed with Cavacio and thinks SPB should consider Migos, for Wake the Giant in the spring.
“Both of my friends go to Syracuse and they got Migos two weekends in a row and obviously that would be really fun, but for this I think (these) are good bands to have,” Stull said. “(Fall Fest) is in the day, everybody’s just calm…nobody wants to be (dancing) to Migos right now, but if it were later in the night, it’d be fun.”
Something both Cavacio and Stull liked were the different food trucks across the parking lot, they said as they were chowing down on their baked potatoes from Spuds.
Stull raved about his baked potato containing bacon, chicken, cheese and butter.
“10/10 (would recommend),” he said.
While the boys liked Spuds, Bowl’d was the most popular food truck by far. Offering ‘basic’ necessities like acai bowls and smoothies, the line extended close to the entrance when the truck sat past the other side of the stage. Higgenson even made reference to it noting how long it was.
A Fall Fest classic, the Whey Station of made an appearance as well with its mouth-watering grilled cheeses that you could top with bacon or tomato. And if you had a sweet tooth but didn’t want a smoothie? Cupcake Chick also graced the parking lot offering delicious gourmet cupcakes for only $3.
All of the food was reasonably priced with nothing costing more than $5.
Overall, Fall Fest could be deemed a success. Sure, there were issues of overheating and girls not being allowed to bring in bags. Bags could not exceed the size of a wristlet and even those were heavily searched, leaving some with no place to put their personal items. One girl complained about where she was supposed to put her car keys if she was’t allowed a bag. A public safety officer told her to go leave her car keys in her car while refusing her entry. However, putting those incidents aside, the bands and food trucks had students overjoyed.
Even when talking to fans afterward, Lopez said he had a great time and that it was a fun experience. After this event, the Quinnipiac community can’t wait for SPB’s next one and to see who will be performing at Wake the Giant in the spring.
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