With a lineup like We The Kings, Far East Movement, and Scarletta, you might expect to be talking about a concert at University Park. Penn State Abington students are smashing the expectations of commonwealth campuses with events like Nittany Music Fest.
Hosted by LEAP, Nittany Music Fest was the first event of such a huge magnitude to be held at Abington. After a year’s worth of planning, the concert took place Saturday April 11, 2015. Mark that date as the day that student leaders changed Penn State Abington history. An event like this sets the bar incredibly high for future events, but LEAP President, Justin Brouse, doesn’t think that’s a problem.
“I really believe that this event is the perfect representation of what students can accomplish. We worked with contracts, networking, managing huge acts, and so much more. I think that our student leaders are capable of reaching the moon and back,” said Brouse, a junior here at Abington. Brouse has been President of LEAP for two years, and in that time he’s accomplished a lot. Despite all he’s done, it goes without argue that Nittany Music Fest is his magnum opus. Brouse pushed for the idea over a year ago, confident that Abington’s students could organize the event, and that it would bring together the student community. “I really wanted to provide a large-scale experience for students who attended the event, as well as students who helped make the event happen,” Brouse stated.
Brouse undeniably provided the large-scale experience he’d imagined. After all, it’s not every day that the Athletic Building is transformed into a venue complete with backstage areas, dressing rooms, a full stage (diamond-shaped, shout-out to THON), crowd barriers, and a professional sound system. But thanks to the incredible organizational efforts put forth by members of LEAP and other student volunteers, the transformation went smoothly. Coming from someone who has seen his fair share of venues, and a handful of dressing rooms (or green rooms), the Athletic Building makeover was something really impressive. Even the VIP’s for the night agreed!
All of the performers had only great things to say about their experience here at Penn State Abington. They admired the effort students put into converting the locker rooms into dressing rooms. They appreciated the hospitality everyone had to offer. We The Kings’ hospitality team even bought Travis a cake to celebrate his birthday, for which he was genuinely thankful. He even showed some loved to Penn State on his Instagram.
Of course, Kev Nish from Far East Movement showed some Penn State pride, throwing on a Nittany Music Fest staff shirt! (Trust me, that’s a staff shirt)
I talked to a lot of different staff members during the event, asking them what it meant to them to be part of something so revolutionary on campus. Many responses were similar, students saying that the concert was a blast to be a part of, but more importantly, how important it is to the future of events on campus. Students who have been at Abington for 3 or 4 years, like Dan Fauni and Stacy Wanerman, know how groundbreaking Nittany Music Fest is in the sense that multiple big-name music acts came to perform at Abington. Student life is a powerful thing here, and is arguably the driving force for most of the events that take place on campus, so seeing the limits of what can be done being pushed is astounding.
With boundaries being broken, there’s room for so much more expansion of events like this on campus. With that in mind, I asked Brouse if he could see Nittany Music Fest becoming something even larger, to which he said, “I definitely think that with any event there’s the potential to grow into something even bigger. I can’t wait to see where this event is in the future. There are so many positive outcomes, from increases of student involvement to just the general enjoyment and satisfaction of the student body.” Justin’s successor, LEAP’s incoming president, Kim Bradley, also spoke on the future of the event, saying, “Nittany Music Fest is definitely an event that I would love to continue during my Presidency. It was a lot of hard work, but it was definitely worth it in the end and I would love to leave my mark on Abington with a huge event like this.”
At the end of it all- the year of intense planning, the weeks of preparation, the hours spent transforming the Athletic Building, and the night of euphoria that it all led up to- Nittany Music Fest was a success. Anyone who was there can confirm that. The bar is set high, but Abington students will unquestionably continue to amaze the community, the university, and themselves with what is possible.
One last thing I asked Brouse was if he had anything else to say about Nittany Music Fest or student life in general. He replied, “The one thing I’d definitely like to do is encourage more students to get involved on our campus. Penn State Abington is so diverse and offers so much to the students. With over 50 active student organizations and events like this one, students really have an opportunity to make a difference and change their lives.” I can’t help but agree with him. You get what you put into your college experience, and events like this just go to show that students have the power to make an impact and be the change they want to see.
Being a part of Nittany Music Fest has made me even more proud to call myself a Penn State student, and even more proud of my commonwealth campus. Penn State really does live here. (WE ARE)
For more images from Nittany Music Fest, check out the Flickr of Penn State Alum, Anthony Sorendino, here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/71904701@N06/sets/72157649623887233/with/17114317876/