What does an event need to guarantee a big turn out? Just combine three elements; live entertainment, free food and close proximity and students are sure to pack the house. It’s true especially when the location is right at Lee Field on campus, the free food includes everything from steak subs to funnel cake, and the main performer for the live entertainment is none other than 90s R&B male super group, Boyz II Men. This year, the Union Activities Board (UAB) used these elements to host their annual Friday Fest to an overwhelming success. In case you missed it and no one has truly broken down the details of the evening, here are some of the events’ highlights and low lights.
From the start, the UAB was extra careful in exercising security and safety at Friday Fest checking bags and utilizing metal detectors before taking tickets. Students were free to roam around to activities like a prize wheel that guaranteed a free T-shirt, or a hockey putting booth to collect some information about the Carolina Hurricanes or just shoot a puck or two. However, the bulk of students went straight to one of the several food booths offering hot dogs, hamburgers, ears of corn, steak subs, pizza, free drinks, funnel cake, and my personal favorite; deep fried candy bars.
If students weren’t interested in food or games, by 5:30 that evening, they could focus their attention on the Michael Jackson tribute band Who’s Bad, the first of the three performers lined up for the evening’s live entertainment. Who’s Bad performed the majority of Michael Jackson’s hits from “Rock WiTh You,” to “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and even some of his recordings with the Jackson Five and of course, Bad. The performance was so high energy and fast paced you would have to appreciate his effort.
“NC State what the f—- is wrong with ya’ll?” Apparently, the crowd wasn’t pumped up enough from Who’s Bad’s performance for rap group Little Brother who followed. Some students were shocked by Little Brother’s language and use of the N word;
“Their language was a little out of control at some points” said Jasmine Brunson, a sophomore in middle grades social studies and language arts education. “It seemed at some points they were cussing unnecessarily” she added also noting that even so, she still thought they were pretty good.
“I think they could have went on without that” commented Alton Wills, a junior in history. “I was surprised at first, but then I remembered that it was Little Brother; they speak controversy sometimes” he added.
After Little Brother wrapped up, the crowd was anxious to see the third and final Friday Fest performers Boyz II Men.
“The wait [for Boyz II Men to come on stage] was the worst” said Brunson, “I was ready to leave.” Nevertheless, she stuck around, and for a powerful show. After some delay, three of the four group members finally hit the stage around 9 p.m. and the hype Little Brother was looking for, finally appeared. If anyone’s feet got tired and they decided to sit in the grass, at this point, they were on their feet at once. Some students even abandoned the unbelievably long funnel cake line in their excitement.
Boyz II Men started with their upbeat, but shortened, hit “Motown Philly” then moved on to “On Bended Knee.” I was a little concerned that they wouldn’t have time to perform some more of their own music when they sang a Motown medley, but then they began what they deemed a “Boyz II Men history lesson” performing songs and giving some background on those songs as they went. They handed out roses to the women in the audience (in the first few rows of course) while performing “I’ll make love to you” and had students call their moms during a heartfelt performance of “Mama.” It seemed the band had reached it last breath when they performed “End of the Road” and afterwards many students began to leave the field. However, Boyz II Men came back out on stage for one final song: a full performance of “Motown Philly.”
Students were thrilled. Wills recalled “The whole performance was great, I grew up listening to them, so it just took me down memory lane a little bit.”
Students also had great things to say about the UAB’s effort this year. “Boyz II Men were awesome!” said Charlotte Lewis a junior in zoology. “I was so surprised that we actually got such a big name group for the event. I say for the UAB to keep up the momentum and good work, the event was truly the highlight of Welcome Week. What a way to welcome the freshmen! Wills added “I feel that it was a success, The UAB finally provided an event in which everybody could take part in and enjoy. It had been a little while since someone that I knew of performed on this campus.”
Needless to say, after such a successful event, this year’s Friday Fest will be the one to top.