Outdoor FlashFest entertains Flashes crowd

Kent State freshman construction management major Chandler Hildebrand bungees at FlashFest 2017 on Thursday, April 20, 2017, on the Student Green.

Madeline Crandall

Different types of performances entertained Kent State students Thursday for the outdoor portion of FlashFest. With games, a bungee trampoline, food and a diverse set of artists, students gathered on the Student Green for several hours of free entertainment.

Omar, Chil, Walk of Shame and Kyle Conley were all artists that took the stage for the music-filled event. The concert started at 5 p.m. with Omar’s soulful rapping and singing.

This was Omar’s first big performance and his “good vibe tribe” was surely present. People slowly gravitated towards the Kent State rapper’s tunes as he kicked off the event.

“I was for sure excited for this opportunity to play at the outdoor portion of FlashFest this year,” Omar said. “There was some skepticism coming from students about the outdoor lineup but I think it’s great people get to express their creative side.”

There was an evident group of students present that came to see Omar. Their cheers sounding throughout the crowd encouraged other students to get more engaged.

Alexis Keida, a freshman communication studies major, was appreciative of Omar’s performance.

“It’s not easy for a lot of people to get on stage and share their creative lyrics like that,” Kedia said. “It may have been a smaller show but I’m glad he got the opportunity to express himself and get people excited for his music.”

Chil, a local band made up of Kent State students, performed next. Their alternative music consisting of punk, rock and indie styles had students up on their feet and dancing more than the previous performance.

Kathleen Hickey, a freshman pre-fashion design and merchandising major, was attending her first FlashFest. She said she really liked Chil’s performance.

“They were super high-energy and actually got the crowd moving a little compared to the others acts. I came with a couple of my friends who have heard of them playing in Kent before and we knew they were locals and went to school here,” Hickey said. “It was cool seeing a band I knew of on campus.”

Nick Batton, lead singer and guitarist of Chil, said getting to play so close to home means a lot to the band.

“I was very unsure on how many people were going to show, up but the turnout was actually really good,” Batton said. “We are all from Kent so playing here is something special that we love.”

Chil has worked with famous artists such as All Time Low and performed at many local venues from Kent to Cleveland since 2007, including The Kent Stage, Musica in Akron, The House of Blues and The Cleveland Agora.

Ian Minneck, lead guitarist of Chil, has been a member of the band since 2012. He said he was thrilled by the performance they had Thursday.

“We could tell a lot of people came out just to have fun, even if they didn’t necessarily know the music,” Minneck said. “And we always love meeting people through our shows and making new friends, especially here at Kent.”

Chil covered The Weeknd’s “I Feel It Coming” and ended their set with a song off their newest album, “No Sleep, No Silence.”

Walk of Shame, based out of Pittsburgh, performed next. Their classic country-rock style seemed tailored to fit the student’s desires as they covered different hits throughout the years.

Chad Fischback, a sophomore marketing major, was participating in his second FlashFest. He said this year’s performances varied from the last.

“I think that during my freshman FlashFest there were more people. Students were complaining about an older wedding band coming, but I thought their covers made it so students could sing along and have a good time,” Fischback said. “Me and my friends enjoyed seeing an experienced band come and play for us for free.”

Walk of Shame covered Zac Brown Band’s “Chicken Fried,” and other sing-alongs like Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise.” Later in the set they started to mix in more classics like Sublime’s “Love is What I Got.”

Kyle Conley closed out the night as the line for Rae Summond’s performance in the M.A.C. Center began to reach the library. Conley spun music on stage from hip-hop, deep-house and intensified dance music.

Mitch McNally, a freshman pre-fashion design and merchandising major, talked about how Conley’s act had a strong presence.

“At the beginning, nobody was there because everyone was either gone for the day or in line for the big show, but then he started to play music and it changed,” McNally said. “He told everyone to come up from the back and people actually did. The energy completed shifted and it was really good dance music.”

Madeline Crandall is an entertainment reporter, contact her at [email protected]