Local artists brace for Thursday’s FlashFest

Quaylyn Hairston & Nicholas Kotch

The 23rd annual FlashFest, hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government is set for Thursday night, taking over the Student Green at 5 p.m.

In addition to free music, food, games and prizes that will be available to students, rapping duo Rae Sremmurd will perform with special guest Sammy Adams for an exclusive, student-only crowd in the Student Center.

“From a business standpoint, we are bringing back an artist that performed two years ago at FlashFest 2015 — with Jeremih and The Chainsmokers — who since has been on the Billboard Top 100 multiple times, ranking No. 1 song of the year for ‘Black Beatles’ and winning their first Grammy,” said Samuel Graska, president of USG.

The return of the performers was met with mixed emotions from students on social media. While some are thrilled at the return of Sremmurd, other students are not so enthusiastic.

Dakota Craig, a junior business management major, said he will not be attending FlashFest this year.

“I feel as if the artists don’t compare to what we’ve had in the past,” Craig said. “Considering the fact we had Rae Sremmurd here two years ago, I would think there would be better artists that fit the budget and bring someone new to perform at Kent State.”

Solomon St Clair, a freshman visual communication design major, said he will be attending FlashFest and is excited for the multiple acts that will be performing Thursday night.

“I’m paying $10 for a concert where I’m going to have fun with my friends,” said St Clair. “’Black Beatles’ is my jam.”

According to Graska, the outside lineup will consist of local and student talent as a showcase before the headliner. This includes DJ Kyle Conley, a senior communication studies major; Omar Azem, a senior integrated life sciences major; Chil, a band comprised of four students; and wedding band Walk of Shame.

“Students in attendance should expect a fantastic show out of Rae Sremmurd, a solid throwback performance from Sammy Adams, and overall, a great time outside,” Graska said. “Last year’s lineup was obviously a bit larger of names, but the quality of music and talent will still be well worth being in attendance.”

Mixed emotions aside, senior entrepreneurship major Nicholas Batton of the band Chil, is excited for the opportunity to play at the concert and feels as if it’s a homecoming for the band.

“There’s nothing like coming home,” Batton said.

Sean “Spiffy” Styles, lead vocalist of Walk of Shame, does not know for sure what he and the band will be walking into. They play music for all different demographics, including covers that people know and like.

“It is great to have the opportunity, and we appreciate it,” Styles said. “We hope students come out and are supportive.”

Another performing artist that is not worried about FlashFest’s outcome is Azem, a hip-hop rap artist.

“Either you let skepticism paralyze you or you let it move you,” Azem said. “I’m not worried about FlashFest at all.”

Quaylyn Hairston is an entertainment reporter, contact her at [email protected]

Nicholas Kotch is the consumer tech reporter, contact him at [email protected]