Students share and discover art at first Kentchella

The Labra Brothers perform as part of Black Squirrel Radio’s concert stage at the Kentchella Festival. Live music, rock climbing, a silent disco, artwork and fashion shows were featured at Kentchella in the Student Recreation and Wellness Center on Friday, March 10, 2017.

Madeline Crandall

The first annual Kentchella Music and Arts Festival, hosted by the Department of Recreational Services, occupied the Student Recreation and Wellness Center Friday night.

On the Main Stage, placed in front of the rock climbing wall, Black Squirrel Radio presented numerous bands. After the line to the door made its way inside, local trio Booty and the Kidd got the party started at 9:30 p.m. with an upbeat selection of rap music.

Despite the short time slots for bands, more than 17 different performances of all genres had a moment to entertain.

Different student organizations also came out to showcase their work in the community.

Brianna Hunter, a member of Kent Styles, explained their group was a fashion organization focused on freelance styling.

“Kentchella was a great opportunity to get our name out there to people for the first time,” Hunter said. “We know there is a lot of aspiring stylists at Kent because of the fashion program so it was nice to be able to meet some of them today.”

Kent Styles worked for months in preparation of their fashion show, which premiered signature styles at midnight of the festival. Hunter said she was grateful to be able to express her creativity at a local event.

“I think everyone coming together and focusing on everyone’s talent — as far as art, fashion and music — is an amazing thing,” Hunter said. “It’s a really good way to get out of your comfort zone and show people all that you have to offer.”

Kent Clarks member Julia Stoll shared her viewpoint on the importance of events like Kentchella.

“Kent Clarks has a great support system but that was all reestablished tonight when we saw the room fill up with people to see us,” Stoll said. “Also, being able to sing at an event where so much local talent is being showcased is a special feeling.”

Erik Johnson, a freshman exploratory major, experienced Kentchella as his first music festival.

“I wasn’t really expecting much but it was a way better turnout than I thought the Rec Center would ever produce,” Johnson said. “It made me want to be part of making this an annual event for all of Kent to be able to experience”

Steven Langdon, marketing coordinator for the recreational services and creator of Kentchella, worked closely with a group of nine students over the past year to make this event happen.

He explained that the hardest part is all the little details people wouldn’t think of, including power usage, waiver issues and ground setup.

“I know this event is something way different than we have ever done in the past and we are capable of so much more,” Langdon said. “This open-house type event is nice so people can come and go when they please and enjoy all the performances.”

Langdon is looking to expand the festival throughout the next couple years to try to collaborate with Kent State as much as possible.

“The turnout was amazing and I’m already excited for next year to see what talent we can uncover from Kent State,” Langdon said. “I know that this community has huge potential and I can’t wait to see how big this production can get.”

Matthew Ayzenberg, a junior entrepreneurship major, was appreciative of all the different types of art showcased at Kentchella.

“The production of the festival was amazing. There was great food, music and people everywhere,” Ayzenberg said. “I’m really glad I got to be able to experience and be part of this event. It makes me proud to see Kent come together like this.”

Local band Passenger Trip’s members were born and raised in Kent. Their life-long friendships have created the perfect opportunity for creative outlets to be made.

Colin McDevitt, keyboardist, explained that Kentchella was the perfect opportunity to get their band name to the public.

Despite their nervousness along with their first performance of this size, the support of friends and fans helped them put on a great show.

“We really needed something like this to be able to put ourselves and our name out there for people to enjoy,” he said. “Being able to use this level of equipment to improve our performance skills was a crazy feeling.”

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