Bad weather, big crowds: FlashFest 2016 showcases diverse music

Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte of 3OH!3 pose for a picture on the Student Green before Flashfest on Thursday, April 21, 2016.

Angelo Angel

The annual spring FlashFest was held on Thursday, April 21, with prominent music artists alongside outdoor games and merchandise for sale throughout the soggy afternoon.

FlashFest consisted of six music performances throughout the afternoon, with acts that included: Lacy Cavalier, DJ Boshane, Jon Langston, Chevy Woods, Chase Rice, 3OH!3 and Wiz Khalifa.

Despite the persistent rain that threaten to make a repeat of last year’s FlashFest weather, where the Chainsmokers, Rae Sremmurd and Jeremih were moved into the MAC, festival-goers braved through the weather to see the outside acts whether it was Synthpop duo 3OH3 or country starlet Lacy Cavalier.

Johnathon Benjamin, the Kent State USG Director of Student Involvement, said that this years FlashFest was very ambitious and worked to encompass genres so everyone had a place to go.

“It’s honestly been on the members of USG’s minds for awhile but Kevin and Colin Otubu have been carefully planning FlashFest for months now,” Benjamin said.

FlashFest kicked off the festival at 4:30 p.m. when country musicians Lacy Caviler and Jon Langston played at the student green amid the light shower of rain coating the crowd and stage equipment.

When it came to 3OH!3’s opening time, the crowd at student green extended back 50 feet from the stage where Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman, the duo behind 3OH!3, began performing a mix of old and new hits. 

“We’re here to party and it looks like it finally stopped raining,” Nathaniel said while he sported a Kent State baseball jersey. 

3OH!3 performed classic hits that they performed on Kent’s campus in 2010, when they performed with Cobra Starship, as well as new music they have recently released. 

After finishing their set, 3OH!3 signed autographs and took selfies with the fans while the roadie crew for Chase Rice prepped the stage for the rising country star.

Leilah Absi, a senior nutrition major, has been to every FlashFest since she was a freshmen and she especially loved this year’s lineup. “I really do appreciate that they’ve made an effort to be more inclusive of other genres,” Absi said. “But honestly I’m here trying to achieve my pre-teen goal of seeing 3OH!3.”

When Chase Rice finally arrived to the stage, he started by pumping up the crowd behind a white sheet that covered the entire stage. Rice and his band then proceeded to rock his audience away, playing his hits such as “Ready, Set, Let’s Roll”.

Zack Ehrhardt, a senior criminal justice major, is an avid country fan who couldn’t believe that USG was bringing Chase Rice to FlashFest. “It surprised me that I could see Chase Rice for free on the student green and was immediately knew that I was going.

Jon Langston was also in the crowd enjoying Chase Rice’s performance and was thrilled that he could’ve opened for him. It was his first time in Ohio and aside from the rain, he was “loving the reception here at Kent State”.

As Chase Rice wrapped up the last show at the student green, students began to head over to the MAC where DJ Boshane, Chevy Woods and Wiz Khalifa are slated to take over the night and close out FlashFest.

DJ Boshane kept the crowd busy upfront all while the roadies and tech crews were prepping for the final act of the night, Wiz Khalifa. The last time that DJ Boshane performed for the Kent crowd was in August 2015 during blastoff week, where he was invited back to FlashFest to hype the crowd up for Wiz Khalifa.

As the crowd waited for the long awaited Wiz, Pittsburgh native and Taylor Gang member Chevy Woods hit the crowd as a professional hype man, swaying the crowd with his hits such as “30 Deep”. 

When Wiz Khalifa took stage, the Kent crowd exploded with cheers as the Pittsburgh-native rapper opened his set with “Most of Us”, rocking the crowd to his beat.

“Kent State makes some noise,” Wiz Khalifa shouted to the crowd. “We’re gonna celebrate tonight.”

Mariah Tyler, a freshman fashion merchandise, was pumped to see Wiz Khalifa and hoped that he would perform “We Dem Boyz” before the night was over.

And sure enough, Wiz Khalifa couldn’t help but perform “We Dem Boyz”, one of his most iconic songs.

As FlashFest winded down everyone was filing out of the MAC looking exhausted yet ecstatic that they were able to see Wiz Khalifa.

Brian Cannon, the Kent State USG Executive Director, was relieved that the event went smoothly despite the constant threat of rain that loomed over the afternoon.

“I personally think that Wiz Khalifa put on a phenomenal performance,” Cannon said. “Overall I think it’s one of the better FlashFest I’ve been through in my four years.”