Kent State celebrates 2013 FlashFest

Caitlin Potts

With arms waving, music playing and lights strobing, excitement filled the air at the M.A.C. Center during Kent State’s 2013 FlashFest Thursday.

From noon to 5 p.m., students gathered under the sunshine to dance, play corn hole, eat hot dogs and lounge on the Student Green. The festivities featured outside vendors, contests and giveaways.

Lainnee Greshner, freshman pre-nursing major, and her friends played games for prizes at Risman Plaza. She said they planned to hang out at the Student Green and then go to the concert later on in the evening.

“I’ve heard about [the performers] and looked some of them up and stuff, so I’m pretty excited,” Greshner said.

Others weren’t as familiar with this year’s performers Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki.

Megan Phillips, junior American Sign Language major, said she was interested to see what the performers would sing.

“I’ve never heard of any of them, but I’ll see what they’re like,” Phillips said.

Whether students knew of him or not, the crowd cheered loudly in anticipation when Lamar came on stage at the M.A.C. Center.

Lamar wore a white T-shirt and eventually layered it with a Kent State basketball jersey.

“Kent State, I want ya’ll to know I see you as family,” Lamar said.

He performed songs like “Poetic Justice” and “Good Kid” off of his latest album, “good kid, m.A.A.d city.” Lamar connected with the crowd and they fed off of his energy.

Before playing his final song, he pointed to four audience members from the floor section. The audience cheered as Lamar motioned for them to come up on stage.

“These four people knew every word to every song I did tonight,” Lamar said. “And because of that, I will always come back to Kent State.”

After Lamar’s set, Aoki entered the stage to a roaring crowd.

“Kent State, this is something brand new, and I want to share it with you,” Aoki said.

Strobe lights flashed brightly as music blasted through the M.A.C. Center. Students jumped up and down, packed together on the floor.

Elizabeth Holton, senior advertising major and Director of Programming for Undergraduate Student Government, said she’s proud of the program this year.

“We work our best on this show to make sure that students of Kent State get the best entertainment and that they get it for free,” Holton said. “We tried to tap into different genres and test the waters.”

Sarah Gilmore, senior psychology major, said she really enjoyed Lamar’s performance. She knew his last song, “Swimming Pools (Drank),” and was excited to hear it live.

“I was waiting to hear it all night,” Gilmore said. “I’m glad he did it because it’s one of my favorites.”

Bad Rabbits and 5 & A Dime opened the show.

Contact Caitlin Potts at [email protected].