From empty to overflowing: FlashFest 2009

Katie Young

Lester Lefton introduces Motion City Soundtrack while students throw out free Flashfest t-shirts to the crowd. Katie Roupe | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

A rainy forecast didn’t keep crowds away from this year’s FlashFest in the M.A.C. Center. The annual event, which attracted roughly 4,000 concertgoers, was headlined by The Used, Motion City Soundtrack and State Radio.

Stater reporter Katie Young spent yesterday covering FlashFest 2009 from the M.A.C. Center. These are her observations.

2:44 p.m.– The M.A.C. Center is still relatively empty, and only a handful of students wait by the doors to the arena. Concession stand employees man their stations, prepared for hungry concertgoers.

2:53 p.m.– Phil Wienholts, the FlashFest production manager, begins to round up security guards. He looks stressed.

“I’m keeping bands on time, I’m dealing with the security, and I’m working with the Fire Marshall,” he says. Wienholts quickly walks through the backstage area, giving directions to State Radio who are en route to the arena.

3:19 p.m.– Battle of the Bands winner Justin Miller takes the stage in front of a crowd of about 100 people. When asked who he was most excited for, Dan Northern, sophomore computer science major, just smiles and points towards the stage.

3:29 p.m.– USG programming director Mike Szabo says he is pleased with the turnout so far and was expecting the show to sell out.

“I don’t think the weather has affected us,” he says. “At least not yet.”

3:46 p.m.– Backstage, Dan Campbell, the lead singer of the Wonder Years, asks a USG volunteer if there is anything he can do to help.

“We’re not the type to just be like, ‘Oh we’re rock stars,'” Campbell said.

4:02 p.m.– Lead singer for Red Sun Rising Mike Protich makes a reference to last weekend’s riot during a break between songs.

“You can’t have flames like that with rain,” he said.

5:17 p.m.– Several fans run to the crowd after showing up late during the Wonder Years’ set, singing loudly along with the band.

5:20 p.m.– Backstage, Wienholts prepares to execute the next part of USG’s FlashFest plan.

“Are you ready to see something crazy?” he asked. “We’re going to empty out the floor after this band.”

5:43 p.m.– Before Szabo can make the announcement asking students to clear the floor and head to the exit, the crowd sprints to the back of the arena to get in line.

5:46 p.m.– Szophia Kress, a 16-year-old from Pittsburgh, says she has been at the M.A.C. Center since 10 a.m. She found out about the event from the Used’s Web site. Kress says she has been a fan since 2002.

5:52 p.m.– Naomi Christensen, an 18-year-old from Medina, said she is considering enrolling at Kent State next year, in part because of events like FlashFest.

“It’s free, and it gets all the students together,” she said.

7:50 p.m. – Justin Pierre, lead singer of Motion City Soundtrack, paces backstage while doing vocal warm-ups. The rest of the band waits to take to the stage.

8:25 p.m.– Lester Lefton joins Motion City Soundtrack on stage to a mixture of cheers and boos. USG members toss T-shirts into the crowd while Lefton welcomes the band.

9:48 p.m. – Cameras flash, and The Used’s logo flickers on the stage’s backdrop as the band begins their set.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Katie Young at [email protected].