Black Squirrel Fest celebrates 25th birthday

Lisa Hlavinka

Stacy Stewart, student director of the Kent Student Center programming board, said this year’s Black Squirrel Festival promises to be the biggest to date.

“This is probably going to be our biggest festival,” Stewart said. “Last year we thought it was huge, (but) it’s even bigger this year.”

The festival, which begins at 10 a.m., will focus on local music, including musicians Amplexus, Fionna Faulk, 1959, Pompeii, This Morning, Aaron Shay and The Threads. The only band playing at the festival that isn’t local is The Starkats, which hails from Pittsburgh.

“I think it’s going to be a really good show,” said Amplexus guitarist Mahlon Rhodes. The band grew up in Kent and many of its members have attended Kent State including Rhodes, who hopes to reach a new audience during his performance tomorrow.

“I’m excited, and kind of weirded out, too, because usually we’re playing for people that are going to see a specific thing,” Rhodes said.

Another musician hoping to extend her fanbase tomorrow is folk guitarist Fionna Faulk, who describes her music as a hybrid of Norah Jones, Alanis Morisette and Jewel.

“My older brother and my father are both graduates of Kent State University and I’ve learned a lot about how close and supportive the campus is here, and how much they support and get behind their local musicians,” said Faulk, a Cleveland native.

In addition to the music, carnival games will give people the opportunity to win prizes during the day. There will be a poster ring toss and trivia questions will be given to the audience between bands for a variety of prizes as well.

Event supervisor Erin Jaeger said more than $2,000 in prizes were donated by local businesses.

Some of this year’s donors include the Cleveland Browns, the Akron Aeros, Nintendo, and the Cleveland Museum of Art. The prizes range from T-shirts and chapstick to gift cards for local restaurants and clothing stores.

After the festival, The 40-year-old Virgin will be shown in Risman Plaza at 8 p.m.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Lisa Hlavinka at [email protected].