By AARON KREIN
Friday, this year’s annual Rose Rock music festival took place on the quad to a crowd. The Ready Set headlined the “Blast from the Past”-themed event after three opening acts took the stage. An inflatable collision course as well as games of KanJam and garbage pong were also open to the public.
The event was hosted by junior Alquan Higgs and freshman Hunter Hitchcock, who both advised attendees to participate in the event’s social media selfie challenge. Hitchcock said he was interviewed for the role of emcee by SA executive board members Vito Van Dunk and Sonia Morreira and convinced them he was right for the position by showcasing what he would be able to bring to the stage. Although he was nervous at first, Hitchcock found the interactiveness of the crowd comforting.
One of Saint Rose’s student bands, Miss This, took the stage first with nine tracks including their latest single, “Skate Away.” Zach Grappone, the band’s lead singer, used call-and-response to interact with listeners close to the stage. Set with trumpet, trombone and saxophone players, this alt-rock-meets-hip-hop band received a major reaction from the audiences. There was even a mini mosh pit brought together by some people in the crowd near the end of the set. People yelled for an encore after they finished but Grappone told the crowd that they were out of time.
“I don’t think we’ve had a crowd with energy levels that high,” said Grappone.
Freshman David Di Maggio, who came to support Miss This, said he enjoyed attending his first Rose Rock and would definitely come back next year.
“It’s nice to see everyone out. You don’t see that too often,” said Di Maggio.
North Bronx native Denzil Porter took the stage with his “nostalgic” hip-hop-influenced rhymes backed by two hype men. Throughout his set, he urged for hip hop fans to put their hands up and for people towards the back of the quad to come closer. At one point, Porter told the crowd, “I feel so far from ya’ll.” He also sampled tracks such as Montell Jordan’s “This is How We Do It” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around” while performing.
Porter, who has played for college audiences before, said that “everybody was in tune” and that this was a great opportunity to share his music.
Evan Thomas Weiss, better known by his stage name, “Into It. Over It.,” took the stage solo with just a guitar. He told the crowd that he was instructed to keep it PG-13 and that he would only cuss once. He also talked a lot between his songs, especially commenting on events taking place towards the back of the quad.
“I’ve never played a show looking at a bounce house before,” said Weiss while on stage.
Weiss said that he loves playing in upstate New York because of the warm weather around this time of year. He also said that playing for “awkward” audiences such as college students is good for musicians to learn from.
“It keeps you, as a musician, prepared for any situation,” said Weiss.
Before the headliner’s set, Hitchcock gained everyone’s attention by doing a Snapchat of the crowd, in which many were doing the wave.
At a quarter to five, The Ready Set took the stage and played a 13-song set. The one-hit wonder, known for his 2010 debut, “Love Like Whoa,” suffered a technical malfunction during his third song when the table holding his keyboard, mixer and laptop flipped over. Jordan Witzigreuter blamed the incident on the harsh winds but made light of the situation.
“That’s the first time that’s ever happened and it’s the coolest thing ever,” said Witzigreuter on stage.
The Ready Set performed other tracks such as his new single “Paycheck,” “Young Forever” and “Give Me Your Hand (Best Song Ever).” That last song closed his set, which was followed by Witzigreuter joining fans by the left side of the stage for selfies.
Vito Van Dunk, the current Director of Social Activities, said that a third of the event’s merchandise sold within an hour and a half. Each of the three shirts were inspired by shows that were “prominent” during the childhoods of most current Saint Rose students: “Scooby Doo,” “Kim Possible,” and “Rugrats.” Van Dunk said the committee wanted the shirts to be “relatable.” A $10 bundle with all three shirts plus a pair of sunglasses was available for purchase, along with shirts from past SA events in their “yard sale.” Despite a few challenges setting up, Van Dunk believes the day went smoothly.
“I was happy with the turnout even though the weather wasn’t perfect,” said Van Dunk.
Senior Amanda Lucido, who has attended the last three festivals, said that the events helps bring all kinds of students together.
“It’s so nice to sit out here with friends. It’s like our last hurrah before finals,” said Lucido.