Despite last minute venue changes and ending the event an hour early due to weather, the Student Alumni Association’s annual SpringFest carnival and concert saw a successful student turnout Saturday.
After Friday night’s hailstorm, social media outlets were alerted Saturday morning to inform students that SpringFest would be moving locations. In order to avoid unfavorable wet grass and mud, the event was relocated from the Faubus Fountain Lake lawn next to the Hunter Welcome Center to the outdoor basketball courts and lawn next to the Student Recreation and Wellness Center.
The weather cleared up just in time for the carnival, which took place from 4 – 7 p.m., allowing a lot of sun for students to play while petting zoo animals, ride a mechanical bull and enjoy Cajun cones.
The concert, which began at 6 p.m., also saw favorable weather conditions throughout the evening until about 9:30 when the second to last band, Sunset at Ivry was supposed to begin their set. Samantha Adkins, senior alumni relations officer and SAA advisor, made the call to end the concert early because of an incoming storm. The significant decrease in temperature, an increase in heavy wind and potential rain threatened to ruin the sound equipment.
“The carnival went really well, it was just sad the last two groups didn’t get to go on,” Adkins said. “Other than that, it was a great evening up until that point.”
Jane & The Gentlemen, the band scheduled to follow Sunset at Ivry, relocated to Cullen Auditorium where many students followed to hear its acoustic set-up. Sunset at Ivry lead singer, Chase Beakley, invited the crowd to his house where they hosted an impromptu performance.
Despite canceling the last hour of the concert, many students filtered in and out during the evening, listening to the nine other bands that performed throughout the warmer portion of the event. The stage set up across the south end of the outdoor basketball court was outfitted with color and strobe lights as well as a fog machine.
“From a music perspective, it’s a really good opportunity for all the musicians to have their friends come and watch them here on campus,” said Drew Ritchie, sophomore biblical text major from Lake Jackson.
As the genres of the bands alternated, so did the demographic of the audience. The freshman band, R.E.D. College, drew a large freshman crowd, while the hip hop/rap group, Parable Records, drew many dancers toward the front of the stage.
Clayton Stewart, lead singer for the Bonnie Doon Dreamers and ACU alumnus (’12), said the audience responded well, even when he forgot to the words to their last song.
“I think the students needed one more night of fun to celebrate the end of spring break before school gets too crazy,” Stewart said.
The evening reflected Abilene weather well, inviting students to dust off their and sandals and break out their warm-weather clothing, surprising them later with the unexpected cold front.
“It was a fun atmosphere for our students to enjoy the spring weather that didn’t necessarily happen,” Adkins said.