By Joelle Tatter
Anybody who dared to venture into Congress Lounge from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. last Wednesday or Thursday would’ve heard music blasting from WRBC: The Blaze’s Blazefest.
Blazefest, a years long tradition for the radio station here at Roosevelt University, is an annual event that closes out the station’s season of open mic nights. Local musicians from all over the city of Chicago play for students and non-students alike at what is essentially a free concert.
The music that was played covered a wide range of genres from hard rock to rap to even the occasional group that had a jazz or oldies feel. Refreshments were also free to anybody who came in, and people were free to come and go as they liked.
Free food and drinks? A free concert featuring good music from local musicians? A way to support the university’s radio station? You’d think Congress Lounge would’ve been packed and spilling out into the Faiman Lounge, and yet, that ended up not being the case.
It wasn’t empty, but it certainly wasn’t full, either.
Tyler Olmstee, freshman and managing director of WRBC explained, “I feel like it takes up so much time, and I don’t think people realize they can just swing in and out, and that they don’t have to be there the whole time. … Promotion’s been the hardest part.”
Despite the days that Olmstee said she and her colleagues sat in the Wabash Building cafeteria and blasted music to promote the radio station, she said most people around campus still do not seem to know it exists.
Despite the lack of a huge crowd, all of the performers played as if they were standing before a crowd of thousands, playing songs about topics that ranged from silly to serious, the most haunting one being about gun violence in Chicago and how it destroys families.
There was plenty of loud cheering at the end of each of the performers’ sets.
Those who came seemed to think that events like these are important for various reasons.
“It’s a good way to bring the students together and open their minds about new genres of music,” sophomore Naomi Obahor explained.
Fellow sophomore Jonathon Curry had his own view about why events like these need to happen: “To showcase peoples’ talent, because otherwise, you’d never know about them, and they’d be stuck at their house, unable to promote their music. I’d love more events likes these.”
“Talent” is right, as not one group throughout the entire two-night event seemed able to not put on a good show.
When the final group of Wednesday night, Zoo, placed free CDs of their album at the front of the stage at the end of their set, most of the crowd went up and grabbed one, and many attendees seemed disappointed when Blazefest ended.