The lights were dimmed, music blasted from the crowded room as balloons flew from one side to the other. The performers were hyped, and so were the Blaze Fest attendees.
An event that took almost the whole semester to plan was a journey of trials and tribulations for WRBC The Blaze and their biggest event, Blaze Fest.
The Blaze has struggled with being one of the lesser known organizations on campus, despite their enthusiastic members and fairly regular presence on campus. So, when their biggest event was slowly approaching, they decided to take a different route.
The Blaze wanted Blaze Fest to properly display all their accomplishments and to show off what the radio station has to offer. Blaze Fest is an end of the year concert that celebrates local artists.
Normally, The Blaze would celebrate Blaze Fest on school campus, but this year they decided to take a chance and move the event to Fort Knox, which is a 40 minute commute on the Blue Line.
Student Media Marketing Director Mariah Ermon, a senior IMC major, said she had high hopes for the event and was one of the main organizers putting together the event.
“For WRBC The Blaze, our big thing is Blaze Fest. Putting on the end of the year concert and really making it, ‘hey, this is what Roosevelt does. We have a radio station, come tag along and really hear what the station really does,” said Ermon.
Station manager Chijioke Williams, senior journalism major, chimed in and said that it seems like the student body doesn’t seem to know that RU has a radio. “So Blaze Fest is our big chance to be like ‘hi, hello we’re a group at school that does things that you want to be a part of.’ It’s the big yearly bang that lets the school know we’re there, so they can remember the next year when we have a recruitment and they can join us,” said WIlliams.
He then added that the last two recruits joined because of previous Blaze Fests.
Ermon and Williams also spoke about some of the difficulties that came with finding a place to set the event. Williams said a great difficulty came with the limited budget for school functions, and that they were on the brink of giving up on having the event outside of RU, but that Ermon was able to work something out with the coordinator of Fort Knox.
“Mariah has been the MVP in this process. Speaking to people that needed to be spoken to, looking through paperwork, all of the stuff. Mariah has been on it,” said Williams.
As far as setting up the artists, acts from previous Blaze Fest performed along with newer acts. They reached out to friends who they knew wanted some publicity. Most artists were local, attending RU or surrounding schools or from surrounding suburbs (such as Joliet).
Some of the artist were Rob Reese, Outwest Chico, Valentino, Dear Daze and Conway. The artists performed from 6:30 p.m. to 10:50 p.m. Ermon stated that some of the artists approached them afterwards and said that this was the most fun they’ve had on stage, which really made Ermon happy to hear.
Both Ermon and Williams said they were thoroughly happy with the result of this year’s Blaze Fest. “I’m actually pretty pleased with this. Everything looks good. We got a good amount of people. The energy seems good and people seem happy to be performing,” said Williams
Williams said he liked Fort Knox because it was a good space for those who are both introverted and extroverted. It had a lounge room that was away from the performance area where people could hang out and look at the performances through a glass wall.
Ermon said it was stressful bringing this event together but it came together well. The performance area was full, and although they don’t have an exact estimate, Ermon said she believed there were more than 50 people in attendance.