The double silver doors of Elting Gym swung open as spectators of the 2015 SUNY New Paltz Spring Fest were greeted by DJ Phaze already perched on the stage behind his turntable. He shouted to the crowd to get pumped for the awesome late-evening show to come as the lights dimmed low.
Starting off the two-act concert on Saturday, April 25, was Best Coast – The American rock duo of songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Bethany Cosentino and guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno formed in Los Angeles, California in 2009.
Their 16-song set opened with the song “Last Year.”
Their California vibes filled the air as they performed songs from their newest album, “California Nights,” which will be coming out on May 4. The album’s title track was performed surrounded by its album mates, “Feeling Ok” and “Heaven Sent.” Songs from all three of their studio albums were also performed to the hyped up crowd.
In between artists, Student Association Productions (SAP) spread the energy by tossing “Spring Fest” t-shirts into the vast and roaring sea of over 1,000 students filling the gym.
Next up to perform was the American hip-hop recording artist from Flushing, Queens, Arian Arslani, better known by his stage name, Action Bronson.
Bronson brought his energetic stage presence to SUNY New Paltz, while rapping songs off his March 2015 release “Mr. Wonderful,” which debuted at number seven on the US Billboard 200. Top hits such as “Easy Rider,” “Actin Crazy,” “Terry” and “Baby Blue” were all in his one hour set.
Halfway through, Bronson left the stage to engage with the crowd, eventually parting the audience to make it all the way up to the bleachers full with eager fans.
Goldie Harrison, vice president of programming and concert organizer, said the fest turnout was great and that next year’s concert will be even better.
“I feel really awesome and satisfied,” Harrison said. “I’ve never seen students so excited for a concert before. Action [Bronson] was nuts. I’m so happy the students were satisfied. Next year is going to be twice as better. We got an increase in our budget so it’s going to be nuts. That was the first time that we’ve ever had such a packed house. Usually the concerts are half-packed, but it was actually really packed and it was beautiful.”
Bronson said he heard about New Paltz from his friend who attended school here.
“It was incredible, it was beautiful,” Bronson said, referring to the New Paltz crowd. “Good times.”
Jake Wiener, fourth-year biology major, said he loved when Bronson walked into the crowd and rapped from the bleachers, right next to the students.
“All of those people didn’t expect to see him so close,” Wiener said. “I thought that was pretty cool, he got really into the show and he involved everybody. I’m a huge fan of Action Bronson, so I’ve been hoping for this all year.”
Best Coast’s live performance made the night for second-year sociology major Jackie Shannon.
“They come all the way from California,” Shannon said. “I’ve loved them for two years, so I was really stoked about it.”
A crew of student volunteers helped to set up the elaborate stage from 8 a.m. to noon for the evening’s spectacle. After the show ended at 11 p.m., the crew worked for over two hours to take it down. The production took the work of everyone, Dariah Duncan, Volunteer Chair of SAP said.
After it was over, students left the gym with amused grins and sweat on their faces, enthralled by the performance.