After a month of planning, Student Association (SA) Productions hosted a local artist-only event on Sunday, Dec. 5 in the Student Union Multi Purpose Room. Thirteen artists took the stage, ranging from bands to slam poets, for the first ever Winterfest: The BlackOut.
A committee was formed for the event and although they were extremely pressed for time, they were able to find a number of artists in New Paltz to perform free for students right before the stress of finals week.
“SA hadn’t done anything like this before using artists in the community,” said Executive Vice President and Vice Chair of the committee Eve Stern. “We thought going in a new direction would be better instead of using the same format people had been using every other year.”
Since there is usually a larger musical act during the spring semester, the committee thought it would benefit the students to still have something in the fall but with a lower budget.
“The original idea was to have a few stages and different things going all at once, but clearly our imaginations exceed our budget limit,” said third-year public relations student Jackie Northacker, who was on the committee.
Using a budget of under $4,000, the committee mainly used the money for lighting for the event. As the title suggests, the theme for the show was “BlackOut” as the entire room was dark with UV lights. Glow sticks were passed out to the audience. There was also a raffle at the door with prizes given out during the event.
With the idea of staying local, the acts were selected either by what those on the committee had seen before or heard of through word of mouth. They brought a list of different acts and asked those who wanted to be involved to e-mail a video clip of a performance to the committee to help decide. They weren’t able to hold any auditions because they were so pressed for time, Stern said.
Because of this, there were also some complications with booking. Some acts, like the Sexy Pitches, were double-booked and they ran out of time in the lineup.
“We ended up cutting the Sexy Pitches and another group because of time,” said Stern. “We had another a capella group and two vocalists from the Sexy Pitches performing. Since they play on campus so often we thought it was fair to let performers who don’t really perform as much to get the chance.”
Artist Oliver Kammerman of Godchilla said he believed that for the most part, the event went pretty well.
“It went better than I thought it would. I feel that the SU MPR is a notoriously hard room to fill up with local college bands,” he said. “We played first, which initially, I thought was an odd decision because there were acoustic acts between electric acts, and I think it’s hard to keep the crowd. But the people that set it up hyped the crowd a bit.”
However, because of the problems with the lineup and figuring out the time schedule, some acts had to be shortened. DawnMarie Allan played last and her 20-minute allotted set was cut to only seven.
“The event was a sweet idea, but it could have been more organized. By the end of the show, the performers were asked to cut chunks of their set due to lack of time,” she said. “But overall, in the short amount of time they threw this event together, it was a good foundation for similar events in the future.”
The turnout for the event overall was still good, Stern said, but she also feels a lot of improvements could be made if the event were to happen in the future.
“I do believe it could have been better, but it’s all things we will learn from and do better next year,” said Northacker. “Hopefully we will be able to have more time to plan, more money and more interest from students to come.”