Mother nature seemed to be against Lincoln Fest, but the music festival, a creation of sophomore Angie Ostaszewski and Union Board, persevered through all the re-schedules. The two-day outdoor event originally scheduled for Friday, April 30 and Saturday, May 1, was moved to Saturday and Sunday, with the first day held in Kresge Recital Hall.
Ostaszewski joined Union Board because she wanted to bring more music to Knox. She wanted to introduce Knox to some new bands outside of campus while also giving Knox bands a chance to shine. Students provided a majority of the input on the bands to have.
Once Ostaszewski got a list together, she listened to the bands and contacted them. She said if it weren’t for students, she would never have known about bands such as Decibully and Bruce Peninsula.
The first band on Saturday, Knox College’s own, the Funky Funky Freaks, had a majority of the audience dancing from the start. Students piled into the space between the first row of seats and the front of the stage.
The musicians moved with all the energy they had and the audience fed off of their energy. Dancing with little self-consciousness continued the whole time the Funky Funky Freaks performed. The band was comprised of singers seniors Tim Douglas and Chanel Miller, trumpeters senior Patrick Dooley and junior Jevin Lortie and trombonist sophomore Zachary Lawrence. Two students provided speeches during two separate songs. During the first song, a student in a bandana spoke in Spanish along with part of the song.
Later on, junior Abraham Diekhans-Mears recited a call for the power to go back to the people. The energy was at its peak when the Funky Funky Freaks did a cover of Hey Ya! by Outkast.
Bruce Peninsula came all the way from Ontario, Canada to perform at Lincoln Fest. Lead singer and guitarist Matt Cully started the show singing in aisles and ended the show in the aisles. Bruce Peninsula’s mix of rock, gospel and folk reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac kept people dancing from the previous performers. They blended rough with soft through the mixture of Cully’s deep voice with Misha Bower and Ivy Mairi’s angelic gospel choir voices and students really responded to the music.
“I really liked Bruce Peninsula because they resonated, they had a really great sound,” said freshman Regina Rosenbrock. Bruce Peninsula ended their performance by calling the audience onto the stage to dance and ring bells for the last song.
Chicago band Fair Herald took the stage next. Knox sophomore Dave Brankin plays drums for this college-aged band. They brought strong rock with a twist, professional from such young performers. Once people started to pile back into Kresge, more relaxed dancing started up. Fair Herald kept the crowd moving with their danceable rock. Lead singer Mike Kuntz was not afraid to let out a yell to convey the emotion of a song.
Six-piece band Decibully crowded onto the small Kresge stage to close out the first full day of Lincoln Fest. Decibully brought thundering blues-rock from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Once again the audience was pleased with the music they were hearing.
“Decibully was the most well put together group,” said freshman Dan Moriarty. Students liked having another band to dance to and kept going the whole time Decibully played. Sophomore Julia Shenkar said Decibully was her favorite band she saw because they “had a good beat and [she] could dance to it.”
The weather Sunday finally permitted Lincoln Fest to be held how Ostaszewski originally envisioned it: outside for the whole campus to easily enjoy. Chicago bluegrass band Henhouse Prowlers opened the last day of Lincoln Fest. They conversed with the crowd and told stories about some of the songs. Henhouse Prowlers introduced some students to bluegrass and showed that it could be enjoyable.
“I’m surprised. I didn’t think I would like bluegrass, but they are pretty good,” said senior Keziah Burton about Henhouse Prowlers.
Knox band Spondaic Buttons brought their own brand of punk to Lincoln Fest. Vocals were done very enthusiastically by junior Willi Goehring, bass was junior Jimmy Pittman, drums junior Ernie LoBue and guitar was senior Jake Whipple. Goehring incorporated a harmonica into some of Spondaic Buttons’ songs.
The band members were obviously having fun, which encouraged the audience to have fun. A group of students danced right in front of the Gizmo patio stage with all the energy they could muster. The students who danced to Spondaic Buttons moved spontaneously and uncontrolled as the music required. Senior Mandy Gutmann-Gonzalez said, “I go to all their shows. They have a very unique sound and everyone should go see them.”
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin from Springfield, Missouri closed out Lincoln Fest. From the start of their first song, the crowd showed their approval with applause and cheers. SSLYBY played catchy indie rock with a California vibe to a relatively full Gizmo patio. Each instrument was needed to create a different layer to the music. None was just for sound.
Frontman Phillip Dickey switched with guitarist John Robert Cardwell for two songs from their new album. SSLYBY kept with the Russian theme of their name by handing out free pins after the show, which had their band name in Russian.
The first of a hopefully annual event finished Sunday evening and gave students something new to talk about. Ostaszewski said she was sad it rained the first two days of Lincoln Fest but overall was very pleased with how it turned out. She definitely hopes Lincoln Fest returns next year.
“It is my mission to do Lincoln Fest every year till I graduate,” said Ostaszewski.