Fall Fest has been a fixture of Fall Term for years now, and it has remained relatively unchanged. But this year, the students on Union Board decided to totally revamp the event and bring in an outside headlining band.
“The biggest challenge this year was finding student performers,” said Union Board member and Fall Fest organizer sophomore Chava Solberg. “This year it’s much earlier, they got emails on the first day of school.”
Usually, Fall Fest comes at the end of Fall term, giving students more time to prepare a set. However, even though there was less time to prepare, the lawn games, free food and performances still brought a crowd of students to the Gizmo patio. While watching student performers like senior Madeline Pape, the audience ate caramel apples, and sipped on hot apple cider.
“It was really great to see everyone come out, and to see it finally come to a head today and see all of the tables full,” said Solberg. “A major aspect of the reimagined Fall Fest is that the focus has shifted from folk music, to create something that will appeal to a wider audience. This change makes the event more inclusive, so students who perform a wide array of genres feel welcome to perform.
This year, Union Board was able to get Pros and iCons, a New York-based pop-rock band, to be the first outside headliner at Fall Fest. Their central audience is college students, and they have played other colleges before, mostly back east, but they have also played much bigger shows, like the Jingle Ball Tour 2014. They have performed alongside big names like Meghan Trainor, MKTO, Shawn Mendes and Rita Ora. Their first EP, iConography, was released in August 2014. They have a lot of social media success, with over 750,000 YouTube views and 25,000 social media subscribers, from all over the world.
Most of the members of the band met in college, and they attribute much of their success to the skills they learned while in school.
“I think a lot of our success is attributed to our college education. If we didn’t go to college we wouldn’t know business, we wouldn’t have established so many connections,” said guitarist Nicholas Vaude.
They all had very different majors, too, from Biology to Music to English. They never saw being in a band as a viable career option, but luckily, things fell together for them. They all love music, but never set out to be in a band at this time in their lives, rather than a “real job.” Their skills in music producing have also led to outside projects, like writing for a Jaguar car commercial.
“We have so many successes as a band, like we’ve all built our own studios in our houses,” said guitarist Lenny Morales. From their time in college, and self-motivation, they gained the skills to do everything themselves. They don’t have to put out the time and money to rent studio spaces, or hire writers, or video and sound editors because they do everything themselves.
They have a unique, intrinsic drive, which they attribute to their New York attitude, and “knowing how to hustle.” When they watch other bands perform, they try to learn from their mistakes, so they don’t repeat those mistakes themselves, in regard to both performing and business.
According to Vaude, the hardest part of what they do is “waking up every day and just doing it. It’s a little scary sometimes, you’re putting in all this work and might not see immediate results.” The band had to have a lot of faith in themselves at first, to put in all of that effort without immediate success, but their third show ever was on the Jingle Ball Tour in December 2014, at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Seeing as their first time on stage was May 2014, at a small, local venue, they went a long way in their first eight months.
“You can’t just sit there hoping someone is going to take you somewhere. You have to go so hard because you need to put yourself in the right position at the right time,” said Morales.
Pros and iCons is a truly self-made band that has put in the work to get where they are, an inspiration to young musicians in college that think they’ll never have their big break. They’ve shown that with a lot of hard work, the sky’s the limit. Their music can be found all over social media, as well as on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.
Though turnout for Pros and iCons’ performance was relatively low, with the Gizmo patio not even half full, students came out in droves earlier in the day to support student performers and enjoy the sunshine. Not only were students sitting on the patio enjoying the music, but there were also plenty of people enjoying games of “bags.” Overall, thanks to the time and effort of students on Union Board, like Solberg, Fall Fest 2016 was a success.