Finals Fest tries for ‘music festival’ feel

Kendall Aronson, Campus Carrier Asst. Arts & Living Editor

Finals Fest has made changes in their activities lineup this year in an effort to create a better experience for students. The event will be taking place on Saturday, April 21 from 6-9 p.m.

Finals Fest was created in 2016, combining Exam Jam and the Block Party into one cohesive night. It is the second biggest event on campus of the year, following Marthapalooza.

This year, Finals Fest will feature the bands Grizfolk and Nightly. There will also be many different activities that will be taking place as the bands perform, such as a hot air balloon, stunt jump, laser tag, inflatables, hungry hippos, jousting and DIY activities. The DIY activities will include a succulent booth, flower crowns, dream catchers and tie-dye. It is recommended that students bring a small bag to hold any items they create, or to be prepared to drop items off in their cars or dorms during the event. There will also be food options offered at the event, including authentic Mexican tacos, Kona Ice, Tornado Potatoes and funnel cake.

Everything will be free during the event except for the t-shirts. The shirts can be purchased for $6 for the white tank top and $10 for the blue comfort colors. This can be paid for through a student account. Volunteers will get shirts free.

This year, the Finals Fest Committee hopes to have the event feel more like a music festival. The bands will be playing outside for the duration of the event, and students can enjoy their food as they sit on blankets outside. They can also take breaks to do the other activities which are being offered.

Senior Kristian Willingham is the committee chair for Finals Fest this year, and she has overseen a lot of the decision-making and planning that goes into designing this large event.

“This year, we scaled back and got a less expensive artist than we have had in the past so we could spend more money on events and things to do there,” Willingham said. “In the future, if it is a really popular event, the budget might be bigger so they might have more opportunity to bring a more expensive artist that is more well-known. That just depends on how successful the event is this year, and really in the next five years.”

Willingham wanted to focus on branding this year, which will give Finals Fest more stability and consistency for years to come.

“Our goal this year has really been to brand the event and give students expectations like they have with Marthapalooza,” Willingham said. “We want to brand a logo and maybe to bring the hot air balloon every year. That’s what our goal has been this year: to really narrow down on our focus.”

The committee has been planning Finals Fest since October, but most of the preparation took place this semester. This year’s preparation has been easier than years past because the committee has a better idea of what they want the event to look like.

Sophomore Katie Ott is on the marketing committee, which is one of many committees that make Finals Fest successful. Each committee brings ideas to the whole group and is in charge of executing them.

“For marketing, we’ve done a lot of work in preparation for the event,” Ott said. “We’ve made posters and t-shirts, and we are in charge of running the tie-dye event. Other committees are in charge of getting contracts with vendors, and different fun elements that will be at Finals Fest.”

Everyone on all the committees comes together to choose which artists will perform and what color the t-shirts will be. There will be a tie-dye event on the Krannert Lawn from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday April 19 to promote the event.

“(Finals Fest is) a great way to de-stress,” Ott said. “This year we’re offering a lot of different things that I think everyone will have something to enjoy. We have a lot of great food vendors and activities, and it’s just a fun thing for everybody.”

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