COURTESY THE CORP The talent at the first Kickback covers a wide range of styles and genres with a mix of both student and professional talent, such as COIN.
COURTESY THE CORP
The talent at the first Kickback covers a wide range of styles and genres with a mix of both student and professional talent, such as COIN.

From respectfully sitting at New Student Convocation to wildly cheering “Hoya Saxa” in the stands of a basketball game, Georgetown University students thrive on tradition to connect to and unite with their community.
Every year, certain events are designed to foster this spirit and give students a sense of belonging on campus, but this semester, Students of Georgetown Inc. is starting things off in an entirely new direction. Kickback, the first ever Corp-sponsored fall concert, is an experiment that breaks the norm and redefines the boundaries of the Georgetown institution.

On Sept. 1, Copley Lawn will be transformed into one large music festival. Opening the event will be the cover band Unforgiven, a local group known for playing at venues like Saloon and Gypsy Sally’s. Next on stage are three student acts: indie-rock folk singer Peter Fanone (COL ’15), the Georgetown duo Tigers are Bad for Horses and DJ Evan Floyd (MSB ’14).

Following these groups is the professional lineup, with indie-pop group COIN opening for the two headliners. After COIN, MisterWives will take center stage to perform its unique folk-pop music. The group has recently gained attention for its hit song “Reflections” as well as “Vagabond,” which is used in the introduction to the MTV show “Finding Carter.” To end the musical portion of the day is The Knocks, a DJ duo whose popular song “Classic” brings back much-needed summer vibes.

While campus life in the spring already has annual music concerts like the Spring Kickoff Concert, the fall semester is decidedly lacking in arts-driven events. Kickback’s broad array of groups and inexpensive tickets — tickets purchased early are only $10 — allow almost anybody to join in and enjoy a day of campus-wide entertainment.

“Maybe you’re there for the food, maybe you’re there for The Knocks or maybe you want to check out COIN or support one of your favorite student acts. We’re trying to build something that is appealing to anyone on campus,” Corp CEO Sam Rodman (MSB ’15) said. “The ultimate goal is to tie us together in an event that takes place in the beginning of the semester so that everyone can go into it excited for the fall months to come.”

The impact of Kickback on Georgetown extends far beyond its front gates as well.

“For the community at large, it is something for local stores, shops and food vendors to be involved with. They can gain exposure to Georgetown students who may have never known about some of these places,” Fiona Kane (COL ’16), a Corp student act liaison, said.

While music may be the main draw for the event, Kickback has much more to offer, thanks to many of its sponsors and the surrounding community.

Food options are delicious and diverse, with dishes being offered from local vendors like Surfside, Peruvian Brothers, Captain Cookie, the Big Cheese and Sprinkles, along with larger vendors like Kind Bar, Coke and the New York Fatwich Bakery. Quirky art projects will also be scattered throughout the festival for students to participate in. The Georgetown University Art Aficionados will provide giant coffee cup installations to be spray-painted and drawn on by anybody who passes by. Zipcar will be rolling in several cars to be drawn on by students with temporary paint.
With its relaxing summer atmosphere and unique layout, Kickback is already giving rise to a meaningful tradition that affects a large portion of Georgetown students.

“I think that this event could shape what welcome week at Georgetown becomes in the future. It could show future freshmen that Georgetown really is a place where arts can thrive, and that is something a lot of us have worked hard to prove,” Mary Ellen Funke (SFS ’15), of Tigers are Bad for Horses, said. “Kickback could be the thing that drives this movement forward.”

While it may seem intimidating for student bands to perform next to big names like the MisterWives and The Knocks, Kickback actually gives them an opportunity that they almost never would have gotten before.
“We’re really trying to give these student acts a stage that they don’t often have otherwise. The truth is that student acts don’t even often perform at Georgetown. They perform in the local area, and it’s not that often that they get the chance to perform on stage for their campus,” Rodman said.

Not only does the concert aim to showcase lesser-known, talented Georgetown musicians, but it has also chosen its professional acts for almost the exact same reason.

“We wanted to choose bands that would get bigger over time so that you can get in on the ground floor and see these fantastic artists before they get more famous. We chose artists that don’t get enough airtime but that we absolutely love,” Rodman said.

For the three student groups and the headliners alike, Kickback is about growing together and making lasting connections. The concert itself is a just-emerging tradition, yet it is gaining popularity and is sure to become one of the main campus events in years to come. Its featured bands are coming together to share their love of music and reach a wider audience.

Ticket prices will increase to $12 over the weekend and then $15 on the day of the event. Semester classes are kicking off in full swing, but this one-day music festival reminds us not to lose sight of the artistic diversity engrained in our campus identity.

“We just want good vibes to start out the new school year, and what better than one last kickback before we all start heading into Lau?” Kane said.

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