Alumni Hall was showered in red spotlights and cheers as Men’s and Women’s Basketball celebrated a pep rally in a sparsely filled gym on Friday, Oct. 12. Red Sea Madness brought in a large crowd, but not large enough to fill the arena.
Before the arrival of Joe Jonas and his band DNCE, Stags dressed in red participated in dance competitions and relay races. The crowd went wild when their peers got up in front of the whole gym to participate in a dance competition that included the song “Cotton Eye Joe.” Two participants even Irish-danced to pop songs played by the D.J. The Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams also faced off in a three-point competition, which was won by the women’s team.
The Fairfield University Cheer and Dance teams performed in tandem. However, the cheerleading squad struggled to keep their performance going and had two incidents where cheerleaders were dropped. The dance team’s performance went off without a hitch.
The dance team’s performance went off without a hitch.
“It’s always so exciting and fun to perform in front of a big crowd because we feed off of the energy of the crowd and it gets us all really pumped up,” explained Casey Chua ‘21, a member of the dance team. “It’s a little nerve-wracking before we start our routines but once the music goes on and we see everyone, we forget about everything else and just dance!”
Following the pep rally, students were asked to step out of the gym to enjoy the food trucks while members of the Fairfield University Student Association transformed the gym to be ready for the concert. Super Duper Weenie, Colony Grill and Garden Catering all parked their trucks on the lawn between the John A. Barone Campus Center and Alumni Hall.
Junior Miles McKinley was one of the many members of FUSA who took part in making sure the event was fun for all students in attendance.
“I’m very excited. We are out here checking tickets and we have allowed in 650 very excited Stags into this arena tonight,” said McKinley who serves as a program coordinator for sports and recreation events.
At this point in the evening, the doors had been closed for the Red Sea Madness portion of the evening and more students would be allowed in when the concert was about to begin.
According to FUSA, a total of 872 tickets were sold, 829 of which were scanned that evening. No transports were reported from the concert.
Senior Tom Boutros, assistant director of programming at FUSA said of the result,
“That is a retention rate of 95 percent, which was the highest we’ve had for the Red Sea and the Concert since the collaboration began in 2016.”
First-year Diana Smith was ready to enjoy her first time at Red Sea Madness.
“It’s our freshman year so we are trying to experience everything. Joe Jonas is like a childhood dream,” said Smith.
Frontman Joe Jonas was the main focus for many students who bought tickets to the event. Sophomore Christina Ference chose not to attend T-Pain last year, making this the first time she had attended the event.
“We [her and her friend] love DNCE. The pep rally is fun but I can’t wait to see DNCE,” explained Ference.
This year tickets were more expensive, costing $45. FUSA held a “flash sale” in an effort to sell more tickets, discounting the price to $35 two days before the event. For some students the discount still wasn’t enough to convince them to buy a ticket.
Junior Christina Gibbons said, “For me personally it wasn’t worth the money. I feel like they could have done a better job of finding a better artist that interested more people on campus. With all the money we spend on tuition they could have found someone better. I didn’t have interest in the pep rally or the band so I didn’t care to buy a ticket.”
The result was an intimate concert with the band, many students being able to get close to the stage since there weren’t as many attendees.
“In all, I think the show was incredibly successful. There is always a bit of risk associated with changing things like Red Sea Madness, but I think DNCE was an excellent choice compared to some of the rappers we have had in past years,” said Olivia McEvoy ‘19, the Director of Programming at FUSA.
Some students were even able to catch the band as the performers left Alumni Hall on their way back to their trailers – stealing handshakes, selfies, photographs and autographs from Joe Jonas and other band members.