Fairfield revealed the artist performing at its annual fall concert Wednesday, Oct. 2. Fetty Wap is set to perform at the university’s Red Sea Madness event on Oct. 25.
The concert announcement occurred at half-time during a men’s soccer game against Rider University. Once the artist was revealed, a loud cheer went up from the crowd. Onlookers smiled and clapped, still excited even as they left Lessing Field and headed back to their dorms.
As she headed out from the field, Courtney Kobus ‘22, was genuinely excited about the concert. “I’m very excited because I love Fetty Wap,” she said.
“I’m excited. I wasn’t expecting him but I’m not disappointed at all,” said Mary di Graci ‘23. Of course, some students were even more enthusiastic about the choice of this year’s artist. Another student, Zachary Olszewski, ‘23, said, “I can’t wait to get down and boogie with my fellow students.”
“So far, the response has been the most positive in my 4 years at Fairfield,” said senior Thomas Boutros, the programming director in FUSA via email. “I personally cannot wait for this year’s concert.”
However, some students were less enthused leaving the stadium. Sophomore Chelsey Gabriel wasn’t too excited about this year’s artist choice. “I’m not the biggest rap fan. Honestly, I think [the artist] is interesting, but I don’t love the choice,” she said. “I feel like the odd man out.” When she found out that the tickets are $30 for students, Gabriel said that she “probably won’t go.”
Gabriel isn’t the only student conflicted over buying a ticket. “I bought a ticket, but I know none of Fetty Wap’s songs,” said Bridget Morrisey ‘22. “I’d never heard of him before last night.”
While some students may be confused and wonder how this year’s artist was picked, according to FUSA President Claire Monahan ‘20 via email, the decision was at least somewhat student-driven.
“We started the artist selection process by first deciding on the date of the event, October 25. We reached out to our agent to determine which artists were available on that date, and then we looked into how much it would cost to bring the different artists to campus,” she said. “FUSA values student feedback, so we posted a survey asking students which genre they would prefer to see. We had great participation in our Life@Fairfield survey with 594 responses and the top choice selected was rap/hip hop. With this information we went back to the artists and decided that from the top voted genre, Fetty Wap was the best option.”
Fetty Wap has been in the music industry since 2013 but broke into the mainstream in 2015 with his debut single and instant hit, “Trap Queen.” Since then, he’s been a staple in the rap world, releasing a number of other singles that made it onto the Top 10 in the US charts and winning the Best New Artist Award at the 2015 VMAs.
In previous years, Fairfield has hosted a slew of popular artists, including T-Pain in 2017 and DNCE in 2018. The concerts are always well-attended and are accompanied by free food outside of Alumni Hall. The night will begin with performances from the university’s sports teams, including the cheer and dance teams with a pep rally to kick off the new season for the varsity basketball team.
This year, Fairfield plans to have food trucks from the ever-popular Colony Grill, Super Duper Weenie and Garden Catering, with meals included in each student’s ticket. Most students go to Red Sea Madness for the concert but end up staying for the free food, including Julianna Gentile ‘22. “The food trucks are awesome,” she said. “I totally recommend going.” Gentile attended the event as a freshman and thoroughly enjoyed it, but isn’t planning to attend for a second year in a row.
Tickets for Red Sea Madness are currently on sale for $30 for students and $35 for guests over the age of 18. The price was reduced from last year’s $45, which reportedly deterred some students from going. Unlike in previous years when the tickets were sold out, only 872 tickets were sold last year, which was down from a record attendance of 1900 people in 2017 according to a page on News@Fairfield. “The tickets were expensive,” Gentile said. “Now that they’re cheaper and it’s a rapper a lot of people like, I think a ton of people will go.” According to a post on the university’s website, there are only 2000 tickets being sold and they “may sell out.”
“The student reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and we eagerly counting down the days until Fetty Wap performs on campus,” Monahan said.