Letter from the Editor

Event hopping isn’t easy

Every year FAU’s Student Government helps put on two big events – a Battle of the Bands concert and the Festival of Nations cultural festival.

Problem is, this year these two events fell on the same day. Faulty planning or coincidence? Either way, I spent almost 10 hours on campus Saturday, going back and forth between the two events during the four hours they overlapped.

Here are some of the day’s highlights:

Hootstock ’08 Battle of the Bands

Co-sponsored by Owl Radio and the Program Board -FAU’s student-funded concert committee- the concert was dubbed Hootstock this year as an attempt to mimic the 1969 Woodstock. Even better, they asked me to be a judge.

The daylong event spanned nine hours (noon to 9 p.m.) and brought 13 bands to FAU. Eleven South Florida bands competed for two kick-ass awards: first place received a $1,000 contract to perform at an FAU-sponsored concert and second place got a $750 contract. Local band RCX played cover songs while bands set up and Fort Lauderdale band The Mission Veo gave a special performance to wrap up the night.

Held on the Boca campus Housing Lawn, the concert drew a sporadic crowd throughout the day. Nearly 30 students showed up with blankets and lawn chairs to see the first band, Bell Tower Falls, but by 1:30 p.m. only 10 stragglers stuck around to see indie band The Joyness. However, by nightfall more than 50 students sat in the lawn watching the final bands.

My three favorite bands also happened to place within the top three of the night. I and my fellow judges – Paul Cohen, a DJ from Owl Radio, and Joe Adams, SG’s treasurer and former judge of FAU Idol- graded the bands on six categories: sound, voice, performance energy, interaction with the audience, audience response and overall performance.

First place: LeoneI could sit and listen to this chill jamband all day long. The Stuart band had a really unique sound with deep lyrics and a great stage presence. While it was close between the top two, Leone had the best vocals of the night.

The Hootstock ’08 winner, Leone, received a $1,000 contract to open for the headliner at FAU’s fall Rock the Owl concert.

Second place: Leading the HeroesAll the day’s performances had energy, but this band took the cake. The lead singer Mike Caldarera actually hung off the top of the stage and later climbed on top of the speaker to amp up the crowd.

Third place: Man Down Man DownThe only one-man band to get on stage was Anthony Ornelas and the combination of his awesome voice, thought-provoking lyrics and Jack Johnson/John Mayer style blew me away. Not to mention he was a badass on stage with his guitar.

The Festival of Nations

Sponsored by the International Student and Scholar Services, this four-hour event brought out more than 200 students, faculty, staff and even members of the community.

Held in front of the Social Science (spaceship building) on the Free Speech Lawn, there were six performances: Japanese Taiko percussionists, Indian musicians, Moroccan belly dancers, a West African dance performance, a Polynesian fire dance and Haitian musicians. There was also eight types of free ethnic food: Arabic, Indian, Bahamian, Cantonese, Italian, Greek, Thai and Lebanese. There was also a kids area with a castle-shaped bounce house, popcorn, cotton candy and face painting.

Even better than the free food was the number of FAU staff members in attendance. In fact, I’ve never seen so many faculty out at an FAU event. It was cool to see administrators in plain clothes enjoying the music and talking with students. Some even brought along their families. See photos.