Bonfire performance met with mixed student reviews

Country singer Chase Bryant performed at the event hosted next to FAU Stadium.


The stage lights reveal the crowd during the finale of Chase Bryant’s show. Andrew Fraieli | Managing Editor

Tucker Berardi, Features Editor


lorida Atlantic catered to country music lovers for this year’s Homecoming bonfire concert — but it left some students disappointed.

Headlining the event was country singer Chase Bryant, whose 2015 single “Take It On Back” made the top ten on Billboard’s Country Airplay charts. The choice in singer marked a change from past FAU performers — who have predominantly been hip-hop and pop artists — like this year’s OwlFest performers, Kesha and Lunchmoney Lewis.

“I’d love to prepare you guys for Kesha but that’s not what I do,” Bryant said to the crowd. “We’re here to sing some country.”

The crowd cheered as a single guitar riff brought the country singer running on stage — the lights from the rafters scanning the crowd and reaching back to the food trucks parked at the edge of the stadium lawn.

Many students came equipped with leather boots and flannel — a few even completed their outfits with cowboy hats. While a large amount of the crowd sang along and danced near the stage, there was a steady stream of students leaving the stadium lawn throughout the show, and many students spent the concert chatting near the event’s food trucks.

“We just weren’t expecting country,” junior Sam Elhassan said while waiting in line to get food. “I thought we’d be seeing more hip-hop or EDM.

Homecoming Director Shannon Fahnestock appeared on the stadium lawn stage and made introductions for the event, which started at 9 p.m.

“I hope you’re all excited and I hope you enjoy Chase Bryant who came to hang out with us,” Fahnestock said.

“You guys should give us what students want,” junior Anthony Escovoza said. “I don’t remember asking anyone for Kesha or a country singer.”

The Homecoming Court was introduced along with the members’ reasons for running. This was followed by the FAU cheerleaders as well as representatives of the football and basketball teams who encouraged students to attend the upcoming home games.

Student Government President Michael Cairo told the crowd, “I want to see each and every one of you at the football stadium this Saturday.” He added that the players were well rested and ready to take on Western Kentucky.

Cairo also used the bonfire as an opportunity to encourage students to go out and vote in the upcoming election.

“I can’t think of a better place to talk about our constitutional right to vote than an American country music festival,” Cairo said.

Cairo asked the crowd if there were any Hillary Clinton supporters present and was met with a few weak cheers.

“Where are my Trump supporters at tonight?” Cairo asked the crowd.

The crowd answered with screams and cheers in support of the Republican candidate.

Some students thought it was chilly outside and were excited for the bonfire, which was lit at 10 p.m. at the end of Bryant’s performance. This year’s bonfire was a 20-foot torch, highlighting the Owlympics Homecoming theme.

“It’s cold and I’m looking forward to the bonfire,” freshman biology major Kayla Tapling said. “I’m not really here for the country music, I prefer hip-hop.”

Though Bryant was met with mixed student opinions, he took several opportunities to keep the crowd engaged throughout his performance.

“Do you guys want to sing along?” Bryant asked the audience, who answered with a resounding “Yes.”

“Then repeat after me, it’s stupid simple.”




Tucker Berardi is the features editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @tucker_berardi.