Bonfire 2022: Students left with mixed emotions

Program Board hosted Bonfire indoors this year, which left some students excited, but others feeling like organizers missed the mark.


Nicholas Windfelder

FAU students finally hyped up for the long awaited finale featuring Nelly after delays and other performances during the 2022 annual Bonfire event.

Elisabeth Gaffney, Contributing Writer

Students attended FAU’s 14th annual bonfire for Nelly, but not everyone stayed long enough to see him perform.

Bonfire, which the Student Government Program Board hosted on Sept. 8, started late. Students stood in line outside the Barry Kaye Auditorium for longer than anticipated, with the doors opening at 7:30 p.m., an hour later than scheduled. Event tickets were sold out, but there was an abundance of empty seats in the auditorium.

At the front of the line was Gianna Cataldo, a junior majoring in business hospitality. She wanted to be let in first, and when asked why, her response was simple: “I think it’s gonna be a good time.”

The doors opened and students rushed in excitedly to claim their desired seats. DJs Trey and Spiffy hyped up the crowd while FAU mascots Owlsley and Hoot entered, giving everyone plenty of photo opportunities.

The event being inside confused some students but was a welcome change for others.

“I was genuinely confused about why this event wasn’t outside,” said sophomore English Education major Elizabeth Serafin after the concert. “Because the term ‘bonfire’ implies a physical, literal bonfire.”

Just like last year, there wasn’t an actual bonfire. Instead, a black LED screen with fire graphics around the edges read, “Welcome to Bonfire 2022.”

“I really like it inside,” said senior accounting major Oshane Locke. “There’s better views.”

Program Board Director Cassidy Hoover said last year’s Bonfire had people fainting from the heat, as it as held outdoors.

“We thought it would be a safer option to have it inside an auditorium. And I guess that was an even better decision because it was raining today,” Hoover said.

Dalia Calvillo, student body vice president, shared similar sentiments.

“Honestly, due to the weather today, I think it’s amazing that it’s indoors,” Calvillo said.

Hip-hop country star Willie Jones was the first artist to perform. After he finished his set, Justine Skye took the stage. In between performances, DJ Trey kept the crowd going with some early 2000s hits, with Owlsley and Hoot dancing in the aisles once again.

FAU’s men’s and women’s basketball teams went on before Nelly, having been given the task to get everyone ready for the Grammy-award-winning artist.

When the UP asked students which artist they were most excited to see, the overwhelming majority said Nelly. However, despite the excitement, not everyone stayed for his whole set.

“I think that he had his moment,” Serafin said. “And he’s holding on to that string of glory, but it’s time to cut that string.”

Despite the turnout, students showed their appreciation for the Program Board’s hard work.

“My expectations for the event were pretty high, and I left feeling a tad bit disappointed. However, I understand a lot of effort, time, and energy went into the event,” said Serafin.

More information on the Student Government Program Board can be found on FAU’s website.

“[The] Program Board is such an important part of student government, programming and making sure that students like the show,” Calvillo said, praising them for the “phenomenal work” they did putting the event together.

Elisabeth Gaffney is a contributing writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM her @elisabethgaff