Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Bonfire Reignited: 2023 concert a success among students

After two years of mixed reception, this year is the first in many that students truly embraced the annual festival.
Erika Fletcher
Bonfire Headliner Coi Leray during her performance.

The 15th annual Bonfire Fest began as a successful venture with enthusiasm as DJ Redwood and FAU’s mascot, Owlsey, hyped the incoming crowd as the doors opened to students. 

They played a mix of past and modern-day musical hits as the crowd enthusiastically sang along. Meanwhile, Owlsey danced with the students, moving up and down the aisles of the Carole and Barry Kaye Auditorium.  

It is the second year Bonfire has been held indoors, given past complaints of students suffering from the heat and rainy weather. Despite previous mixed feelings about the change to an indoor location, more students embraced the indoor setting this year, especially as Tropical Storm Idalia moves through the East Coast. Like the past two years, the concert is represented by an LED screen that projects fire graphics and reads “Bonfire Music Fest.” 

This year, Bonfire had a large turnout with sold-out student tickets and seats filled up on the floor and inside the rafters. Students went in with medium to high expectations but remained optimistic that this year would succeed. 

“I think it’s gonna go good. You know, honestly, the expectations are going to be too high. Because you don’t know what to expect,” said freshman Christian Ramos. 

Other first-year students are keeping their expectations grounded. Freshman computer science major Regan Duby de Los Santos keeps her expectations in check but is optimistic.

“It’s like in the middle. I think it’d be fun… That’s a good mindset to have,” said Duby de Los Santos.

While many attendees are going for the first time, this isn’t their first time attending Bonfire for some students. Senior criminal justice major Khaleel Wills went to last year’s 2022 Bonfire with Nelly headlining and had high expectations this year.

“My expectations are a lot of dancing, a lot of yelling, and a lot of excitement,” said Wills.

Singer Sevyn Streeter as the opening act for Bonfire 2023. (Paul Leachman)

Some attending students listed artists they hope will be at next year’s Bonfire Fest. Among the list were some big and up-and-coming names in rap like Rico Nasty, Doechii, Ken Carson, Destroy Lonely and other popular musical artists like Tame Impala.

At 8:25 p.m., nearly two hours after the doors opened, DJ Redwood announced on stage Sevyn Streeter the first act for this year’s festival.

Streeter walked onto the stage wearing a pink ensemble with her four background dancers. She gave her all, belting out with live vocals and engaging the crowd with her powerful dance moves and harmonious riffs.

The most notable moment of Streeter’s set was when she invited an FAU student on stage for a lap dance while performing her song “Sex on the Ceiling.” 

“I was being myself, and she picked me. She is a very beautiful performer. It made my night,” said DeLajoaj Tay, a sophomore public safety major. 

Following Streeter’s performance, the FAU men’s basketball took the stage as special guests. They celebrated their Final Four placement in March Madness earlier this year with the crowd and encouraged students to continue to support the football team this season just as they did for the last.

At 9:43 p.m., headliner Coi Leray made her grand entrance by rolling onto the stage and lying on a bed. Leray used visuals and her team of background dancers to strengthen her already powerful performance as a rapper. Throughout her interactions, she showed the audience why she is the headlining act, as her energy as a performer was unrivaled. 

In the end, many student attendees remained happy with this year’s musical artists’ performances.

 “My favorite part of the night was when Coi Leray performed ‘Self Love.’ She put a good ass show, top tier performance,” said sophomore computer science major Isaiah Simon. 

Some audience members were so impressed that they praised SG and the Program Board for their hard work towards this year’s successful Bonfire.

“FAU really did their thing with this one. Student government did a great job tonight,” said sophomore bio major Mandy Victor. 

Melanie Gomez is the Features Editor for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, contact her at [email protected] or her Instagram page @cupidfloats.

Christopher Vargas is a staff writer at the University Press. For more information on this story or other stories, you can reach him at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Erika Fletcher, Lead Photographer
Erika is a junior majoring in multimedia studies with a minor in photography. She loves shooting sports and street photography and in her free time, she enjoys drawing, skateboarding, playing soccer, listening to music, and being with her friends and family. She joined the UP on a whim to make new friends and to get better at photography. In her time here, while not long, she's made connections and learned so much about herself already and can't wait to continue her journey with such great people.

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