Kickback, a campus festival celebrating both student and professional music and art, returned for its second year Saturday, but faced a low turnout due to poor weather conditions. Students of Georgetown, Inc. declined to offer a specific number of attendees.
As the result of months of planning and coordination between the Corp, the Georgetown Program Board and Georgetown Weeks of Welcome, the event brought a variety of artists and sponsors to campus.
According to Director of Kickback for The Corp Cameron Smith (MSB ’16), Saturday’s rainy weather influenced the event and its turnout.
“The weather was obviously a huge challenge,” Smith said in an email to The Hoya. “Given the circumstances, I was happy to see the small but dedicated crowd of people that came out despite the rain.”
According to GPB and The Corp, 463 Kickback tickets were sold online and at Corp locations before the event, with an additional 150 sold to an outside vendor. This number does not account for tickets sold on the day of the event. Last year, Kickback sold more than 1,400 tickets.
Corp Director for Event Planning and Operations for Kickback Jacob West (MSB ’16) said that despite the weather, the event was successful.
“I think that it was successful in the sense that it happened,” West said. “Despite the low turnout, we put it on: the artists came, they performed—although not all of the vendors were able to show up because of the rain.”
Shane Ryan, director of orientation, transition and family engagement, who oversees GWOW, said that the rain was an unavoidable risk associated with events like Kickback.
“That’s just a risk you run when you have an outdoor concert — you’re at the mercy of things that are beyond your control,” Ryan said.
At present, it is not definitively clear whether or not Kickback will return next year. The groups that coordinated the event plan to deliberate the topic at an assessment meeting that will most likely take place after the conclusion of GWOW programming.
“[N]ew partnerships were struck between The Corp and university groups that will make the event both more financially viable and easier to plan in the future,” Smith wrote in an email to The Hoya.
According to GPB Concerts Co-Chair Samuel Drummond (MSB ’18), the planning committee has considered hosting Kickback at an indoor venue, such as the 4,000-seat McDonough Arena. However, as the university’s Office of Campus Activity Facilities designates the arena as “non-OCAF reservable,” Drummond said that booking the space would be difficult.
“It’s a very special case that the Spring Concert has, and getting that for Kickback wouldn’t be feasible,” Drummond said.
Louisa Wendorff, a pop singer of YouTube fame, and Skizzy Mars, a 23-year-old rapper from Manhattan best known for his song “The Red Balloon Project,” headlined Kickback. The event also featured nine student performances along with displays of student art submitted over the summer.
Food vendors, including Swizzler, Captain Cookie and Rito Loco were contracted for the event, serving hot dogs, cookies and tacos to students. The rain forced student groups such as WGTB Georgetown
Radio and The Hoya to cancel their planned stations, which would have offered flash tattoos, tie-dyed shirts and a photo booth to Kickback attendees.
Asha Thanki (SFS ’17), who attended Kickback, said that the weather was the primary reason that the event’s turnout was less than expected.
“I feel like it’s an event that a lot of people have a lot of reasons to get excited about,” Thanki said. “In no world would only 30 people be standing in front of a stage for a giant YouTube star and Skizzy Mars if the weather hadn’t been so terrible.”
Jared Lim (COL ’19), who attended Kickback primarily to see Skizzy Mars perform, said that he enjoyed the event.
“It was a little bit awkward to say the least when Skizzy Mars performed, because there were about 50 people maximum [in the audience]…” Lim said. “But it was a pretty intimate performance, I would say, and I enjoyed it — I actually got to talk to [Skizzy Mars], I got to shake his hand.”
Smith said that he thinks that the event could be a learning experience for future organizers.
“We took a big risk in putting on the event, and even though the result wasn’t exactly what we wanted, it is important for students to try to do something like this, and now the door is open to do it again and do it better,” Smith wrote.
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