BY HALEY DICK and DREW LACOUTURE
Gull Life Editor and Editorial Editor
For this year’s annual Gullfest event, SU’s Student Organization for Activity Planning (SOAP) aimed more for a festival style show and, based on student reactions, it was a success. The show was hosted by the lively crew from MTV’s Wild N’ Out and kicked off by funk-pop group Ripe, followed by pop singer Niykee Heaton, with Hip-Hop artist and headliner D.R.A.M. to close.
Admission encompassed a t-shirt as well as access to outside games like cornhole and ladderball with a creative addition—free body painting. Food and clothing vendors were also set up at the festival and available to students for purchasing.
Students gradually trickled in after the doors opened, and Wild N’ Out got the crowd hyped up before the performances, as well in between the first and second acts, with crowd participation and friendly competition. Similar to their show, there was a lot of roasting to be had.
Despite technical difficulties regarding the microphone and the amplifiers, as well as three power outages, Ripe used their stage presence and creative improvisation to keep the show alive. The band acknowledged their power problems, and thanked the audience for being awesome and bearing with them.
After the first performance, freshman computer science and business double major Ralph Mehitang shared his thoughts on what he saw; he thought Ripe was really good, and Wild N’ Out were hilarious.
“So far, I’m really enjoying [Gullfest.] Of course, more students should make the decision to come, but from what I’m seeing, I am really enjoying it.”
Niykee Heaton, more commonly known for her modeling, played a few new tracks not yet released, and the crowd garnered a positive reaction. Her biggest verbal message for the audience was, “If you have a team, you have everything,” after sharing her story of how her best friend helped her achieve her dreams of becoming an artist.
D.R.A.M. took the stage as the closing act of the event, with Salisbury marking the conclusion of his college campus tour, as well as his stay on the East Coast. The majority of the crowd kept a continual high level of energy throughout the entire lineup, but D.R.A.M.’s performance and motto to “spread love” gained the most reaction.
“D.R.A.M. was great,” freshman physics major Elliot Hirtle said. “He really knew how to hype up the crowd, and he is a great performer.”
Madison Baber, sophomore elementary education major, thought last year’s artists were better, but this year’s event definitely ran smoother and was more enjoyable.
“The artists [last year,] Breakfast and Jason Derulo, were better to me just because they were people that I knew and actually listened to their music,” Baber said. “That being said, I really enjoyed the atmosphere of Gullfest this year, with it being outside and the fun new experience of body art. This year was also better because the artists were there on time, and did not show up hours late.”
SOAP had a set limit of 3,000 tickets, yet only around 550 were sold. The cause of this is undetermined, though last year’s complications may have played a factor.
Despite the lesser turnout, the students who attended seemed to have a genuinely good time with constant high energy and art-covered bodies, and remain optimistic for what SOAP will provide in Gullfests to come.