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Folk and Blues Celebrates Its 50th Anniversary

Beloit College kicked off its lineup of annual campus-wide events with none other than the Folk and Blues festival on Sat., Sep. 11. The event marked not only the first of many in-person events to come this school year, but the 50th anniversary of Folk and Blues on campus. Organized by the Programming Board, Folk and Blues featured four musical acts, including: Emily, Alayne, Honey Cellar, and Chris Pierce. 

Students gathered under the moon in Pearsons Quad at 7PM for the event, and were welcomed by a generous selection of snacks. Halfway through the event, the audience was delightfully surprised by the arrival of Domino’s pizzas. T-shirts were distributed in three rounds, with the first round being at 7:05pm. This year’s t-shirt design was crafted by Hardika Kashyap ‘22 of the Programming Board. The black t-shirt features the silhouette of a head donning a pair of sunny yellow over-the-ear headphones. The silhouette is further stylized by a psychedelic design filling the otherwise open space. As is customary, the names of the performers and the date of the event are printed across the back of the shirt. 

This year, Folk and Blues was highly publicized, especially by Isabel Chavez ‘22, the president of the Programming Board. Turnout was excellent, though, whether this was because of Chavez’s advertisements or because students were eager to revive the tradition of an in-person Folk and Blues, is unknown. Last year, the event was held virtually, with links to virtual sets submitted by the performers. It was such a blessing to be able to celebrate half-a-century of Folk and Blues in person! This was my first Folk and Blues, since I did not attend any of the virtual performances last year, and I was amazed by the talent that the Programming Board brought to campus.

My favorite of the four acts was Honey Cellar, a four-piece band in which half of the members are Beloit College alumni. Honey Cellar definitely brought the most energy through their setlist; their closing number was a cover of The Killers’ ‘All These Things That I’ve Done.’ The quartet had people on their feet and crowding the stage; for a moment, I was anticipating the formation of a mosh pit! Chris Pierce and his band really flipped the vibe around, winding the crowd down for the night with their soothing and politically-driven blues tunes. Pierce, a Californian songwriter, has had songs featured on the television series’ A Million Little Things and This Is Us. Emily and Alayne’s enchanting vocals were truly the epitome of folk music. Even as soloists, these two managed to capture the crowd’s undivided attention as well as their hearts in the sentimentality of their lyrics. 

Folk and Blues was a blast! For freshmen, the event served as a peek into what campus-wide music events are like at Beloit. For upperclassmen, though, Folk and Blues signified the return of annual campus events that have made Beloit College such an exciting place to be! I hope to cover Folk and Blues again next year, and I am eager to see if next year’s musical lineup will feature any more Beloit alumni. Who knows? Perhaps next year, Folk and Blues will be headlined by Saturn Hat!

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