JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville University’s Porter Fest is going to be a bit more blue than usual this year.
On April 12, hip-hop rapper Shwayze and British DJ Jonas Blue will be taking the stage at Porter Fest. This event has been under wraps for almost a year.
Meaghan Lohwater and Bridget Andrews, head and assistant coordinators for this year’s Porter Fest, respectively, are excited to have such artists performing for the JU community.
“This year, our artists are more well-known, these people are on their way up,” said Lohwater. “As opposed to past performers like B.O.B. and 3OH3! who are considered more as throwback artists. Also, this year we have a zip line and a photo booth, so we are really trying to make it a festival.”
Lohwater and Andrews explained that to select an artist, the Dolphin Productions staff has to consider their budget and the artists’ availability.
“Unfortunately, it is difficult to preview the artist selection because we are not allowed to talk about who the potential artists are until we know for sure,” said Lohwater. “We do our best and select the artists based on what we have seen around and what we have heard playing at various places where students gather.”
Planning, structuring, and organizing an event like Porter Fest can be rewarding but at times also difficult.
“There is a long process, back and forth with contracts, and there’s a lot of mediation that is involved,” said Lohwater. “Making sure that those contracts, even though the artist has accepted the offer, are signed, and also making sure that all of the advertisements we do are approved by the artist and agents it’s something that can be difficult at times, especially when the timing is an issue. Thankfully it worked out this year.”
Jonas Blue, born Guy James Robin in Essex, England, has worked his way to the top, playing at notable music festivals such as Lollapalooza Berlin, Tomorrowland, and V festival. Shwayze, on the other hand, is an American rapper whose single “Corona and Lime” reached the 23 position in the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.
With the artist selection, the Dolphin Productions tried to accommodate the different musical tastes of the student body.
There has been controversy around the artist selection for this year’s celebration. Students’ opinions on the artist selected certainly vary.
Some students are fans of the DJ. Within the four years he’s been making music, Blue has left a mark on some people in the JU community.
“I’ve been listening to him for almost four years now,” said Jana Al Ghoul, a freshman student from Lebanon, who cited Blue’s single “Perfect Strangers” as her favorite in his library. “I’m so excited to see him live.”
While some students are pumped to see Jonas Blue perform on campus, others have no clue of who the artist is or the type of music he plays.
Students like Richard Tyler, senior communications major, are not too thrilled about the artist’s performance.
“We definitely could have got a more relevant artist or someone who’s a little visible more in the public eye,” said Tyler. “Maybe it’s just me, I don’t listen to that type of music, but I have no idea who Jonas Blue is.”
Not knowing who the artist is won’t dissuade students like Giselle Moreno, sophomore biochemistry major, from attending Porter Fest.
“I do not know who Jonas Blue is, but I still look forward to this event every year,” said Moreno. “I expect to have a good time and see friends and relax before finals get here.”
The Porter Fest coordinators are excited to put forward a festival that will culminate the Charter Day of service celebration and hopefully bring the JU student body together.
“As a community, this is something that is given as a celebration of the student body,” said Lohwater. “We would just love to see as many people there as possible, whether you know the music or not. It’s going to be an awesome experience.”