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#Halftime Fest / The Venue / Athens, Ohio / October 5, 2013

By Kyle Rutherford , Staff Writer

A legendary event full of festivities, the fall #Fest turned out to be exactly what it is known for: a music festival in the middle of a field full of drunken college students listening to hip-hop and dance music. Though labeled as #Halftime Fest and lasting four hours shorter than the full #Fests, it was still a fairly memorable day.

This time around, Columbus concert promotion company Prime Social Group was helped by the I’m Shmacked crew to take this semester’s festival one step further. I’m Shmacked is a controversial website that goes around to various colleges and records their partying and posts the videos on YouTube. Their current college tour brought New York house producer Fareoh to perform as well as New York DJ George Garcia to open and emcee parts of the festival.

Gates opened at 4 p.m. while Garcia’s generic pop and hip-hop beats blasted over the stage’s speakers. The trickle of festival goers was definitely smaller than in recent years, but that still didn’t stop the slew of underage alcohol arrests early on.

The first real performance of the day came from Athens rap groupYizzo. This collective of sorts played some weighty hip-hop, very different from what you hear on the radio. Combining the fun-loving nature of Childish Gambino with the sometimes meaningful sound of Kendrick Lamar, the group was able to give the small crowd a great show, even amidst the annoying voices of freshmen girls yelling to “Turn Up!”

With hyping and DJing from DJ Etrayn, West Virigina artist D-WHYcame on after to perform a fairly bland set. A noticeable pretty boy with average rapping and singing ability, D-WHY’s hip-hop performance was only saved by his music’s bouncy beats.

Mike Stud, a former varsity baseball player at Duke, started to turn up the festival’s energy with his performance. His music style was perfect for the festival’s atmosphere: college based lyrics with fun productions that he calls “hip-pop.” Stud’s remixes of popular songs, such as Miley Cyrus’s “We Can’t Stop” and Drake’s “Versace,” which he titled “Amanda Bynes,” went over great with the tipsy crowd. Though he told everyone at least 15 times that it was his first Athens performance and had an onstage posse bigger than anyone else’s, he still made a solid mark on the day’s music.

The first EDM act came from Fareoh, with onstage hype from the I’m Shmacked crew. Though his lack of headphones gave off the feeling of a preplanned set, his performance still went over great with a crowd not as knowledgeable of EDM. Much of the music he played was popular progressive house tracks with the festival feel that is circling its way through the dance music realms. Much of the other music he played was remixed Top 40 songs that gave the excited crowd something to sing along to. The disappointing part of his set came from his severe lack of original tunes, which all have the same big room festival vibe as much of the music he played.

What came next will go down in #Fest history.

Known for being a controversial figure, Riff Raff is both abnormal and comical. His music style is known to not be the greatest, but rather hysterically comical. While jumping on stage with a can of Four Loko, Jody Highroller himself bounced around on stage and delivered the shortest set in #Fest history: about four songs. Though beer cans had been flying around the crowd and on stage since early on, Riff Raff’s performance brought even more, with one hitting him in the chest. Stopping the music, Highroller delivered a fairly insightful speech.

"If you see someone throwing a can, I'll give you $50 because I'll beat his ass.” He then threatened to leave if another one came close to him.

After about two more minutes, cans were still flying and another hit him in the chest. With that, he dropped the mic, yelled “I’m out!” and ran off stage. The rest of his set was filled by music from his personal DJ. Though he stuck around and came on stage during other performances, his set showed that too many take his act seriously. Backstage, his actions and tone were a lot more laid back and humble, something he typically doesn’t show to the public.

Headlining the day’s festival was New York pop/hip-hop artist Hoodie Allen. His music is fairly popular with college women, and for good reason: his music is catchy and fun and of pretty good quality. While his live DJ helped out by adding percussion and guitars, Allen was a great overall performer. He even had a dance off where four crowd members danced to win a free T-shirt.

His popular songs like “James Franco” and “No Faith in Brooklyn” went over well for those who were familiar with his work, and those who were new to his music were happily surprised with his talent and performance ability.

Closing out the day’s festivities was New York house duo The Chainsmokers. With original music that stayed in the realm of progressive and Dutch house, the two closed the night with a perfect festival EDM set. Remixed Empire of the Sun tunes complemented by remixed Trinidad James songs were able to reach a large audience.

What went over well with the EDM crowd were the duo's popular bootlegs. Laying different vocals over popular dance tracks, one could hear NERO songs mixed with stuff by Sebastian Ingrosso & Tommy Trash, or quick samples of Martin Garrix’s hit “Animals” and Borgeous’s “Tsunami.” Overall, The Chainsmokers' high energy closing set was an accurate representation of what is currently popular in EDM.

As low key as it was, #Halftime Fest was still a success in the eyes of fans. With some big shoes to fill, one can only guess the insanity that will be #12 Fest.

#kylerutherford #livereview

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