This past weekend at Rowan University, the genre-blending Twenty One Pilots rocked the stage in the Student Center Pit at Rowan After Hours. MTV voted the band as “Artists To Watch” in 2013 but what did the average students and staff members watch for during the RAH performance? Many diverse groups of people were in attendance at the event. Whether they were a simple audience member, a student journalist or a RAH employee, each of these people had different pieces of insight into the event.
Student, Phillip Thompson
About 400 students were in attendance at Twenty One Pilots’ performance. Junior mechanical engineering major Phillip Thompson was familiar with the band’s material from listening to Radio 104.5 but almost did not attend the show. Thompson was eventually persuaded by a friend.
“As a result, I attended the show and I do not regret that decision at all,” Thompson said.
Thompson believes events like this enforce the idea that Rowan University has multiple opportunities for students to get involved and have fun.
“I really do believe that Rowan does it’s population a great justice through these events,” Thompson said. “Unlike other institutes of education, there’s a really big focus on student life here and [Rowan is] maintaining that tradition. So, I implore other students to take advantage of the opportunities provided by Rowan After Hours and Student University Programmers.”
Student journalist, Ashley Cline
Senior journalism major Ashley Cline, who serves as a staff writer for The Whit, was in attendance to write an article about the event. Cline was familiar with the band’s material as she attended Radio 104.5’s Winter Jam where she also wrote an award-winning review in The Whit. Cline would like to pursue a career as an entertainment journalist and conducting an interview with drummer Josh Dun was her first step.
“Considering that this is what I would like to pursue, [this opportunity] was huge,” Cline said. “You don’t expect to talk to [famous people], yet alone on your campus. It was really cool to have that intimate moment with them.”
Cline will be traveling to Virginia over the summer to see the band perform for her third time.
“They never disappoint,” Cline said. “It’s always phenomenal. They’re always on point. They’re energetic and they get involved with the crowd.”
RAH student worker, Megan Richards
Junior art education major Megan Richards is a student worker at RAH as you may remember from my audio interview with her. Twenty One Pilots was not originally on the Office of Student Activities’ event calendar but during RAH’s first all-staff meeting of the semester, Richards found out about the upcoming performance.
“I just started listening to their music a week or two before that [staff meeting],” Richards said. “I was pretty ecstatic.”
As a fan, Richards said she found it difficult to keep calm and work during the event since she wanted to simply watch the performance. However, she still enjoyed all of the extra perks of working during the event.
“It was really cool because I got to actually meet them,” Richards said “I got to interact with them a little bit. I got to help them set up and kind of be a part of their performance. I got extra-nice seating because I got to sit on the stairs next to the stage.”
RAH coordinator, Rio Napoli
Assistant Director for Programming and Special Events Rio Napoli has coordinated many large-scaled events for RAH. When RAH first booked Twenty One Pilots, the band was not a big name.
“When I saw that Philly station 104.5 picked them up for their free Winter Jam show in February, I knew that they were starting to gain a following and would be really starting to gain popularity around this time of the year,” Napoli said.
Napoli was correct in the assumption that the band would start to gain popularity. She noticed how students were starting to respond to the band’s upcoming performance prior to the event.
“It wasn’t until the last two weeks that we really saw a log of interest,” Napoli said. “So at the last minute, we had to get extra staff, security and a stage barricade. It was definitely worth the extra effort though.”
One of Napoli’s favorite parts of the night was when the band brought the drum kit out into the middle of the crowd to finish their set. She enjoyed how they trusted the Rowan audience enough to do so. When events get a response like this, it inspires Napoli to coordinate more large-scale events.
“We work hard to bring great events to campus and hope that students appreciate that and continue to enjoy the events in a way that allows us to continue to bring bigger and better programs next time,” Napoli said. “The student reaction makes me want to do these types of events more often.”