Good fest, rad city

#Fest in Athens won’t kill your vibe

 By Tim Anderl
Photo: Scene at the 10th #Fest in Athens, Ohio from 2012; the 11th #Fest takes place April 13; photo credit: Mara Gruber/Prime Social Group

Established in 2004 in the city of residence for Ohio’s most notorious party school – Ohio University – the annual #Fest (or Number Fest) has grown to become the biggest and best collegiate music festivals in the United States. It has also helped to launch some of today’s brightest music stars to new heights. With this year’s lineup featuring co-headliners whose popularity is nearly unrivaled in their respective genres and a BYOB format, 15,000-20,000 music fans are anticipating an experience that offers big returns on fun and talent for a modest investment.

Dayton City Paper discussed the forthcoming event with organizer Dominic Petrozzi, who had this to say about it …

Scoring Kendrick Lamar, who is having a huge year, and Steve Aoki, who is world renowned for electronic music, is huge. Are you expecting that the response this year in terms of attendance will respond in kind?

Kendrick Lamar has obviously had a mind-numbing year in regards to notoriety and success. We are beyond excited to have the opportunity to bring him on as #Fest – 11th Edition’s co-headliner alongside Steve Aoki. With Steve’s world renowned style behind the CDJ’s and Kendrick’s recent explosion onto the popular culture scene, we expect the attendance numbers for this year’s festival to increase more so than in years past. With the way online ticket sales have been going – already over 3,000 – and hard ticket sales topping 2,700 this week, we are seeing a trend of early and often buying patterns. All signs are pointing to record breaking attendance numbers. –Dominic Petrozzi

What is it about their approach to music that made Lamar and Aoki a natural fit for this event?

#Fest has a reputation for being a crazy good time. We are now pushing for it to be considered one of the best-billed festivals out there, on top of one of the craziest experiences around. Lamar and Aoki have helped provide us with that credibility. Their presence in and around the college music scene is very strong. Their particular approach to music wasn’t necessarily the driving force behind booking them, rather, their connection with the students and attendees that we focus our event towards. Kendrick is on top of the hip-hop world. Steve Aoki is a veteran of the electronic dance music scene. What makes them a natural fit is the demand of the attendees. We want to provide something for everyone. -DP

While Lamar has garnered major commercial success as of late, including an appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” his flow and approach doesn’t sound particularly mainstream to me. Is not sounding too commercial part of his appeal?

Kendrick Lamar has resonated with the masses as well as the true underground heads because it’s natural. Nothing about his music is fabricated. He came from LA. He’s seen the trials and tribulations of the ‘80s and ‘90s on the West Coast. Sometimes, an artist’s success is predicated on luck … and luck is when opportunity meets preparation. Kendrick Lamar’s music sounds good and the results are in line with his talent and his luck. When it all shakes out, I see Lamar being a mainstay in the hip-hop game for a long time. To many, he’s changed the game, bringing hip-hop back to life. Every other major rap artist realized they better step up or they are going to get lapped by the likes of Lamar. The ringtone, corny rap won’t cut it anymore. Consumers are over the not-so-decent music that has been presented in recent years. Hopefully, we see a resurgence of originality and mindful, heartfelt hip-hop music. -DP

Who else is performing at the event and what do they bring to the table?

The #Fest – 11th Edition lineup is far and away the biggest and most recognizable to date. Watch the Duck (Atlanta) and Bad Rabbits (Boston). Both acts have made major headway in the mainstream music scene. We also have some local talent that has made the jump into the big leagues as of recent with Fly Union out of Columbus. Huey Mack is also on the bill this year. He has a solid following in the region and hundreds of thousands of video views via Youtube. Philadelphia-based EDM DJ 5 & A Dime is also on board this year. His tracks have regularly topped the charts on Hype Machine and Next Big Sound. 

Rounding out this year’s lineup is international touring DJ from Ohio and Warner Brothers Artist, Brooklyn Earick. Outside of his Vegas residencies, Brooklyn also performed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Forest and The Evergreens is providing our lineup with an indie twist. Cincinnati-based hip-hop mainstay Santino Corleon will also be performing. Lastly, Ohio University student and local DJ, DJ Loco will be rounding out the bill. -DP

What do you hope those who attend the event take away from it at the end of the day?

Our goal this year – as it is every year – is to provide the attendees with the most well-valued music festival in the industry. -DP

The 11th annual #Fest takes place Saturday, April 13 on West Union Street in Athens, Ohio. Tickets are $30 for general admission, $50 for VIP.  For more information, visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Tim Anderl at


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