The 700 available tickets for the University of New Brunswick Student Union’s Welcome Back: Music Fest sold out two hours before the show began Saturday night.
Kristian D’Amore, who organized the event, is the first-ever UNBSU events coordinator.
“When the new executive got elected in April, [their] objective was to put new life into the union and life on campus,” D’Amore said.
“They expanded the entertainment budget and created a new job, director of campus events.”
D’Amore said the Saturday night concert was always advertised as an orientation week event meant for first-year UNB students, although tickets were available to all UNB students.
However, this is the first year the event was open to St. Thomas University students too.
The fourth-year student, who is studying sports management and business, opened the event to UNB and STU students because he wanted to make the most of a large event.
“If we’re going to spend all of this money for only a small amount of our population, our first-years, then it doesn’t make much sense,” he said.
Although the concert was sold out, the event was well-organized in the cafeteria of UNB’s Student Union Building. The music fest has previously been held in the Currie Center, however, D’Amore wanted to spend less on the venue and more on talent.
Canadian singer-songwriter Alx Veliz opened the show. He performed his hit song “Dancing Kizomba” to round out his performance and then introduced the headliner of the show, Canadian rapper Kardinal Offishall.
Nina Nicholson, a marketing student and a member of the student experience team of UNBSU, understands the value of inviting students from up the hill.
“We’re on the same campus, [it] should be more inclusive. It’s not like we’re rivals. Well, we shouldn’t be rivals and maybe this event will help us get together,” she said.
D’Amore acknowledges there is a divide in the universities, but he said he wanted to challenge that with the joint concert.
“Obviously there’s the Battle of the Hill … I think it’s healthy to have some school pride, but I think campus-wise … if we work together and create these super, awesome events, we start to get noticed.”
Emily Montgomery is a UNB transfer student who is majoring in anthropology at STU. This is the second time she’s attended the event, but her first time attending as a STU student.
“It’s just nice for the UNB students and STU students to get together … maybe there will be more [events] in the future. We’re so close we should make friends,” she said.
Working together is exactly what D’Amore wants to accomplish this year.
“In terms of why STU is involved, I think this year, especially with the provincial election, this is an awesome start to a fantastic year collaboratively. This year could be off the charts.”
With files from Jerry-Faye Flatt