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Rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie was a big hit at Brookfest

Musical artist A Boogie Wit da Hoodie headlining for Brookfest on April, 5. Along with the headlined artist, students were given the opportunity to open the show with a performance of their own. STANLEY ZHENG/THE STATESMAN

Crowds filled Stony Brook University’s Island Federal Credit Union Arena on Friday, April 5 to see Bronx, N.Y. rapper A Boogie Wit da Hoodie perform at Brookfest along with various other student acts. Students formed a line outside the venue that went approximately 200 feet down to the Stony Brook Union. 

“This is our second year going, we’re sophomores now,” Angella Flores, a sophomore majoring in communication, said while waiting in line for the show with her friend Frank Marin, who is a graduate student in the Masters of Public Policy program in the Political Science Department. “But this is the longest I’ve ever seen the line be, so I guess New York really loves [A Boogie Wit da Hoodie].”

Ticket prices for Brookfest varied depending on seating. Undergraduate students paid $20 for a seat in the stands on a first-come, first-serve basis or $30 for standing-room-only on the floor. As for alumni, graduate students and outside guests, a regular ticket was $40. Alumni had the option to purchase a VIP ticket for $75.

“We’re very excited to see [A Boogie Wit da Hoodie],” Marin said. “I used to listen to him all the time in high school. I hope he plays some of his old songs.”

As one of the University’s annual showcases, extensive preparation was put into organizing Brookfest by the school’s Student Life collective and the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). 

“There was a Brookfest committee that was responsible for the majority of planning for the event. They were responsible for running the show, setting up the barricades in the arena, preparing the locker room for the artist’s arrival, etc. They’ve been meeting since October,” Christian Jean-Pierre, a senator on the Brookfest committee and Student Activities Board (SAB), wrote in an email.

Elaborating on the artist selection, Jean-Pierre said, “For every Brookfest the artist booked is always based on students’ opinions and artist availability. This year, the students’ opinion really influenced the decision of finding a headliner. Due to our budget we set up two different polls for students to fill out, one filled with artists in our budget price range, and another poll with ‘reach’ artists that we could only afford if we had more money (which we did with the [Student Activity Fee](SAF increase passing). Swae Lee won the regular poll and A Boogie [Wit da Hoodie] won the reach poll.”

Unlike previous years with opening acts featuring other student-voted celebrity performers, this year’s performance included student performances from groups such as the Tigres, Brook Bhangra, Jubilé Latino, Collidescope, L’Afrique, Wolfie’s Big Band, Raaswalas and more.

“It’s pretty cool to see students performing as openers!” Moneca Tremans, a senior majoring in health science, said during the show. “The L’Afrique dance team has been my favorite so far, they were so good!”

When it came to the committee’s decision to book student acts, Jean-Pierre said they were “focused on going for more of a music festival vibe than just a concert. The plan was to celebrate all genres of music instead of focusing mainly on rap/hip-hop. Allowing our student groups to display their talents was an important aspect to the show this year especially since most of our funding comes from the student body who pay the SAF.”

Following the student performances, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie took the stage to perform a set of both classic and recent hit songs. He also brought out surprise guest and rapper Lola Brooke to perform their collaborative song, “Bend It Ova.”

During the show, Student Life, USG and security were responsible for ensuring everything ran as smoothly as possible. 

“For the most part Brookfest went really well for the USG staff,” Jean-Pierre said. “There were some issues coordinating with security that [weren’t] our fault. We were ecstatic with the turnout considering this was the first year we changed the layout of the show to allow more people to attend. In total I think we had around 3,000-4,000 people in the stadium (this is a conservative estimate).”

After A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s performance, a backstage meet and greet was held with the rapper and his team for select students who either bought passes, won passes from a giveaway on USG’s Instagram or were chosen by the Brookfest committee and SAB and were invited to attend.

“Of course certain aspects of running the show need to be improved and worked on, but overall I think it was the best Brookfest we have had,” Jean-Pierre said.

Lorraine Hallett is a reporter with The Stony Brook Media Group and a part of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism’s Working Newsroom program for students and local media.

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