MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University students were more than ready to celebrate FallFest to kick off the 2022-23 school year.
After a two year pause due to COVID concerns, WVU hosted the annual live music event on the Evansdale Rec Center athletic fields with thousands of Mountaineer students in attendance. Lines formed an hour before gates were opened, and excitement was especially high for students who did not experience the Welcome Week tradition for two consecutive years due to the pandemic.
“It’s definitely exciting, we’ve been waiting for this for a few years now, and it’s finally back,” said Senior and Elkview native Harley Kautz about his last FallFest. “I’m glad to be here, it’s a beautiful evening, ready to enjoy some concert,” he said.
Hip-hop star Tay Money opened the live musical acts followed by reggae rock band Dirty Heads, country singer Dustin Lynch and headliner platinum recording artist Polo G. Each artists had thousands of Mountaineers in attendance as they performed hits from three different musical genres. The variety of musical acts, which has been a tradition for FallFest since it’s inception, was well received by the students.
“I know for the out of state freshmen they were really excited for FallFest and Welcome Week,” said Freshman Abby Feifco, who is enrolled from Texas. “I know for sure for me this is something that I’ve never experienced and it’s been so fun,” she said.
Local food vendors such as Pepperbroni’s, Mario’s Fish Bowl and the famous Downtown street vendor T&L Hot Dogs, also accompanied live music. Activities were also hosted around the Evansdale Rec Center including a Onewheel GT course hosted by Adventure WV and games inside the facility.
“We have the midway, the roller rink inside, that’s a lot more to do than if you don’t feel like just standing in the field listening to some artists,” said Junior transfer student Josh Brown. “But you can go inside and just do other things, hang out with your friends and have a good time,” he said.
For most students, the ability to be able to even have FallFest was considered something to celebrate, with the COVID pandemic causing discussions of canceling live events altogether. For Mountaineers in attendance, they were treated to four plus hours of live music in just under seventy degree weather with no mask or COVID restrictions, which was more than enough to celebrate.
“You know it’s been two years,” said Junior Mae Lynn Sadler. “Two years ago we would’ve never thought of anything like this happening right now, so that’s the plus,” she said.