WVU hosts FallFest. Chayce Beckham, The Driver Era, Flo Rida performs

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia University has officially wrapped up Welcome Week as world-renowned musical acts performed at the annual FallFest.

Over 10,000 students gathered at the Evansdale Recreation Fields Tuesday night, where they saw country music star Chayce Beckham, rock/pop group The Driver Era, and international pop star Flo Rida play their hits. The performers sang for over four hours in front of the WVU student body, which was ready to enjoy a clear, warm summer night before the start of the 2023 fall semester.

“I’m really enjoying it; I love FallFest, and I really love just spending time with my friends and enjoying all of the activities,” said Sophomore Ana Jimenez from Charleston, WV.

Gates opened at 5:30 Tuesday night, and several thousand of the 4,375 members of the WVU freshman class sprinted to get early spots in front of the FallFest soundstage. Beckham kicked off the live music when he hit the stage at 6:00, and he was followed by The Driver Era, who went on at 7:30. Flo Rida took the stage at 9:00 as the headlining act and received a positive reception from students despite being a last-minute replacement.

“This year’s FallFest is pretty good; the original artist, Coi Leray, that they had lined up, I do not think is anywhere as good as Flo Rida. I’m a lot happier that Flo Rida is here,” said Sophomore Gavin Tharpe from Fort Ashby, WV.

Hip-Hop artist Coi Leray was originally scheduled to headline FallFest but had to cancel over the weekend due to an injury.

FoodFest was also brought back as part of the FallFest, where over a half dozen local eateries offered food throughout the event. Popular restaurants such as Mario’s Fishbowl and Fox’s Pizza set up tents with local food trucks, including the Rollie Egg Roll Factory, and Dave’s Famous T&L Hotdogs (owner of the popular downtown hot dog cart). For Mountaineers who attended last year’s FallFest, it added to the community vibe that they’ve felt as a part of WVU.

“Last year, like as a freshman, obviously there were more things to do, but this year has definitely been more chill and more quality time with friends,” said Jimenez.

For the WVU student body, the 2023 version of FallFest was considered a more relaxed atmosphere than in years past with COVID-19 policies in the rearview mirror. For freshman, enjoying live music and food with new friends on a warm, mostly clear night, was a perfect way to make up for the cancellation of the traditional Monday Night Lights due to the weather. With Welcome Week officially in the books, students are ready to start classes, make new friends, and make Mountaineer memories.

“I was really sad that the Monday Night Lights got cancelled, but this has been really fun so far,” said Freshman Anastian Thornsby from Summersvile, WV. “It’s been really nice to meet people and know that other people are just as nervous as I am,” she said.