Dominic Fike dominates at UCONNIC 2022

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4/7/2022 UCONNIC by Erin Knapp. Rapper Young M.A opens for headline act Dominic Fike at UCONNIC 2022 at Gampel Pavilion on Friday, April 11. UCONNIC, a spring concert for UConn students hosted by SUBOG, was able to happen this year for the first time since 2018. The event featured musical performances, food trucks, vendors, and a mechanical bull.

After a long three years, the UCONNIC music festival returned to Gampel Pavilion at the University of Connecticut on April 8 with alternative indie-pop artist Dominic Fike as its headliner. Run by the Student Union Board of Governors’ concert committee and originally known as UConn’s spring concert, UCONNIC featured a number of student and professional openers, attractions and food trucks for students to enjoy for tickets ranging from $10 to $40. Despite a few hiccups reminiscent of its messy history —  albeit certainly not to the extent of previous years — UCONNIC 2022 offered a fun night of entertainment, with a record-breaking 4,287 tickets sold. 

“As a transfer student and after experiencing COVID lockdowns, this was my first ever UCONNIC experience, and I’m so glad I did it before graduating,” Sofía Rodriguez, an eighth-semester psychology major, said. 

Dominic Fike was a popular headliner choice among students, evidenced by the packed stands at Gampel. He took the stage at 10 p.m. for an hour-long set, singing fan favorites like “Chicken Tenders” and “Vampire” and ending with the familiar anthem “3 Nights.” Wearing a UConn hat and hoodie, Fike fit right in with the college crowd, starting off a UConn Huskies chant multiple times throughout the night. In fact, he was spotted at a UConn classic, Ted’s Bar, only a few hours before his performance. 

“Connecticut, I haven’t really been here before,” Fike announced when he bounded on stage, after which he threw his UConn merch into the crowd for lucky fans to catch. Later during his set, Emilia Herasimowicz, an eighth-semester marketing major, threw her UConn hoodie on stage, which Fike wore for the rest of the night. 

“I have loved and listened to Dominic Fike for a few years now, and actually voted for him in the SUBOG Survey, so seeing him live on the floor was something I will never forget,” Rodriguez said. 

Fike’s voice was naturally melodic during his live performance, and his guitar skills were more than impressive, playing multiple masterful instrumental solos. Although some feedback produced when his microphone got too close to the speakers, Fike took it all in stride, even turning it into a joke. 

“UCONNIC was a euphoric experience. I loved Dominic Fike’s set especially since he performed two of my favorite songs of his, ‘Acai Bowl’ and ‘Falling Asleep,’” Karen Lau, a second-semester political science and economics major, said in an email. “The attractions, including the food trucks and the silent disco, were also great.” 

As Rodriguez alluded to, SUBOG actually pulled Fike from its artist interest survey, who was their second most popular artist on the survey. Student performers were chosen based on auditions and with the help of the general concert committee, according to Community Development Chair Tatyanna Molina, an eighth-semester women’s, gender and sexuality studies major. 

“[W]e picked who we thought would best fit the vibe we were going for,” Molina said about the selection of student performers Kaprisan, Montez and ONNAME. “For our openers and headliner, we reference our student survey and input from our agent. We look at genre preferences, popular songs, up-and-coming artist, etc. that fit within our budget.” 

The show started at 8 p.m. with the student performers. Musical duo Social House of “Magic in the Hamptons” was supposed to open as well, but canceled due to inclement weather where they were located. American rapper Young M.A. was the sole opener, but did not actually perform much of her music, with a chaotic group of people accompanying her on stage and stopping every few seconds to attempt to hype the crowd up. The blip around these two openers were the most reminiscent of previous years, but did not necessarily mar the rest of the experience. 

“The most challenging part of planning UCONNIC is finding ways to incorporate the wide variety of different music tastes and interests on campus,” Nina Gilani, a sixth-semester allied health sciences major and hospitality chair, said. 

Doors opened at 6 p.m. for concertgoers to peruse the available food trucks — Los Mariachis on Wheels, Whey Station, Daren’s Ice Cream and UConn favorite, Lizzie’s — or peruse any of the outdoor activities — a silent disco provided by Silent Events, a mechanical bull, a 360 photo both and clothes and accessories for purchase by Flightvintage. 

“For me, the most challenging part of planning UCONNIC was dealing with food trucks that had very unique schedules and also dropped out of the event multiple times throughout the process,” Colin Mulhern, a sixth-semester marketing major and event management chair, said. “This caused me to have to scramble to find replacements with limited time before the show.” 

As Lau alluded to, a student favorite attraction was the silent disco hosted by UConn Club Swift outside of Gampel. Concertgoers donned headphones and enjoyed three set lists curated by club members: hip hop, pop and “Taylor and Friends.” In their enigmatic fashion, the club announced the attraction a day before the event. 

“My favorite attraction provided was definitely the silent disco,” Rodriguez said. “Something about blasting music in those headphones and letting loose with my friends along Jim Calhoun Way was unforgettable.” 

The SUBOG concert committee, chaired by Saiyoen Pathman, a sixth-semester marketing major, has been planning the event since last summer. Since the musical festival was recently founded in 2018, the committee is continuing to find ways to improve the event for the future. 

“Something that I am looking to improve upon with the outdoor portion is having more fun activities to keep people occupied outside and also to add more sponsorships with free giveaways to increase student engagement,” Mulhern said. “I would also like to have the outdoor portion start earlier in the evening so that people have ample time to eat, play, and hang out before the music starts.” 

Molina describes the most rewarding part of the actual event was walking around and seeing students’ happy faces. 

“I thought UCONNIC was a really great experience, it was so cool to see Gampel being used for something other than basketball!” Allison Villano, a second-semester nursing major, said. “Definite props to SUBOG for putting it on, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!” 

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